Author Spotlight - Building Champions: A Small Group Counseling Curriculum for Boys

Author Spotlight - Building Champions: A Small Group Counseling Curriculum for Boys

Carol Miller, certified counselor and author of Building Champions: A Small Group Counseling Curriculum for Boys, discusses why she wrote the book and how she works with boys in small groups.

Why did you decide to write a boy’s group curriculum?

I decided to write Building Champions because I ran several groups with boys in my school counseling program and felt there was a need for material specifically devoted to boys. Having gender-based groups allows students to freely express themselves in front of their peers as well as take the risk of trying new things without fear of ridicule. When I started my first boys’ group, I searched for material that would be both relevant and fun. I couldn’t find anything that suited my needs. There were few programs designed specifically for boys. Boys, particularly middle school boys, have lots of energy and sometimes few words. They need lessons that get them up and moving and offer hands-on learning experiences. After running my boys’ group, I was able to develop the Building Champions curriculum.

Have you collected data on your groups, and if so what were the results?

I do collect data. I typically use behavioral referrals, since most of my students get in trouble in class and are referred to me. I keep track of the frequency and type of behavioral infraction before the group, during group, and after the group. The incidence of infractions always decreases. In addition, I send out parent surveys and teacher surveys to see if they have noticed changes. The surveys have showed positive results. The book includes assessment surveys and evaluations in the Appendix.

How do you select your participants?

I select my group members using a combination of behavioral data, teacher recommendations, and self-referrals. In addition, I might invite a student or two to join as well, so that I have a balance of leaders and those needing to build leadership skills. I interview my members before the group to make sure that they are committed to working in the group and being an active participant.

How many groups do you run a year?

I run four different boys’ groups each year using the Building Champions curriculum. I try to run a separate group for each grade level in my middle school. The book includes alternative lessons, so if I have the same kids for two years in a row, I rotate the lessons and choose an different option to give them something new. I keep a notebook of which lessons I use with each group to keep me organized.

What’s your favorite lesson?

I think my favorite lesson is “Becoming A Leader,” Option 2 from Lesson 5. In this lesson, pictures from Handout 5.3 are hung up around the room, and the boys are asked to find a partner, examine each picture, and determine what leadership message each picture is trying to convey. I love watching the boys move around the room and seriously examine each picture to figure out the leadership message. Their answers are always insightful, and sometimes I learn as much from them, as they do from me.

For additional information about author Carol Miller, visit her author page.