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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.
Intended 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.
Last updated: 11 February 2021