Group work

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Group work is a form of cooperative learning. It aims to cater for individual differences, develop students' knowledge, generic skills (e.g. communication skills, collaborative skills, critical thinking skills) and attitudes.

Specifically in psychotherapy, "group work" refers to group therapy, offered by a practitioner trained in psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, counseling or other relevant discipline.

Social group work[edit]

Social work includes all voluntary attempts to extend benefits in response to need which are concerned with social relationships and which avails themselves of scientific knowledge and methods.

There are six techniques in social work:

  1. social case work
  2. social group work
  3. community work
  4. social welfare administration
  5. social research
  6. social action
  • social group work may defined as an educational process emphasizing the development and social adjustment of an individual through voluntary association and use of this association as a mean of furthering socially desirable end.
  • social group work aims at the development of persons through the interplay of personalities in group situation and at the creation of such group situation as provide for integrated, cooperative group action for common ends.
  • we see social group work or process and a method through which group life is affected by worker who consciously directs the interacting process towards the accomplishment of goals which are conceived in a democratic frame of reference
  • social group work is psycho social process which is concerned no less than with developing 6 leadership and cooperation than with building on the interests of the group for a social purpose.
  • it is distinct characteristics lies in the fact that group work is used with group experience as a means of individual growth and development, and that the group worker is concerned in developing social responsibility and active citizenship for the improvement of democratic society.
  • social group work is a method through which individuals in groups in social agency setting are helped by a worker who guides their interaction in programme activities so that they may relate to others and experience growth opportunities in accordance with their needs and capacities to the individual, group and community development.
  • group work is a way to serving individual within and through small face to face group in order to bring about the desired change among the client work is

Some reasons to ask students to work in groups

Small groups are good for:

1. generating a broad array of possible alternative points of view or solutions to a problem

2. giving students a chance to work on a project that is too large or complex for an individual

3. allowing students with different backgrounds to bring their special knowledge, experience, or skills to a project, and to explain their orientation to others

4. giving students a chance to teach each other

5. giving students a structured experience so they can practice skills applicable to professional situations

Encouraging Ideas

The goal is to produce as many ideas as possible in a short time without evaluating them. All ideas are carefully listened to but not commented on and are usually written on the board or large sheets of paper so everyone can see them, and so they don't get forgotten or lost. Take turns by going around the group - hear from everyone, one by one.

One specific method is to generate ideas through brainstorming. People mention ideas in any order (without others' commenting, disagreeing or asking too many questions). The advantage of brainstorming is that ideas do not become closely associated with the individuals who suggested them. This process encourages creative thinking, if it is not rushed and if all ideas are written down (and therefore, for the time-being, accepted). A disadvantage: when ideas are suggested quickly, it is more difficult for shy participants or for those who are not speaking their native language. One approach is to begin by brainstorming and then go around the group in a more structured way asking each person to add to the list.

Examples of what to say:

Why don't we take a minute or two for each of us to present our views?

Let's get all our ideas out before evaluating them. We'll clarify them before we organize or evaluate them.

We'll discuss all these ideas after we hear what everyone thinks.

You don't have to agree with her, but let her finish.

Let's spend a few more minutes to see if there are any possibilities we haven't thought of, no matter how unlikely they seem.


  • Joan Benjamin, Judith Bessant and Rob Watts. Making Groups Work: Rethinking Practice, Allen & Unwin, 1997 ISBN 1-86448-304-0

- "Working in Groups." Working in Groups. Ed. Science Center 318. Harvard, n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2015. <>.