Benefits of a Study Group A study group can be beneficial in many ways.
Here are the most important benefits:
1. A support group can “pick you up” when you find that your motivation to study is slipping. The other group members can be a source of encouragement.
2. You may be reluctant to ask a question in class. You will find it easier to do so in a small study group.
3. You may become more committed to study because the group members are depending on your presentation and participation. You will not want to let them down.
4. Group members will listen and discuss information and concepts during the study sessions. These activities add a strong auditory dimension to your learning experience.
5. One or more group members are likely to understand something you do not. They may bring up ideas you never considered.
6. You can learn valuable new study habits from the other group members.
7. You can compare your class notes with those of the other group members to clarify your notes and fill in any gaps.
8. Teaching/explaining information and concepts to the other group members will help you reinforce your mastery of the information and concepts.
9. Let’s face it – studying can sometimes be boring. Interacting with the other group members can make studying enjoyable.
Getting a Study Group Started Study Groups, Runner Study groups don’t just happen.
Here is what you should do to get a study group started:
1. Get to know your classmates by talking with them before class, during breaks, and after class. When selecting a classmate to join your study group, you should be able to answer YES for each of the following questions: * Is this classmate motivated to do well? * Does this classmate understand the subject matter? * Is this classmate dependable? * Would this classmate be tolerant of the ideas of others? * Would you like to work with this classmate?
2. Invite enough of these classmates to work with you in a study group until you have formed a group of three to five. A larger group may allow some members to avoid responsibility, may lead to cliques, and may make group management more of an issue than learning.
3. Decide how often and for how long you will meet. Meeting two or three times a week is probably best. If you plan a long study session, make sure you include time for breaks. A study session of about 60 to 90 minutes is usually best.
4. Decide where you will meet. Select a meeting place that is available and is free from distractions. An empty classroom or a group study room in the library are possibilities.
5. Decide on the goals of the study group. Goals can include comparing and updating notes, discussing readings, and preparing for exams.
6. Decide who the leader will be for the first study session. Also decide whether it will be the same person each session or whether there will be a rotating leader. The leader of a study session should be responsible for meeting the goals of that study session.
7. Clearly decide the agenda for the first study session and the responsibilities of each group member for that session.
8. Develop a list of all group members that includes their names, telephone numbers, and email addresses. Make sure each group member has this list and update the list as needed.
Characteristics of a Successful Study Group Once started, a study group should possess the following characteristics to be successful:
1. Each group member contributes to discussions.
2. Group members actively listen to each other without interrupting. Only one group member speaks at a time.
3. The other group members work collaboratively to resolve any concern raised by a group member.
4. Group members are prompt and come prepared to work.
5. The group stays on task with respect to its agenda.
6. Group members show respect for each other.
7. Group members feel free to criticize each other but keep their criticisms constructive. This can encourage group members to reveal their weaknesses so that they can strengthen them.
8. Group members feel free to ask questions of each other.
9. At the end of each study session, an agenda including specific group member responsibilities is prepared for the next session.
10. Above all, the positive attitude that “we can do this together” is maintained.
Possible Pitfalls of a Study Group Study Groups, Caution A study group can be a very positive learning experience. However, there are pitfalls to be avoided.
Here are some cautions:
1. Do not let the study group get distracted from its agenda and goals.
2. Do not let the study group become a social group. You can always socialize at other times.
3. Do not allow group members to attend unprepared. To stay in the group, members should be required to do their fair share.
4. Do not the let the session become a negative forum for complaining about teachers and courses.
5. Do not allow one or two group members to dominate the group. It is important that all members have an equal opportunity to participate. The information you just read will help you decide when a study group is appropriate for you and will help ensure its success.[/learn_more]
Tips on Operating an Efficient Study Group
1. Provide adequate lighting and ventilation, particularly if there are smokers in the group.
2. Side-step controversial matters and arguments; knowing about God is not as important as is getting to know him through personal experience.
3. Sit in a circle facing each other rather than in rows.
4. A fellowship must exist where committed people can be honest with each other and discover the reality of apostolic fellowship–fellowship between creatures of diverse background whose only common element may be a dedication to the pursuit of the Father’s will.
5. Commitment, in order to be effective, must needs keep company with honesty.
6. Interdependence within a group is a healthy state if it avoids the extremes of stubborn independence and childish dependence.
