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Social Work Practice with Groups and Communities

Course Code: SOWK 2422
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Department: Social Work
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

Students will acquire knowledge of the theoretical foundations and practice skills for working with a wide range of groups and communities in social work practice. Students will explore group dynamics and gain skills that will enable them to be effective leaders and participants in groups. Models that promote empowerment, mutual aid, and self-awareness will be explored. Students will have the opportunity to explore and apply the skills of group design, participation, intercultural skills, and facilitation. Strategies for identifying and overcoming obstacles that commonly arise in groups will be examined.

Course Content

Course content will be guided by research, empirical knowledge and best practice. The following values and principles, consistent with professional standards, inform course content.

  • The application of group work knowledge is essential in all areas of the social work profession, including community organization and development, clinical practice, and committee and team work in policy-making and administrative contexts.
  • Self-awareness is a 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.
  • Use of social media and web-based communication tools to develop, recruit and facilitate group process and content are important tools for social workers.
  • Effective group leaders and members are versatile and able to use a wide range of skills in response to individual and situational variables.
  • Effective group leadership requires a balance of task and maintenance activity.
  • All participants in a group have an opportunity and a responsibility to contribute to positive group outcomes.

Methods of Instruction

Group discussion
Small group practice
Experiential learning.

Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. Typical means of assessment may include some or all of the following:

  • Written papers
  • Exams
  • Presentations (individual or group).

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to: 

1. Identify and describe situations and settings where group skills are needed

  • Describe different types of social work groups with clients and communities and their purpose (e.g., activity, information based, psycho-educational, treatment, social action),
  • Describe types of collegial work group methods (e.g., team meetings, case conferences, community meetings);

2. Apply group theory including group dynamics and the stages of group development to case examples and experiential group activities;

3. Demonstrate a range of skills to work effectively as a participant or leader of a group;

4. Describe issues and skills related to facilitating and working in intercultural groups;

5. Describe and employ strategies to manage obstacles to successful group processes and outcomes;

6. Identify strategies and tools for evaluation of group effectiveness;

7. Describe options for effective group and community practice with immigrant and refugee groups;

8. Describe methods of collaboration and versatility in work with community colleagues and partners.

course prerequisites

SOWK 2122




YJWD 2300

CSSW 1222

CYCC 2320

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.