Creative Discussion using Plain Pair Groups

Creative Discussion – a key to insight and change

William Plain
Emeritus Professor, Nagoya University of Foreign Studies

Plain Pair Group Teaching (Plain PGT)
- for universities and schools
Plain Pair Group Discussion (Plain PGD)
- for decision making and staff development
- for informal or community creative discussion

A flash of insight is the spark of cosmic intelligence.
Small group sharing of insight can change the pattern of human intelligence. &

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NUFS Creative Campus

Ideas  アイディア

Education is traditionally concerned with knowledge;

it should also be very much concerned with developing creativity.

Several personal projects have been developed at NUFS based on Monkasho funded research.

Their goal is to:

meet the Monkasho requirement to develop creativity through education

make best use of a basic strength in Japanese society — the group
combining both Western and Asian theories of creativity

It is suggested that these projects could:

improve the academic quality of the university

facilitate creative interaction in all areas of the university

encourage communicative, interactive, student-centred learning

help students to assume greater responsibility for their own learning

and could also be applied to NUAS and other Nakanishi campuses.


Several personal projects have been developed at NUFS over a number of years to promote education for knowledge and creativity. Based on long term funded research, the following have been implemented: academic content classes taught through English with interactive student participation (Plain Pair Group Teaching); developing methods for autonomous learning; informal small group ‘academic’ discussion across student years (Campus Creative Discussion); curriculum development and university renewal through structured discussion (Peer Faculty Development).
いくつかの個人的プロジェクトが、知識と創造性の教育を促進するためにNUFSでは長年にわたって押し進められてきた。長期の助成金を得た研究を基に、以下のことが実行された。:インタラクティブな学生の参加による英語での専門的内容の講義(Plain Pair Group Teaching)、自主学習のための手法の開発、全学年合同の非公式の「学問的」少人数制ディスカッション(Campus Creative Discussion)、構造化されたディスカッションを通してのカリキュラム開発とピア教職員開発(Peer FD)


These projects are aimed at highlighting the need for personal creativity at all levels of education and the essential role of ‘insight’ in countering an established tendency for conditioning and conformity in ideas and attitudes, using forms of interaction that enhance participatory rather than conflictual values.

A glance at the human species over time shows deep contradictions: on one side culture and society, knowledge and compassion, on the other domination and exploitation, war and discrimination. There is a fundamental divide in the human condition. This research (Plain Pair Groups and Creative Discussion) is an attempt to create a simple social dynamic through which individuals and organisations can see with clarity and make choices with wisdom.
人類を長期に渡り見てみると不可解な矛盾が見える。つまり、一方では文化と社会、知識と慈悲があり、もう一方では支配と搾取、戦争と差別がある。これは、人間条件の基礎分類である。この研究(Plain Pair Groups と Creative Discussion)は、個人や団体が明瞭に考えたり、英知を持って選択できるようなシンプルな社会的原動力を生み出すことを試みている。


Improve academic quality; facilitate creative interaction in all areas of the university; focus on ‘insight’ as a key to intelligence; encourage communicative, interactive, student-centred learning; help students to assume greater responsibility for their own learning; provide a method for teaching content classes in English (or in Japanese) that is easy to adopt and non-threatening for the teacher familiar with traditional approaches to university teaching.


The essential concern of education (including foreign language learning) is not only knowledge but also creativity. The key to creativity is ‘insight’. This is facilitated in the classroom, on the campus and in academic and administrative decision-making by regular structured interaction assuring non-hierarchical autonomous attentiveness to ‘new ideas’.
(外国語学習を含む)教育上の重要な関心事は、知識だけではなく、創造力でもある。 創造力のキーは「ひらめき」である。これは授業中、大学内や、「新しいアイディア」のための階層的ではない自主的な注意力を確保する通常の交流による教学的また経営的な決定の中で促される。


Through several decades of personal research, I have attempted to understand why the human species, despite such brilliance in a wide range of areas, is yet so immensely lacking in awareness, especially with regards to the damage inflicted by large groups (corporations, nations, etc) on other species and on the planet itself. It is now becoming evident that the problem is an incapacity to recognise error in judgement, especially when the individual and whole societies are subjected to ‘established ways of thinking’, or conditioning. Further research has uncovered the role of ‘insight’ in permitting an individual to go outside of the conditioned brain and discover totally new ideas that can provide a solution. Plain Pair Groups has been fashioned to create a ‘space’ for insight through small group communication across a wide range of human endeavours.
数十年にわたる個人研究を通し、次の問題の理解に努めてきた――人間は広い領域において優れた才能を活かせているが、(企業、国などの)大集団によって人間以外の種、更には地球上の種に対して与えられてきた損害への認識が、非常に欠けているのは何故か。人が判断ミスを認識できないことに問題があるということが、今明らかになりつつある。特に、個人あるいは社会全体がいわゆる「既成の思考方法」または条件付けに左右されるとき、その判断ミスが認識できない。更に研究を進め、条件付けられた思考の範囲を超え、解決策のために全く新しい考えを見つけ出せる状況での「ひらめき」の役割を明かしてきた。Plain Pair Groupsは、小グループによるコミュニケーションを通じ、また広範囲にわたる努力に支えられて、ひらめきのための「空間」創りのために形作られてきたのである。

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© William Plain  1990-2024 (print); 2005 - 2024 (website)