7. Developing groups occassionally reach a plateau which is difficult to abandon for a higher level. This barrier to growth often is only overcome by crisis, internal or external, it if is not wisely planned for and transcended when it appears. An internal crisis may occur when an individual suddenly expresses concern for the group and brings the condition to the attention of all, calling for change. Intra-group conflict may occur. An external crisis usually takes the form of action taken by an outside group or individual and may consist of competition, accusations, or verbal attacks. A crisis may or may not lead to renewal; the ultimate effect of any crisis will depend on the ability of the group leaders to utilize the lever of crisis for positive change.
8. Be aware of the differences between “teaching” a group and “leading” a group.Find a Study Group
2. Stick to the topic; avoid tangents which may become an exchange of mutual ignorance.
3. Encourage all to participate but don’t force anyone.
4. Try rotating the location.
5. A light snack or beverage is nice to have during the meeting. Drinking water should always be available.
6. Time is valuable–don’t waste it.
7. The availability of a Concordex, the topical index and a good dictionary is useful.
8. Promptness is a courtesy; begin and close at the agreed upon time.
9. Establish a policy about the presence of children; they can be extremely distracting to some groups or an invaluable additoin to others. But this should be decided upon by the group.
10. Stick to The Urantia Book as the primary source of information; overuse of other materials can greatly distract from the central purpose of studying The Urantia Book.
11. If you are leading, don’t talk too much; encourage discussion rather than a question/answer session.
12. The leader must constantly make value judgments about the relative value of different lines of thought which develop, and must direct the course of the discussion to completion within the allotted time.
13. If you wish to emphasize a specific point, mention it at the beginning, refer to it during, and summarize it at the end of the meeting.
14. Meet your time limits by dividing the material into sub-sections and setting time limits for them; while you want to be flexible during the meeting, this may help you get through all of your material.
15. Find a balance, satisfactory to the group, between the review of intellectual facts and the social activities of shared exploration and discovery.
16. Pray for values as you prepare and present.
17. Occassionally allow time for participants to comment on the group process itself — does it meet their needs? Does it help them in their study of The Urantia Book? Does it help them with their spiritual lives?
18. Unify the participants around a study of The Urantia Book and the sharing of the spiritual life. Do not allow shared outside political or social opinions to be the unifying factor of the group.
19. Learn the art of asking carefully phrased questions which will help the participants grasp specific meanings, achieve understanding (associate new ideas with meanings already in their minds), and possibly stimulate them to make decisions for action in daily life based on higher values implicit in the new meanings.
20. Find a level of meeting frequency with which everyone is comfortable–some groups meet weekly, others monthly and some quarterly. This may be in addition to periodic conferences at which readers from a wider geographic area may gather for study and socialization.
21. Ideally, a meeting time should be established and held to over a long period of time. In this way it will generally become known that the Urantia Book study group meets, for example, on the first Monday night of each month. This will make it easier for people in your area who can’t come to every meeting to remember when the meetings are held. Another way of accomplishing the same result is to have someone in the community become known as a resource person who will always know when and where local meetings are being held. This person should be easily contactable by telephone or email.
1. Dependence of individuals upon the group for the meeting of their own psycho-social needs; there are situations in which the group needs to be protected from an individual who attempts to dominate the group as a means of meeting his or her own psychological needs. A common problem is the person who wants to be recognized as a teacher or wants to be seen as a spiritually accomplished person.
2. Size–Interaction among group members is inversely proportional to the size of the group. Studies show that when a group gets larger than 7 or 8 participants it becomes difficult for all to participate.
3. Quality and quantity of member interaction; depth of communication which is enhanced by honest and trust.
4. Stability of membership– is there a stable core of experienced readers? Do people come and go from the group without attending many meetings?
5. Isolation from other groups having similar goals.
6. Absence or presence of outside pressure on the group.
7. Commitment of individuals to the goals of the group.
Disruptive to Unity
1. Members attempt to use different means, on their own, to attain the goals of the group.
2. Differences of opinion as to priority of goal order.
3. Conflicts between the goals of individuals and the goals of the group.
Specific Means to Promote Unity of a Group
1. Emphasize the value of total organizational effectiveness and the role of sub-groups in contributing to it. The use of competition to stimulate development can easily lead to the emergence of inter-group conflict and a breakdown of co-operation.
2. Measure and reward sub-groups on the basis of their contribution to the whole rather than building local pride by recognizing only individual effectiveness.
3. Foster a high level of interaction and communication between groups aimed at intergroup co-ordination and hlep. The setting of common goals and fostering of valid communication relevant to their attainment will help prevent the build-up of intergroup tensions.
