Medium: Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away

Groups also have a rider (intellect)-and-elephant (emotion) problem, best described by Wilfred Bion in an oddly written but influential book, Experiences in Groups. In it, Bion, who practiced group therapy, observed how his patients would unconsciously coordinate their actions to defeat the purpose of therapy. In discussing the ramifications of this, Bion observed that effective groups often develop elaborate structures, designed to keep their sophisticated goals from being derailed by more primal group activities like gossiping about members and vilifying non-members. The structure of a classroom, and especially a seminar room, exhibits the same tension.

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