Working with Groups

Subject EDUC90227 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours
Total Time Commitment:

Attendance at all classes (tutorial/seminars/practical classes/lectures/labs) is obligatory. Failure to attend 80% of classes will normally result in failure in the subject.


This subject may be taken by 312AA Master of Educational Psychology and G02AA Master of Educational Psychology/Doctor of Philosophy students only.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the HDisability Liaison Unit websiteH: H


Education Student Centre
234 Queensberry Street
Call: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

A general review of systems theory and practice is presented, with the particular focus of assisting participants to understand the social system and to develop interventions in that context. The sessions cover: communication in groups (selective perception and culture, perception and communication, understanding communication in groups); membership in formal and informal organisations (multiple memberships, group norms, group pressure and deviancy, the power of groups, conformity, compliance and obedience and the goals of a group); surface and hidden agendas; leadership; a systemic view of small group behaviour; group problem solving and decision making; the use of humour in groups; the family as a microcosm of a group; supportive structures and processes within groups. Since learning, development and adaptation of the individual occurs within varieties of social contexts, namely the school, the family and the peer group, the role of the support systems within the school, the family and the community are considered. School and family as systems are examined. Since systems work in education is heavily informed by family systems work and training in family therapy readily generalises to work with other groups, the family as a system is addressed.

Learning Outcomes:

On subject completion students should be able to:

  • understand systems theory and its application in social systems and contexts, particularly the family and school settings;
  • understand the relevance of key concepts associated with systems theory and group work, for example: communication, perception and culture; membership in formal and informal organisations; group norms, group and social pressure and deviancy; power in groups, conformity, compliance and obedience;
  • develop strategies and skills to work with and influence families, peer and other groups to the benefit of group members;
  • observe and evaluate the contribution of group members in therapy groups;
  • write interventions for group and family contexts with reference to systemic interventions and practices;
  • demonstrate basic skills at group management and motivating groups of children and adolescents.

Three parts to the assessment:

  • An assignment that describes stages of group development relating to an individual topic (1,000 words) due end of week four (20 per cent)
  • A detailed analysis of a selected topic that relates to the prescribed or recommended reading ( 2,000 words) due end of week 8 (40 per cent)
  • An analysis of a selected problem and an interpretation of its genesis, maintenance and possible solution in systemic terms (2,000 words) due at the end of semester (40 per cent)
Prescribed Texts:

Napier, R. W., and Gershenfeld, M. K. 2004, Groups: Theory and Experience, Boston, Houghton Mifflin.

Goding, G. (1992). The History and Principles of Family Therapy. Melbourne:Victorian Association of Family Therapy

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Educational Psychology
Master of Educational Psychology/Doctor of Philosophy

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