4. Recognize and reward help that groups give to each other.
5. Foster a type of intergroup communication which will facilitate development of a high degree of mutual understanding an d empathy for the problems of one another.
6. Avoid win/lose situation by never putting groups into the position of competing for the same organizational awards. Emphasis should be placed on pooling of resources to maximize organizational effectiveness and sharing of rewards equally.
Note: It is important to recognize that the absence of disagreement is not necessarily desirable; conflict and disagreement are essential to the achievement of the best solution to a problem. What is harmful is interpersonal or intergroup conflict in which the task is not as important as is gaining advantage over the other person or group.
Each of the formats listed below provides for some degree of participation by each member of the group. The more that people participate, the better they will be prepared to someday lead their own study groups. Note that these formats are oriented to study of The Urantia Book. Prayer and worship are important parts of many well-established study groups. These more intimate aspects of a religious nature generally evolve over time in accordance with the needs and desires of the participants. There are groups of Urantia Book readers who meet only for prayer or worship. There are other groups who meet only for study, whose members participate in the activities of traditional religious institutions. There are still other readers who introduce a study of The Urantia Book into the activities of a religious community or church in which they are comfortable. In general, study groups which focus on a study of The Urantia Book remain more accessible to new readers than those which allow themselves to evolve into religious or spiritual support groups. In most well established communities of readers there are multiple kinds of groups which meet different sets of needs.
- Lecture Forum
- Presentation of a formal lecture on a topic from The Urantia Book followed by a group discussion of the material covered. The meeting can also be broken up into a series of short lectures, each followed by a brief period of discussion.
- Team Teaching Forum
- Two or more speakers followed by a discussion, or speakers-discussion, leader-discussion sequence.
- Informal Discussion
- This is the loosest of all formats, consisting of free, open discussion of a topic of interest from The Urantia Book. It may be done by the group as a whole, or it may be done by smaller subgroups to encourage participation by all.
- Formal Discussion
- This is more orderly than the informal discussion; a leader poses questions for which specific answers are sought in the following discussion.
- The group breaks up into small groups which develop specific questions related to a given topic. A leader from each group then becomes a part of a panel which poses the questions to another panel of resource persons. The resource persons may be members who have done extensive study on the topic, or outsiders representing a particular field or discipline. An open discussion may follow.
- Assignment/Report Forum
- Formal reports are delivered to the group on previously assigned topics from The Urantia Book, followed by discussion. Individuals or teams may be assigned the topics.
- Classroom Research Forum
- The leader poses Urantia Book topics for research during the study period followed by a discussion of the findings at the conclusion of the session. Research may be done by individuals or small groups.
- Case Study Forum
- Study of a story from The Urantia Book for purposes of understanding meanings and values which it might contain. The leader provides quotes which can be read and discussed by the group.
- Small Group Research Forum
- A main topic is broken up into sub-topics for research by smaller groups consisting of 4 or 5 people each. A forum is then held with the entire group in which the reports of the sub-groups are presented. This can be followed by open discussion of the reports. The research assignments can be made ahead of meeting time so that the actual time at the meeting is spent in a discussion of the reports.
- Drama Forum
- A dramatic presentation is given followed by discussion of points and issues raised.
- Class Interview Forum
- A resource person answers questions fielded by the class. Questions may be submitted beforehand for study by the resource person.
- Debate Forum
- Opposing views assigned for research and debate by a selected panel followed by group discussion.
- Paper Review Forum
- A paper (or section of a paper) from The Urantia Book is reviewed in book review style by the leader, followed by group discussion of the ideas it contains.
- Reading Forum
- The group reads through The Urantia Book together, from beginning to end. The group may read during the meeting or may have the reading assigned ahead of time so that meeting time is spent on discussion. This is perhaps the easiest way to get a study group started, particularly if the participants do not know each other.
- Circular Response Forum
- The leader presents an idea or reads a selection from The Urantia Book. Comments are then given in turn by each participant around the group. This is another good way to start a study group when people may not know each other and may be reluctant to speak out.
- Audio Visual Forum
- An audio visual presentation is followed by a group discussion, possibly with the producers of the presentation acting as discussion leaders.
- Reflection Response Forum
- Silent reading and meditation upon an assigned portion followed by discussion.
- Written Work Forum
Source From Urantiabook.org
- This involves a period of working on assigned materials followed by a time of discussion. Written materials may include written answers to written questions, matching, multiple choice, completion, crossword puzzles, short essays, or paraphrasing of sections of The Urantia Book. Written work may be assigned in prior to meeting time