‘The big education for me is that civilisation is fragile and can be destroyed in a heartbeat' - Jeremy Brade, former peacekeeper in Sarajevo.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Negative leader

(pic source)

Leaders are not necessarily good for the group, or even clever.

I once taught a class where I felt a boy had followers, but his negative attitude to learning was dragging them down with him. A colleague told me about sociograms:

"Hand out a slip of paper to each child, marked so that you can identify them. They have to write the answer to two questions: if you could sit next to anyone in the class you wanted to, who would it be? And if you could vote for a form captain (boys for a boy, girls for a girl) who would it be? Then draw the diagram."

Sure enough, there was a cluster of boys who had given both their votes to the same lad.

I then wrote in the academic grades for each child. The ones closest to this individual had the lowest grades.

On this basis, we moved the negative leader, not down to a lower set, where he could have the same effect or worse, but up to a higher set, where the other children were success-oriented and he had the choice of shaping up or curdling in unsplendid isolation.

Somehow this experience resonates.


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A K Haart said...

"Somehow this experience resonates."

It does, but could it work in the House of Commons?

Sackerson said...

Perhaps if sent into business, or a rock band - where success and failure are down to performance.

Paddington said...

Read the National Geographic piece on rogue males elephants.

James Higham said...

The danger with sociograms is that they are social engineering, usually in amateur young hands. What is made of them is critical.

Sackerson said...

There's danger in everything. But this is a very revealing tool - I was just wondering now about the social nexus that has determined who gets to write for the Spectator, for example. And what would have become of Miss Priscilla White had she not worked as a hat-check girl at the Cavern when the Beatles were there?