Social Psychology Tutorial Overview
Draft 2 - 18/7/05

An Evolving Descriptive Overview of the Tutorials

Tutorial Content

  1. In the first tutorial, we will examine how groups start out, "break the ice", and start learning names and about one another, as well as about the role of the tutorials and the tutorial tasks ahead.
  2. In tutorial two, students are suddenly thrust into a different world, one which is emotionally provocative and challenging, possibly even traumatic as we examine one of the most extremely dangerous potentials of group behaviour - genocide.  The specific context will by the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which over 1 million people were slaughtered in approximately three months.  We will watch a 2-hour documentary, "Ghosts of Rwanda" which tells the harrowing story of how the atrocities unfolded, with revealing interviews from several key figures.  During the course of the documentary almost every social psychological principle we study in social psychology is revealed in one form or another.  Students will be likely to be left emotionally drained and disturbed from this viewing and its potential effects should not be taken likely.  Please be aware that because of the potentially traumatising effects of watching a graphic movie about genocide, this tutorial is not compulsory.  An accompanying website provides written material which may be more preferable for  some students.  Please also be aware that strong emotional reactions, including crying are very likely during and in the hours and days following the movie.  Allow yourself time and space to process this tutorial.  The WebCT bulletin board will provide an opportunity to discuss the Rwandan 1994 genocide.
  3. In tutorial three, we will debrief the viewing of "Ghosts of Rwanda".  Students will have been requested to take notes in the previous week about social psychological principles which they observed in "Ghosts of Rwanda".  These observations will be pooled in order to help understand genocide and responses to genocide from a social psychological point of view.  We will then watch a 50 minute movie of a "Blue Eyed Brown Eyed" workshop by Jane Elliott, conducted recently in Australia.  Jane Elliott is famous for her in-your-face experiential training about how racism occurs and what is it like to be on the receiving end of racism.  Elliott conducts her workshop in the context of relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.  Tutorials two and three will be accompanied by guest lectures by Geoff Denham on "Aggression in the Human Animal" and "Prejudice and Discrimination".  Geoff offers a social (de)constructionist point of view on these classic topics in social psychology.  Among the contributions Geoff is likely to offer is, I hope, a confidence in finding different ways to approach arguably the most difficult social psychological topics.  After the heavy content of tutorials two and three, we will have a week's rest from tutorials.  It is healthy to have periods of relatively silence and quiet in group development.  This mini-break is also designed to allow focus on developing an the essay outline.
  4. In tutorial four, we turn our focus to looking more closely at ourselves and understanding the extent to which we are a function of our social relations.  We will share with another information about the groups to which we belong and how they have affected our behaviour who we consider ourselves to be.  Several experiential activities which focus on interpersonal relations will be conducted.  Note that one of the additional goals of the current tutorial series is provide students with exposure to communication skill and group training activities which could be readily applied to other situations in which they may be the leader/facilitator.
  5. In tutorial five, we will examine the nature of groups, group development, group dynamics, group decision-making, leadership, leadership styles, team roles, etc.  These are popular applied topics, particularly in a society with social fluidity (e.g., regularly changing jobs, family situations, etc.).
  6. It is less easy to predict how the group process will unfold in the five tutorials following the two-week teaching break, but the planned contents is as follows (but is subject to change)....Tutorial six, "Australian Zeitgiest", will examine Hugh Mackay's analysis of the mind and moon of Australia via listening to and discussing his recent Manning Clark Lecture, "Social Disengagement: A Breeding Ground for Fundamentalism".  In small groups, students will work to come up with action plans for combatting the social ills which Mackay diagnoses as problems for Australia.
  7. Tutorial seven, "Social Constructionism", will engage students experientially in a gestalt activity (Group Mandala) in which groups and individuals face their own construction of group reality, a 30 min Discovery Learning psychology video about "Social Constructionism", and a positive social psychology action exercise.
  8. Tutorial eight will examine the concept of culture shock, its stages, and ways in which people can be trained to better handle cross-cultural situations using experiential methods.  Cultural Mapping, a technique used in the EXCEL cross-training program will be introduced and practiced, with a followup lecture from Anita Mak on this applied example of social psychology in action.
  9. Tutorial nine will examine intragroup and intergroup cognition and behaviour, particularly with regard to gender, research on intergroup behaviour (particularly Social Identity and Self Categorisation), negotiation and mediation, and we will explore sociometric analysis and activities.  A practice, take-home exam will also be provided.
  10. Tutorial ten, the final tutorial, will provide an opportunity for closure.  Participants are encouraged to discussion their experience and to provide feedback to the group and tutor about the course.  The practice exam will also be discussed and formal course evaluations will be completed.