Divide and Conquer

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I recently went on a field trip with ninety 4th graders and roughly sixteen or so adults.  The field trip lasted 3 days and 2 nights where I had to bunk with 4 boys during the nights.  Lucky for me I knew two of them very well.  And I knew that both of them had very strong personalities that can quickly go against each other.

I think of strategies of crowd control all the time.  Lucky for me, I read some snippets from the Art of War .

Knowing that I had two strong personalities/leaders in the room, I decided to divide them and give them some power to control.  One of them was Red Leader 1 and the other Blue Leader 1.  Each of them got one of the other boys.  I’m trying to empower these kids with leadership skills and give them to those who are lacking.  The followers were named Red Leader 2 and Blue Leader 2.  Yes, I left the leader in there to help boost their self-confidence.

Now, this did a couple things that I didn’t even think it was going to do:

  • The Leader 1s started to follow all the rules and made sure that their followers were following.
  • The Leader 2s followed.
  • The Leader 1s were competitive where they tried to make sure their team was the best.

I slept well.  The next day, I switch it around where the followers were now the leaders.  I was hoping that the leaders would understand how they were treating the followers and then have the tides turn on them.  And it sure did.  The leaders realized how they were doing things and didn’t like it when they were the followers.  The followers became a little more self-confident to a point they were giving orders to their former leaders.

On day 3, I switched them up again.  The boys were a little more controlled with their orders they gave and were more understanding of the followers.

I was talking with one of the other dads.  His technique was to find the leader of the room and just control that one.

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