Curriculum Guideline

Working with Groups

Effective Date:
Course Code
CSSW 1222
Working with Groups
Community Social Service Work
Applied Community Studies
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
60 hours: Lecture
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction
  • Lecture
  • Practice
  • Small group work
Course Description
This course is designed to assist students to develop their understanding of group dynamics and to gain skills that will enable them to be more effective leaders and participants in groups. Students will have the opportunity to explore and apply the skills of group participation, design and facilitation. Models that promote empowerment, mutual aid, and self-awareness will be explored. Strategies for identifying and overcoming obstacles that commonly arise in groups will be examined. Evaluation of group outcomes will be discussed.
Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  • Self-awareness is an essential prerequisite for skilled leadership and participation in groups.
  • Group work is a powerful medium for growth, change, learning, and task accomplishment.
  • Understanding group dynamics allows practitioners greater choice, control and flexibility in their work.
  • Effective communication, counselling, consultation, and problem solving skills that are relevant to work with individuals are also relevant for work with groups.
  • Effective group leaders and members are versatile and able to use a wide range of skills depending on unique individual and situational variables.
  • Effective group leadership requires a balance of task and maintenance activity.
  • Successful groups will have successful leaders.
  • All participants in the group have an opportunity and a responsibility to positively impact group outcome.
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, within the following content areas the student will be able to:

  1. Group Work in the Social Service Field
    • identify types of groups
    • describe the advantages, disadvantages and risks of groups
    • identify critical considerations for planning groups
    • identify variables associated with effective groups
  2. Group Dynamics
    • identify and describe group dynamics
    • identify the phases of group development
    • describe essential skills and tasks for each phase of development
  3. Application of Communication/Helping Skills in Social Service Settings
    • demonstrate a range of communication skills for use in groups
  4. Group Leadership in Social Service Settings
    • describe leadership styles
    • identify advantages and disadvantages of different styles
    • examine personal leadership style
    • demonstrate an ability to lead and evaluate groups
  5. Obstacles to Group Functioning
    • describe the characteristics of effective and ineffective groups
    • demonstrate strategies for handling group obstacles
Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. Typical means of evaluation would include a combination of:

  • Examination
  • Collaborative learning
  • Research paper
  • Participation
  • Attendance

This is a letter graded course

Textbook Materials