There are five stages which take place during the time a group comes together.
The stages are:
FORMING / STORMING / NORMING / PERFORMING / MOURNING
The ground rules need to be set at this stage
There may be challenges to the rules and a desire to ‘change’ the rules.
This is the time to set clear boundaries regarding timing, attendance and participation.
This is the principal part of the group’s life. The boundaries are clear, the agendas & issues have been identified during ‘norming’.
The group now need to deal with the tasks at hand (living together, learning together, enjoying machane)
The madrichim have the responsibility to provide whatever methods they can to assist the group in accomplishing the tasks.
The performing stage can be divided into ‘process’ and ‘task’. Process is the dynamic which occurs when a group is actually working together and occurs by virtue of the fact that the group has come together at machane and is living that experience as a group. The stages of forming, storming and norming were all part of the process of this particular group.
The task of the group is the purpose of the group’s existence – what it sets out to achieve: it is at the performing stage when the group achieves the task.
The task at machane may be more difficult to identify. It may be an end of machane show. The tasks at camp are often shorter peulot, however the ‘overall’ task, particularly for madrichim, is easier to identify.
At this stage, there is a need to resolve any unfinished business. Check that people are satisfied at the time of parting from the group. This is the final stage of the group’s interaction. There may be feelings of loss, anti-climax or relief associated with endings. As the group draws to a close emotions can become very strong. It is essential to prepare the group for separation, otherwise the group members can be left feeling empty. The ending cannot be too drawn out either. There needs to be a clear end point.
The separation needs a defined sikkum to achieve closure for the individuals within the group.
At this stage it is useful to suggest the ways in which the group might meet again. (For example, at club, veida, shabbatonim.)
Although it is not possible to draw sharp dividing lines between each of the stage, it is essential to understand that each group goes through these dynamics and the madrichim (who are also going through the same dynamic within their own group) need to recognise and understand the stages in order to maximise the group process.
This handout is based on the work of Tim Pickles – Experiential Group Work, 1986. A copy of the manual is available at UJIA Makor.
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