A sociometric approach to university teaching—creating group cohesion and a safe learning climate with action methods
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSkar, S., Flagstad, I. (2022). A sociometric approach to university teaching. Z Psychodrama Soziom 21 (Suppl 1), 77–93 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11620-021-00646-5 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11620-021-00646-5
The purpose of this article is to explore a sociometric approach to university teaching based on evaluations from students. There are some studies of the application of action methods in university settings focused on teaching skills (see for instance Maya & Maraver, 2020); however, to our knowledge, there are no studies of sociometric approaches to promote group cohesion (GC) and a safe learning climate (SLC) in higher education. To help bridge this knowledge gap, this paper will review the relevant literature and examine evaluations from university students to explore how sociometric techniques may help establish new social connections, and promote self-disclosure, trust, and cohesion. Participants reported that the action methods provided clear structure and frames, which empowered them to stretch their comfort zone but also sparked the formation of numerous new relationships—which some called ‘speed-friendshipping’. Participants experienced increased GC and a feeling of safety regarding future lecture situations. Some participants experienced challenges related to the sociometric exercises, such as too much play and ‘drama activities’. The overall aim of this article is to broaden our understanding of how a sociometric approach may contribute to promote social relationships, GC and facilitate the establishment of an SLC.