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 presented for examination and application to practice with groups.
The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:
- Self-awareness regarding one’s personal style, values, effect on others, skills, and learning from past experiences, are essential prerequisites for skilled leadership and participation in groups.
- Group work is a powerful medium for growth, change, learning or task accomplishment. Groups are of many types, for examples: counselling, self-help, therapy, growth, discussion, teaching, mutual support, work teams, task, social, and ad hoc.
- Groups are effective for accomplishing tasks. Understanding group dynamics and mastering group skills 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 and for application to everyday life. Group work differs in that participants must be simultaneously concerned with individuals in the group as well as the group as an entity.
- Technical skill is necessary but insufficient in itself for competent practice. Technical proficiency must be balanced with a caring attitude, acceptance of a wide range of behaviour and cultures, and respect for the rights of others including their right to self-determination.
- Effective group leaders and members are versatile and continuously work to mature a wide range of skills that can be used depending on unique individual, situational and cultural variables. Effective participants have more options for interpersonal problem solving.
- Effective group leaders know how, when and why a given skill is used, and they have theassertiveness to use it when appropriate.
- Groups are effective to the extent that:
- they have clearly defined purpose
- a climate of trust and safety to take risks is established
- members successfully negotiate a working relationship of mutual aid or support
- tolerance for conflict and a means to resole it are created
- individual/group needs are met
- leaders and members have a variety of strategies and structures for problem solving
- Group activity involves a quest for equilibrium between task-centred work and work to strengthen the effectiveness of the group. Such equilibrium does not require equality of group energy or time, but appropriate attention to the needs of each. Groups are successful to the extent that these activities are balanced.
- Groups are dynamic; they grow and change over time. Groups tend to evolve through a number of phases (planning, beginning, work, ending). Each phase involves common as well as unique tasks and worker skills and the phases are developmental, with success at one phase dependent in part on success at previous phases. A knowledge of phase theory allows practitioners to both anticipate and to facilitate change and development.
Means of Assessment
This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations.
Typical means of evaluation will include a combination of written research assignments, case evaluation, testing, and group presentations. This is a Graded Course.