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Group definition

Group definition
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Ehrmann and Dornyei (1998) have defined a ‘group’ quite specifically. Scroll down to see the six different criteria.


Identify as a unit

Share a purpose

A duration of time

Internal structure


So, identifying as a group, whether in person or online, depends on the following conditions being met:

• they interact with each other,

• perceive themselves as a unit,

• share a common purpose or goal for being together,

• are together for a duration of time,

• function under a structure which controls who is a member, their roles, relationships, and rules of behaviour, and

• have some shared responsibility for the members’ actions.

Clearly then, your class constitutes a group!

Reference: Ehrman, M. E and Z. Dornyei. (1998). Interpersonal dynamics in second language education: The visible and invisible classroom. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

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