Social groups

Subject: Social studies
Activity length: 100 min
Objectives:
  • Gaining new knowledge regarding social groups;
  • Learning the characteristics of social groups.
  • The improvement of critical thinking and argumentation.
Preparation:
  • Handbook of Sociology for high schools;
  • Internet resources (URL) about the murder of Kitty Genovese, worksheet with documentation standards and some templates for taking notes in a scientific manner, a watch, a mobile app for time keeping, or even an hourglass.
Description:
  • Preparation – 3 minutes
  • Presentation of theory about social groups, of their classification and all the groups were defined through theory and examples. (10’)
  • Read-Write-Share. The study of processes that take place within the group and their dynamic (each process will be discuss in groups of 4-5 students and presented in front of the whole class) (15’).
  • Conversation (preparation for debate): One of the most important point related to group dynamics is “the creation of a group”. Groups are not static elements, for the relationship between its members is variable. Also, there were taken into consideration issues related to group behaviour. The talk started with the following statement: Two pairs of eyes see better than only one. When it comes to group behavior, this statement makes sense and the students agree to it, but it is contradicted by the “wait effect”. A good example is the murder of Kitty Genovese, in New York, who was murdered right in front of the flat she lived in. Many neighbours witnessed the murder but none intervened. The neighbours were good people with a highly developed moral spirit, and still they didn’t help. The main cause of this is the “wait effect”: The more people are present, the later someone intervenes, because they all wait for the other to do it first. Starting from this story, the subject of the debate for the next class is announced: Should witness’ lack of action be punished by law? Afterwards, the class is split and teams are made. This subject is a highly documented one, as there are already countless public debates on it, so the students will have plenty of material. For the following class, they will prepare a debate. The format of the debate will be World Schools: there will be 2 teams, each of them having 3 speakers, and each team delivering 4 speeches. 2 other students in the class will be the timekeepers, and the rest of the class will have the role of the jury. The debate will be moderated by the teacher. At the end, there will be an open discussion, not on the topic of the debate (because it has already been debated), but on the way the debate evolved, how good or bad the speeches were and how to improve them. (22’)

The debate – second week 50 minutes

  •  Read Watch Listen: The student who has moderator role expose the debate motion and the story. He also resume the debate rules (5’).
  • Discuss: First speech of PRO team: (3’)
  • Discuss: First speech of CON team: (3’)
  • Discuss: Second speech of PRO team: (3’)
  • Discuss: second speech of CON team: (3’)
  • Discuss: Third speech of PRO team: (3’)
  • Discuss: Third speech of CON team: (3’)
  •  Collaborate:  Final of debate:

The teams and the timekeeper will take a break time, out of the classroom. The professor, the jury and the moderator student will stay, will analyze the speeches and will take a decision. The professor will encourage a split decision in jury so that, at the end of 10 minutes, there will exist a majority point of view, as well as a minority point of view. As a result, there will be two ad hoc teams who will appoint a spokesperson who will state the reasons for the decision of each group of jurors. (10’)

  • Read Watch Listen: Presenting the reasons for the decision by the two spokespersons of the jury (10’)
  • Read Watch Listen: Professor will present the conclusions of the debate, emphasizing the difficulty and complexity of group processes (7’).
Assessment:

Wholistic evaluation & Feedback sandwich