Below is a link to the typical behaviour of the group monopoliser or controller/overtalker –  often the result of that person’s anxiety.  For more such rich, short videos demonstrating common, unhelpful group/team  behaviours  please contact the  University of Derby’s Dr Caroline Harvey  (Psychology) at:
Unhelpful group/teams behaviours to be addressed through practical compassion


Here Dr Theo Gilbert explains the principles and rationales for  rooting the science of compassion into the 21st century degree programme. The film, Embedding and Assessing Compassion in the University Curriculum (Part 1), is the first of  series that will support universities (and schools) interested in learning more about the research involved in this fast spreading initiative, and how, in simple and practical ways,  they can apply this growing scholarship themselves. It appears we are witnessing a shift in traditional thinking about what constitutes excellence in team work.

For an understanding of the model of a psychobiological approach to compassion that very much informs the additional research and pedagogical practice (for student group work) that is explained in these films, you may want to see  the following lecture by Dr Paul Gilbert, OBE, retired UK National Health Service,  Professor of Clinical Psychology,  who developed the model:

Action for Happiness.  Compassion – with Professor Paul Gilbert. Online video.  YouTube.  YouTube, April 21, 2017.

Unlocking Students’ Insights on Compassion (Part 2), explores how to connect staff and students to their innate capacities for compassion. This can then be used by students in the classroom to enhance each others’ social and learning experiences.

Under each film  Resources that were explained in the film will appear in the order they were discussed, as here/below.

Reading and viewing resources for Part 2:

Duhigg, C. (2016). What Google learned from its quest to build the perfect team. The New York Times Magazine.  Available at: learned-from-its-quest-to-build-the-perfect-team

Beephy. Hero dog saves another after it was hit in the highway. Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, Feb 9th, 2009

The Compassionate Mind Foundation.  Available at:
Gilbert, P. (2015)  The evolution and social dynamics of compassion.   Social and Personality Psychology Compass (2015): 1–16, 10.1111/spc3.121

Klimecki OM, Leiburg S, Ricard M, Singer T. (2014) Differential pattern of functional brain plasticity after compassion and empathy training. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 9 (6): 873-9

Ethnography in the Classroom: What’s there to notice?  (Part 3), looks at  the first component of compassion for group work (sensitivity to the suffering of others) which is the starting point for the practical  micro skills of compassion that can be learned and applied in group work.  Noticing the distress or the disadvantaging of others in a group or team requires good ethnographic (close observational skills).  Teachers and students can upgrade these skills by looking at group interactions more curiously and intently. This video offers some practice with that. It also demonstrates that the  enactment of compassion requires meaning making, and (often courageous) decision making and action – in the moment.

The video of students inside this film shows why the close study of secular compassion in task-focused group work has game changing implications for team work assessment.

Accelerating Interculturalism in the Classroom (Part 4),  offers some tips on how to set up a class room speed-meet  quickly and painlessly.  This can fast-track class bonding and interculturalising processes across a class of students,  dissolving  cliques so that students can have a much greater social reach across the group and its diversity.  It’s particularly effective  for students when it’s experienced early in the course or module.

TV2Danmark.  All That We Share.  Online video link. YouTube.  YouTube Jan 27th, 2017    (3 mins)

Why compassion fast-tracks interculturalism in the classroom (Part 5), explores why practical compassion in the classroom fast tracks bonding and interculturalism across the  whole classroom –  and helps dismantle the boundaries of  student cliques.  We look at some of the research that shows why multiculturalism  – plural societies living side by side, and too often divided over competition for resources – is problematic by itself.   In contrast,  interculturalism is a step closer to more integrated communities;  in education too it’s more effective at enhancing student academic achievement and mental wellbeing because problem-solving  groups can call on the commitment to task of a diverse collective consciousness.

Reading resources:

Zapata-Barrero, R. (2013) The three strands of intercultural policies a comprehensive view. GRITim Working Paper Series No.17, Summer 2013. (Barcelona Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Page-Gould, E., Mendoza-Denton, R. & Tropp, L. (2008). With a little help from my cross-group friend: Reducing anxiety in intergroup contexts through cross-group friendship. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(5), 1080-1094.

“Education without moral education is dangerous” (Part 6)  An interview with UK Professor of Clinical Psychology Paul Gilbert in which he considers these questions:   Why should HE be embedding compassion into the curriculum?   How can teaching staff  do this well and quickly even if they feel this is not within their skill set?  What can we observe so far from HE’s  history and legacy of, on the whole,  degree education without explicit attention to compassion’?   Can compassion be credit bearing on diverse degree programmes?   How are academic, counselling and other staff in current HE to take care of their own high stress levels?  And why are students suffering from competitive stress so much today?

Reading Resources

Chickering, A. W. (2010). A retrospect on higher education’s commitment to moral and civic education. Journal of College and Character, 11(3), 1-6.

Gilbert, P., Clarke, M. S., Hempel, S., Miles, J. N. V. & Irons, C. (2004). Criticizing and reassuring oneself: An exploration of forms, styles and reasons in female students. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 43, 31–50.

Compassion takes  courage:  Surfacing and dismantling hidden resentments  in groups  (Part 7)

In this film we explore  how James Scott’s (1990) ground-breaking book, ‘Domination and the Arts of Resistance’,  can give teachers the edge on how and why a simple compassionate exercise in class  can dismantle resentments and unproductive kinds of competition in student groups,  and transform their  task-focussed dynamics.

Class room Resource

Checklist (word)

Checklist (pdf)


Scott, J.C. (1990). Domination and the arts of resistance: Hidden transcripts. New Haven: Yale University Press.


How to handle the ‘monopoliser’ in the group, team or class  (Part 8)

This film explains how the micro skills of compassion  are being assessed (made credit-bearing towards degrees in Higher Education).  After that, we focus on a common problem in group work – the monopoliser, or ‘dominator’ who takes over the group.  And we identify which micro skills can help with this swiftly and non-verbally.  Two examples of assessment materials  for teachers are available under the film, but for more of these and how they fit to different group discussion tasks, please see  Assessments & Task Designs (above)


Please see Tasks and Assessments, for some simple, straightforward ideas on what these can be that have been approved by external examiners in the UK HE sector.

Also, on the Tasks and Assessment page above, is a simple language structure for students to use.  It can help them to get their group discussions going and flowing, in seminars and other group work settings.


How to draw quieter team members into the group discussion (Part 9).

This film explains the micro skills of compassion that can draw the quieter student into the group discussion in gentle and effective ways.

We are currently in the process of producing more short films, for example on research methods for identifying  evidence of impact on academic achievement that can be attributed to  embedding and assessing compassion on the HE curriculum.   In the meantime, you may want to click on (examples of quick, practical examples of)  Tasks &  Assessments, above.   Watch this space – more information to follow!