Course Title: Working with Groups (Youth Work Theory and Practice 4)

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Working with Groups (Youth Work Theory and Practice 4)

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


330H Social Science & Planning


Sem 1 2006

Course Coordinator: Kerry Montero

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3970

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 22.4.6

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

First Year Youth Work courses:

Course Description

In the second year of the Bachelor of Social Science (Youth Work) there is an emphasis on gaining a critical understanding of group work theory and practice. This course will introduce group work as a key skill for working with young people. The course will provide conceptual frameworks for working with groups and demonstrate how these may be applied in practice, and how they relate to the work environment. Students will be introduced to core group work theory and to a variety of modes of group work as a foundation for practice.
This course forms part of the ‘vocational core’ of the Youth Work course. It is closely linked with 2nd Year Field Experience which has an emphasis on group work with young people.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The course will produce outcomes identified in the generic graduate capabilities 1, 2, 3 and
4. It also provides learning activities designed to realize youth work specific graduate
capabilities 1, 2, 3 :-

1. Knowledge of the various historical and contemporary interventions made into the lives of young people.

2. Appropriate youth-work practice knowledge and skills grounded in an ability to reflect on your own actions in a variety of contemporary sites and modes. This requires an ability to:
• Identify and describe the main features of official and expert discourses and social science narratives that characterize childhood and analyze and reflect critically on the relationship between those accounts and specific interventions into young people’s lives;
• Identify and describe the key social and theoretical influences that inform youth-related practices and policies, and critically reflect on those influences and practice.
• Identify and describe alternative accounts of young people’s own experiences by acknowledging the diversity of cultural expressions.

3. An ability to describe and practice good youth-work in the light of key ethical ideas about justice, equity, respect and democratic citizenship. This requires:
• a capacity to analyze and reflect critically on your own practice and identify what it means to take responsibility for your own conduct,
• being able to identify and analyze the wide range of ethical ideas and issues raised when researching young people,
• identifying and analyzing the tensions between universal human rights discourses and parochial or culturally specific rights
• the identification and development of what it means to be confident and optimistic about young people and how to express a commitment to improving young people’s well-being and their moral and legal status.
• Identify and practice the skills relevant to advocacy for/with young people.

After successfully completing the course, students will:
• Be self-reflective and understand how their personal perceptions, assumptions and behavior impact on the functioning of groups
• Understand main concepts of group processes and frameworks and apply these to work with young people
• Have a practical base in group work
• Increase confidence in working with large and smaller groups
• Undertake basic planning and evaluation of group processes
• Utilise resources and people (eg, supervisors, colleagues) to develop and enhance skills
• Critically reflect on your own skills, and acknowledge strengths.
• Become a reflective practitioner and lifelong learner.
• Be prepared to undertake second year fieldwork.

Overview of Learning Activities

A range of approaches will be used to help students learn the elements of group work.
Weeks 1 to 10 consists of two parts.
• In part A the class meets as one group. The first part of classes are taken in the whole group, and area more lecturer directed. Lecturers will outline frameworks and theoretical concepts, and use an interactive group process to support and sustain the theory.
• In part B small experiential groups meet. These are progressively run more by the students. Learning activities within small groups are structured by students to illustrate particular aspects of group dynamics. Students will be given the opportunity to learn the skills of group facilitation by facilitating a small group session to their peers
• Part C is a two day intensive workshop of group activities. This is designed by a representative working group of students, with support from a staff member. The workshop involves student groups undertaking developmental activities with the large group of students.

Overview of Learning Resources

Recommended reference
Johnson and Johnson (2004) Joining Together (copies available in the RMIT Bookshop)

The library has extensive resources under all topic areas covered. Students are expected to extensively utilise the library resources

Overview of Assessment

1. Student facilitation
20% of grade
Student facilitation will take place weekly in the small working groups. This will normally be for half an hour. Students are required to submit a 1000 word assignment which will consist of the plan of the facilitation, a copy of any activity sheets, a summary of the feedback and a personal reflection of what was learnt from the facilitation. This assignment is to be handed in the week following the facilitation exercise. Students will receive feedback on their facilitation and report prior to the end of semester, to assist them in their preparation of their essay. Students are expected to keep a journal throughout the semester, which they will refer to in their facilitation write-up.

Due date: one week after facilitation.

2. Activities on the intensive workshop (30% of grade)
In groups of 5-6, students will take responsibility for planning and conducting a session (approximately 30 minutes) for the large group (approximately 50 students). The session will address a designated group work theme or topic. Students will be assessed on their:
Team work
Logical planning
Ability to involve group members in the whole process
Clear instructions to the whole group
Time management
Feedback process and ability to debrief group where appropriate.

2. Essay: 2,000 – 2,500 words (maximum) (50% of grade)
The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate your capacity to observe, reflect upon and analyse aspects of development of your small group. Particularly we are interested in your own role as a participant and facilitator of the group. In undertaking this written task there is a range of topics you could explore, including:
 What was your framework (theoretical perspective) in facilitating the small group session?
 What stage of development was reached in the small group? What evidence supports this?
 What was your leadership style/s? Provide evidence.
 How did group dynamics, such as trust, power, supportive relationships, communication, conflict etc manifest and develop in the group?
 An analysis of your personal role and intervention in the small tutorial groups.

Include a personal evaluation of your group work skill development to date including your level of learning and future agendas for further skill development.

If it assists your analysis you may compare the experience in your tutorial group with another group of which you are a member, for example, the planning group for the intensive weekend or community/ field education youth group.

You will be unable to complete this assignment unless you keep a professional journal; the journal will include your reflections on your learning in the course and notes from any activities, learning tools and lecture content, from both the large group lecture and small group.

You are required to demonstrate that you have an understanding of the theoretical material (references) that inform group practice.