Working with Groups

Subject EDUC90227 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


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 Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Chelsea Hyde


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)

This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 80% attendance at all tutorials, seminars and workshops.

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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