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Advice for teachers -

​Unit 2 - Area of Study 2: How are people influenced to behave in particular ways?​

​Outcome 2

Examples of learning activities

Identify factors that influence individuals to behave in specific ways, and analyse ways in which others can influence individuals to behave differently.

  • ​create a visual presentation to identify factors that contribute to attitude change, for example reduction in prejudice
  • obtain a marketing survey and evaluate how it attempts to measure attitudes
  • analyse a series of opinion polls published in the major metropolitan newspapers; consider how quantitative and qualitative data is used to support the purpose of the survey and consider the validity of the conclusions drawn from such data
  • select a media article which presents a particular viewpoint on a current issue; construct a graphic organiser which identifies possible social factors which may have contributed to the attitudes evident in the article
  • visit the Dax Collection (Kenneth Myer Building, Royal Parade to investigate attitudes and stigma
  • design, conduct and report on an investigation related to the prevalence of stereotypes associated with gender or culture (for example, leisure interests, food preferences)
  • as a class, develop and administer a 20-item survey that attempts to measure attitudes on a class-determined issue; report on the results of the survey, including a summary of how survey items were developed, selected and edited, and a survey conclusion
  • provide examples of surveys where it would be more appropriate to use each of the following types of survey items: Likert-type scales, dichotomous or ordinal questions
  • view The Angry Eye with Jane Elliot (seminars on racial prejudice, 2001, 51 min, Video Education Australasia); or view Australian Blue Eyed (2001) to demonstrate the power of social influence and factors which contribute to prejudice
  • view episodes of Go back to where you came from (SBS television) to, consider the role that person perception, attributions, attitudes and stereotypes may have in the development of prejudice and discrimination; alternatively, consider the influence that a series such as Go back to where you came from may have on individual and group behaviour and the role that strategies such as cognitive interventions can play in changing individual attitudes and behaviours
  • examine the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act (2010)​ to consider what the act says in terms of prejudice and discrimination; identify the societal attitudes that are reflected in the document; look at an older version of the act (for example, Equal Opportunity Act (1995) and identify any changes in attitudes between these documents
  • take a virtual tour of the Stanford Prison Experiment website, which features an extensive slideshow and information about this classic psychology experiment. Discuss the ethics of the study
  • search the internet to investigate the Kitty Genovese case in relation to the bystander effect and diffusion of responsibility (also available on PsychNow CD-ROM)
  • research Stanley Milgram on the internet and summarise the ethical issues highlighted by his research
  • research Solomon Asch on the internet and summarise the effect of group size on the tendency to conform
  • use media articles on global politics to identify sources of power in terms of legitimate, reward, coercive, expert, information and referent power
  • design, conduct and report on an investigation to explore the relationship between group size and social loafing in the context of meetings; the report should include commentary on the difficulties associated with judging social loafing
  • design, conduct and report on an investigation into the influences of helping behaviour
  • view the film Remember the Titans (2000); examine factors which contribute to the development of prejudice, and the factors which may help to reduce prejudice and discrimination
  • view the film Coach Carter (2005); consider the attitudes displayed by key characters in terms of the tri-component model of attitudes as well as the role person perception, attributions, attitudes and stereotypes played in the key events that occurred within the film​​
  • Example icon for advice for teachers
    use project-based learning to address an issue relating to prejudice, discrimination, bullying and negative influences of media
  • ​​​​develop a Likert-type scale and administer it to a range of age groups to investigate and report on the relationship between prejudice and age
  • use a spreadsheet application or a graphics calculator to create scatterplots of age and attitude scores to investigate variations in prejudice with age
  • develop and administer a Likert-type scale to investigate and report on gender differences in attitudes to an issue raised in the media
  • in groups investigate a selected issue relating to either prejudice, discrimination, bullying, advertising, television, video games or social media; each member of the group contributes a nominated newspaper item related to the issue; the group presents the issue in a form for an e-newsletter, for example a letter to the editor, a report on solutions to the issue, survey results from a public opinion poll related to an aspect of the issue, a cartoon based on the issue, interviews with stakeholders; create a class e-newsletter from all the presentations
  • as a whole class, explore a single, local issue related to prejudice and discrimination through a Q&A panel role-play; communicate responses orally (as a nominated stakeholder) and in written form (from a different stakeholder perspective to that presented in the oral communication)
  • collect media articles on issues of prejudice and discrimination (for example, age, gender, race, culture, sexuality, pregnancy/breastfeeding); examine what Victorian/Australian law states in relation to these areas; consider the language and images (if any) used in the article and discuss how the media article has been designed to influence individual or group behaviour
  • working in groups of four, select and analyse one program designed to help deal with bullying either at school or in the workforce; present this to the class in the form of a role-play to show how the program would work and to explain the psychological basis of the expected effectiveness of the program; programs might include: ‘Bully Stoppers’  or ‘Bullying. No Way!’
  • d​ivide the class into teams to research a different media influence on individual and group behaviour; each team should create a multimedia presentation and report findings to the class
  • consider the influence advertising and marketing has on eating behaviours in young children
  • consider the influence that media, including the nature and prevalence of advertising material, has on gambling behaviour
Example icon for advice for teachers 

Detailed example

Project-based learning to explore an issue relating to prejudice, discrimination, bullying and the negative influences of media 


To use a Project Based Learning (PBL) approach to investigate research questions relating to prejudice, discrimination, bullying and the negative influence of media.


