group construing

W Ramsay (
Wed, 15 May 1996 14:23:56 +0100

Dear Devi, Brian and Wendy,

Your recent postings on (inter alia) groups and construing remind me of an
episode some years ago with a group of Technical Education students.

I was at that time using 'construing teachers' as an exercise in PCP that
students could carry out as an assignment for the course. (Interestingly,
over a period of several years, a construct called something like 'tries to
teach you - doesn't try to teach you' emerged repeatedly as important from
pupils' points of view. Note the 'tries' - you don't have to be good at
it!.) During a meeting of the class in which I was introducing the 'grid
method a group of 6 or 7 of the students (mature students, by the way) quite
spontaneously adapted the exercise to produce, first of all, a set of agreed
constructs. So far, not so much different from some grid elicitation
procedures. However, they then went on to produce _agreed_ ratings for
members of the Technical Education Department as teachers and recorded these
on a single group 'grid.

I was too busy coping with the less-organised to be party to the decision or
the discussion that followed, which I much regret now. The interesting part
is that my own reading of their grid was such that I would have filled in an
exchange grid very similarly (Ethics forbade, of course). We both - the
group and myself - had considerable knowledge of the elements, theirs
intensive, mine extensive over a period of years.

I don't think this is an example of group construing in the sense that it's
been discussed, but I'd be interested in your views on the validity of the
process or even just on what's going on here. I've never followed it up,
I'm afraid.



Bill Ramsay,
Dept. of Educational Studies,
University of Strathclyde,
Jordanhill Campus,
G13 1PP,

'phone: +44 (0)141 950 3364
'fax: +44 (0)141 950 3367