When conducting groups, there are a variety of aspects that go into conducting a successful group. According to Sink, Edward, & Eppler (2012), there are four phases in which school based groups form, which include the formation phase, implementation, evaluation, and follow-up phases. The formation stage appears to be the most important phase, as it entails all the pre-group planning that takes place. Pre-group planning activities may consist of conducting a needs assessment that is given to teachers and students. This allows school counselor to gain an understanding of the needs of the population that is being served. Once an identified group is selected, developing the group and what the goals will be is a main component (Sink, Edwards, & Eppler, 2012). The theme of the group should reflect he results of the needs assessment that was given. Also determining how many students will be in the group, where it will take place, keeping teachers involved, and the time of the group are important aspects in the pre-planning stage. Also getting all the material needed for the group, such as papers, markers, chairs, etc. is important. Furthermore, creating a consent form and discussing it with parents will be a component that is also important. All steps are essential when preparing for a group, to help prepare for when the implementation stage begins. By making sure that all the steps are completed, you are ensuring that you are prepared to help the students meet their goals.
Cultural competence is vital when providing groups within the school. Important issues include racial identity development, developmental perspectives, group member or leader cultural differences, English-language learners, and first generation students (Sink, Edward, & Eppler, 2012). Cultural differences among populations could pose challenges for school group planning. According to Sink, Edward, & Eppler (2012), group leaders should be aware that at times racial and ethnic minorities may become scapegoats in the group counseling experience. Although school counselors facilitating groups may value the diversity of the group, some students may not share the same attitude. Pre-group interviews allow counselors to determine a student’s sensitivity to diverse groups (Sink, Edward, & Eppler, 2012). School counselors should be active in the screening process when there is a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds to ensure that group members are appropriate. Additionally, school counselors should consider concepts of time, commitment to schedules, level of emotional expressiveness, and communication styles when facilitating diverse groups.
Sink, C. A., Edwards, C., & Eppler, C. (2012). School based group counseling. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.