Students work in small groups to undertake an in-depth inquiry into one question relating to prejudice, discrimination, bullying and negative influences of media, and create, compose or produce a product for an authentic audience.

Teaching notes:

This detailed example draws on the principles of PBL developed by the Buck Institute for Education (

A PBL approach begins with an open-ended question, which is ideally provocative and engaging so that it captures students’ interest. Students investigate this question and brainstorm possible solutions, learning relevant content during the process. They then apply their learning in creative ways to produce, demonstrate or perform something, advocate for a policy or solution, or teach something to others, practising their communication skills in the process.

Each student-centred project is broken down into three main stages, which can overlap in time frame:

  • inquire/discover/research
  • create/compose/produce
  • present/share/promote

Overall four questions relating to prejudice, discrimination, bullying and negative influences of the media are required for investigation. Teachers may provide these questions or develop these questions in conjunction with their students.

A manageable way to tackle this task may be:

  • determine the four questions to be investigated as a class
  • student groups to share their groups’ learning with their class peers
  • students to complete a ‘compare and contrast matrix’ for the four selected issues that addresses the following categories: factors that influence the behaviour involved, individual and community stakeholders involved, effect on individual and group behaviour, possible products and/or solutions.

Assessment can include self- and peer-assessment questionnaires and a compare and contrast matrix. In this way the contribution of each student within any group is accounted for.

Approximate time frames are proposed for each stage.

Science skills:

Teachers should identify and inform students of the relevant key science skills embedded in the task.


  • Students may need assistance in deconstructing the investigation question.
  • Students should be able to develop and administer surveys. This may have previously been covered in class, or teachers may use this problem-based learning activity to develop these skills. Teachers should check survey items to ensure their appropriateness prior to the survey being publicly distributed. Teachers should work with students to:
    1. identify the style of items in their survey that will best answer the research question (for example Likert-type scales, dichotomous or ordinal questions)
    2. develop items to be included in the survey that will best answer the research question
    3. develop standardised procedures under which the survey will be administered
    4. take into account relevant ethical principles including informed consent, voluntary participation, withdrawal rights, confidentiality and debriefing
    5. determine the number of survey respondents required (for example, five respondents per student).
  • ​​Teachers could also discuss the necessary skills required to work well in a group, including perseverance and a positive attitude.

Health and safety notes:

There are no specific health and safety concerns associated with this activity.


Stage 1: inquire/discover/research

Lesson 1 plus some out-of-class time. Students:

  • Choose an investigation question (IQ) that interests them personally – ideally they make their personal interest in it explicit by recording initial ideas in the logbook.
  • Form teams of three to four people with some interest in the same IQ. The teacher may facilitate this.
  • As a team, brainstorm what they do know and do not know about the problem/investigation question. What specific questions do they need to investigate further? Each student should keep evidence of the process in their logbooks.
  • Consider how the IQ affects different people and places – research, identify and describe relevant individuals, stakeholders and community groups. What specific questions do they need to investigate further? Students need to keep evidence of the process in the logbooks and also keep a record of where they sourced the information in case they need to return to it later.

Lesson 2 plus some out-of-class time. Students:

  • Review the selected IQ and reframe/rewrite it if necessary to include specific parameters (such as particular places, stakeholders, countries etc.).
  • Nominate valid sources, such as agencies, organisations or professionals in the field, who might be able to supply information to help them answer the specific questions they identified that require further investigation.
  • Collect as much information as possible on the IQ by dividing up these tasks to individuals within their group. Remember to agree on a timeline for completion. This might include using methods such as: online/library research; surveys; interviews; photo and video documentation; experimental data; and meeting with a variety of experts with different viewpoints. As students research, it is critical they collect sufficient information that allows them to explain arguments for and against different stakeholders’ points of view. Each student should keep and share a careful log of their research – dates, times, sources, observations, summaries etc.

Lesson 3. Students:

  • As a group analyse the evidence collated during their field studies and create charts, graphs and other visual representations to understand their findings.

Stage 2: create/compose/produce

Lesson 4 plus some out-of-class time. Students:

  • Based on their research, ask what specific product/solution they would like to create that addresses the IQ. Their task is to make public a strong, convincing argument to a real/authentic audience. Does the group want to design a website, plan a community event, improve an existing project/program, initiate an action-oriented campaign, make a persuasive presentation to relevant stakeholders? Or something else?
  • Identify all the steps required to make this stage happen.
  • Make contact with their real/authentic audience and present to them a very brief description of the intended product/solution and the rationales for the inquiry into the IQ. Students keep evidence of their contact in the logbooks.

Lesson 5 plus some out of class time. Students:

  • Create the product/solution and collect evidence of the process.

Stage 3: present/share/promote

Lesson 6 plus some out of class time. Students:

  • Present the product/solution to class peers for initial review. The randomly selected class peers will complete an assessment questionnaire (based on criteria in a provided assessment rubric). Complete self- and team peer-assessment questionnaires.
  • Deliver the product/solution to the real/authentic audience. Collect evidence of the process. Randomly selected audience members complete assessment questionnaires.

Lesson 7

Students complete a written ‘compare and contrast matrix’ for the selected question that addresses the following categories: factors that influence the behaviour involved, individual and community stakeholders involved, effect on individual and group behaviour, possible products and/or solutions.​