SSW201 - Group Dynamics for Social Service Professionals

Outline info
Last revision date 2017-05-29 00:27:37.999
Last review date 2017-07-17 00:15:11.623

Subject Title
Group Dynamics for Social Service Professionals

Subject Description
This is an experiential course that will provide an introduction to the theoretical concepts necessary for understanding small groups in a social services context, the practical skills needed for being an effective group participant, and an introduction to group planning and facilitation skills.

Credit Status
One credit in the Social Service Worker Diploma program.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate, in the classroom/group work context, effective group participation, skills in active listening, giving and receiving feedback, and introductory group facilitation skills
  • Link the study of group process/dynamics to self-reflection and the importance of ongoing self-reflection in professional practice
  • Understand the relevance and transformative potential of group work in social services
  • Explain some of the applications of theoretical group work concepts and ideologies in student consultation discussion groups, observation sheets and weekly journal entries.
  • Identify, through a written self-evaluation, their own participation and leadership strengths and challenges for further development

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

All Module One courses.

Topic Outline

  1. Group Dimension
  2. Group Development
  3. Leadership & Group Roles
  4. Power in Groups
  5. Introduction to Facilitation, Planning Groups & Debriefing
  6. Decision-Making from a Shared Understanding
  7. Facilitation & Professional Practice Considerations

Mode of Instruction
The course will consist of assigned readings, lectures, group discussions, and experiential exercises.

Prescribed Texts
McKinlay, L. & Ross, H. (2008). You and Others: Reflective Practice for Group Effectiveness in Human Services. Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada Inc. ISBN-13: 978-0205465149

Reference Material
Valentino, E. (2013) Handle with Care: Communicating in the Human Services Field in Canada. Nelson Education: Toronto, ON, Publisher: Nelson College Indigenous; 5 edition (Feb. 23 2012) - ISBN-13: 978-0176504397

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation
Term Work and Final Examination Requirements:

Students must attain a grade of at least 50% to pass the course.

If you are unable to complete the Final Exam/Assignment in this subject, you must provide documentation to support the absence to the instructor within one week.  If necessary, this information will be presented at the promotion meeting for consideration in determining and recommending the final grade.


All term work assignments must be completed prior to the time of the final examination. Unless students have been granted an extension in advance, late assignments will be penalized accordingly. There is no provision for rewriting late assignments, regardless of the grade awarded.  Students must contact faculty in advance of due date to discuss extensions.

All assignments must be correctly documented using APA – and follow the criteria established by the instructor, unless otherwise noted.

If an assignment is missed due to class absence, any official documentation that might be grounds for arranging a make-up opportunity must be submitted to the faculty member on or before the next scheduled class.  Make-up opportunities do not apply to all graded assignments.


Test and Exam dates have been pre-arranged and are non-negotiable.  If a test/exam is missed, the student must provide official documentation to support the reason for the absence within one week to the instructor.  Make-up tests or exams will be granted for extenuating circumstances only and at the discretion of the faculty.

For further information on evaluation and academic standing, please refer to the Seneca College Academic Policy

Grading is based on the following marking scheme:

Presentations 30%
Reflective Journal Assignment 25%
Mid Term 15%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

Student Success:
Please come prepared to participate in class.  Make sure you bring your course text to each class, participate in class discussions, hand in any assigned work on time and attend each and every class.  Following these suggestions will increase your chances of success.


Approved by: Sandra Noble