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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Social ethics forum

Image above: Map of Same-sex laws in the US.

The address for the Socialsense blog
The Thebarton Senior College Moodle

Contact Malcolm at

Social ethics topic chosen

The class has decided that the social ethics topic is to be same-sex marriage. You may have heard the news that the same-sex marriage Bill is going to parliament today and will be debated over coming months. Now that we have decided on this topic for our Forum I suggest that you should be reading everything you can find on the topic. Maybe tomorrow, considering we do not have class you can research the topic so that you come to class next Monday with a bit of an idea as I get you to meet for the first time in your political groups.

The groups are:
Radicals (Rad-i-cool))
Sam, Dion, Kira, Brooklyn, Matt, Tayla, Nikol and Hass (8)
Moderates (name please)
George, Amina, Sandra, Krystal, Josh (5)
Conservatives ( )
Abdul, Jacky, Lauriane, Maria, Sang, Narad and Osman (7)

You will notice we have a 'hung parliament'. The Moderates need to discuss which side they will support ...or splinter as a group!

Attached is the assignment sheet for the Ethics Forum on Same-sex marriage

Firtly let us clarify:

 What is marriage?
Marriage is a unique legal status conferred by and recognized by governments the world over. It brings with it a host of reciprocal obligations, rights, and protections. Yet it is more than the sum of its legal parts. It is also a cultural institution. The word itself is a fundamental protection, conveying clearly that you and your life partner love each other, are united and belong by each other’s side. It represents the ultimate expression of love and commitment between two people and everyone understands that. No other word has that power, and no other word can provide that protection.

What is a civil union?
A civil union is a legal status created by the state of Vermont in 2000 and subsequently by the states of Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Illinois, Delaware and Hawaii. It provides legal protection to couples at the state law level, but omits federal protections as well as the dignity, clarity, security and power of the word “marriage.”

Here is some more listening and reading for you to start looking at the issue:



Monday, June 17, 2013

Groups grow and die!

The address for the Socialsense blog
The Thebarton Senior College Moodle

Contact Malcolm at

It is often said that groups are like a living thing, involving the stages of birth, youth, developing adult qualities, aged accomplishent and termination. To further this analogy, the stages of group development have been created for members to identify where their group is at and how it is developing. These stages are not compulsory for a group and often a stage is skipped or is reverted to. The progress of a group through the stages can be impacted upon by changes to the group, change of conditions, modifications to expectations, accelerating, stagnating or reversing the group. What is for sure, all groups have a birth and a termination, whether they rebel and or mature is up to context and situation.

Here are the stages:

1. Forming and dependency

Members first get together during this stage. Individually, they are considering questions like, “What am I here for?”, “Who else is here?” and “Who am I comfortable with?” It is important for members to get involved with each other, including introducing themselves to each other. Clear and strong leadership is required from the team leader during this stage to ensure the group members feel the clarity and comfort required to evolve to the next stage. This is often called the stage of dependency ... on the leader.

2. Storming and rebellion

During this stage, members are beginning to voice their individual differences, join with others who share the same beliefs, and jockey for position in the group. The group should help members to voice their views, and to achieve consensus (or commonality of views) about their purpose and priorities. This stage is often called the stage of rebellion and is identified in a group by members of the group challenging the leader or the general behaviour in the group.

3. Norming

In this stage, members are beginning to share a common commitment to the purpose of the group, including to its overall goals and how each of the goals can be achieved. The group should focus on continuing to clarify the roles and behaviour of each member, and a clear and workable structure and process for the group to achieve its goals. This is the stage of creating norms and ways of operating for the group.

4. Performing autonomy

In this stage, the group is working effectively and efficiently toward achieving its goals. During this stage, the style of leadership is barely evident from an individual, as members take on stronger participation and involvement in the group process – shared leadership. This stage is often called the stage of autonomy and co-dependency where the members of the group are dependent on each other and do not require a leader to control them. The cooperative coherence of the group means that everyone gets along and contributes so that they do not let down the group. This is the productive stage of the group where the group fulfils its aims and goals.

5. Termination – Celebration or sadness

At this stage, the group finishes. Groups approach this stage in different ways. Sometimes termination is associated with celebration and partying. Other times this stage is associated with sadness and commiseration. Other times it just happens and people unemotionally walk away from the group. It depends on the situation, purpose and participants as to which one of the termination scenarios occurs. It really depends if the group is a primary or secondary group in nature.

How did your group develop in accordance with these stages?

Determinants of autonomy goal.

Whether a group moves through all the stages to autonomy depends on the group context. Some groups cannot reach autonomy because they rely on a leader as part of an organsiation i.e. an army group. Other groups are designed to give power to the group members and make the leader redundant as quickly as possible i.e. a group arranging a formal.

Primary and secondary groups

A primary group is a group where individuals have significant emotional attachment and/or dependency i.e. a family. A secondary group is a group where there is little or no emotional attachment and the group fulfils a basically functional role for the individaul i.e. a class at school. However this division can be vague because a dysfunctional family may be a secondary group in many ways and a class could be very important to an individual and take on a primary role. As with much of this group dynamics theory the classifications of roles, stages, types and behaviour are only generalisations and exceptions can always be seen, depending on the individuals involved, changes over time to the composition of the group and the overall context for the gorup.