CASE STUDY 3
|Date/Duration||The intervention and the changes occurred in semester 2 of the 2016-2017 academic year|
|Main subject||A class of 10th grade students|
|Age-range of students||Aged 16-17 year old|
|Situation/setting of the school||Public school, taking students from age 6 to 19. Inner city school, in a large city (over 300,000 inhabitants) in north-western Romania|
|Theme/short description + how it is related to DoE||A class of high-school students who were having difficulty interacting, expressing and recognising emotions, as well as managing them were helped to express emotions by using the Hot chair technique.|
|Description of the case study||The students in this class had not developed group cohesion, although most of them had been together for a year, and some of them had been in the same school for nine years. Different interests for music, studying, sports, fashion, different styles of communication separated the class into small groups who stick together, and barely ever interact with students from other groups. Expressing emotions was seen as something that only wimps do.
The class headteacher had taken the Didactics of emotions course, and decided to try the Hot Chair in an adapted version. She had asked the school counsellor (a psychologist by training) to attend the lesson in which she tried the Hot Chair for the first time in case her specialist intervention was needed during the lesson.
The teacher asked the students to sit in groups. Each group was supposed to consist of students who generally got on very well together, who are on friendly terms, who communicate with each other on a daily basis. In the beginning, the teacher asked them to decide on a name they wanted to be identified by as a group, and share that name with the other groups. Then she gave each group a list of characteristics and asked them to choose the ones they thought defined their group very well. Next, she asked the students to think about each of the other groups, characterise them and describe their group’s relations with the other groups. The teacher introduced the Hot Chair, initiating a discussion with the students to work out together why they thought it was called like that (because you want to get off it soon, because you may be criticising others when you are sitting there, etc.). Then the spokespersons of each group got a chance to go to the front of the room, sit on the Hot Chair and communicate to the others what they had discussed in their groups about their relationship with the students in the other groups. After the spokesperson of a group presented, the other groups could ask clarification questions or make comments.
In three cases (of the four), the spokespersons spoke at great length and not only from the perspective of the group they were representing, but also from their personal point of view, and from the standpoint of their position in the group and in the class. They were generally reflecting about how they were prejudiced against each other, and expressing judgments that this was not a good thing for them as a big group, and concluding that essentially, they would all benefit if they would be willing to communicate and interact more constructively with each other, and get to know each other much better across those groups of friends as well.
The general conclusion of the lesson was that the students should be actively seeking opportunities to get to know each other and approach each other more open-mindedly, even if their taste for music or sports etc. were different.
The intervention of the counsellor was not necessary, as despite some tense moments during the lesson, all students managed to contain themselves.
The teacher felt that the lesson achieved its objective to get the students to think deeply about – with a view to start planning for – better quality interaction among the class as a whole group.