Human service workers work in groups across all fields of practice from staff teams to social action and therapeutic groups. Students will be introduced to and experience group work theories, processes and skills. It focuses on developing a critical understanding of the use of power, knowledge and privilege in groups and the implications of this for practice.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


96 credit points of first year core ABSW units.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Review and decode theoretical and practical issues relating to the process of practice with/in groups;  
  2. Reflect and report on their experiences as group members and group leaders in a small group settings;  
  3. Discriminate between the different contexts of groupwork practice and the implications for practice;  
  4. Critique the issues of power and oppression in the group work contexts; and  
  5. Demonstrate initiative and judgement in applying foundational group facilitation skills.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Quizzes (5 x 10 minutes on-line quizzes completed in class each worth 5%) 25%
Presentation Brochure (complementary to Project, one submission per group of five students), 2 A4 sheets (1,200 word equivalent) 25%
Project Group presentation (15 min) and individual submission of presentation summary (500 words). This is a combined 2,000 word equivalent per individual. 50%
To gain a pass in this unit students must meet the attendance requirements described below, attain a minimum overall grade of 50%, attempt and submit all assessment tasks. Each assessment task covers discrete areas of knowledge and skill required for the successful completion of the social work course. Attendance requirements AASW accreditation standards require students to complete a minimum of 140 hours (20 days) face-to-face classroom-based learning, the focus of which is professional practice skills. To meet this standard, attendance in this unit is compulsory. Students attending less than 90% of classes in this unit, will be awarded a fail grade and required to repeat the unit. A minimum attendance requirement of 80% is acceptable in situations where a student has been granted special consideration for class absences.

Required reading

The following text is prescribed for the unit and will be referred to in other units and useful for professional practice.

Groupwork practice in social work 3rd ed.
Lindsay,T. & Orton, S. (2014)
Learning Matters Ltd, Sage Publications

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.