The information and strategies in this book will support educators, group facilitators, and community organizers—or just about anyone working with groups of people—in developing the necessary skills to facilitate groups. This book offers fun and insightful techniques and resources.
While small-group work is the most time-efficient and functional way of developing non-cognitive competencies, direct instruction in teaching facilitation skills for those leading these groups is also necessary. Intention, purpose, thought, structure, and lesson planning are essential components to initiate a meaningful group experience.
In an effectively led group, the participants will begin to learn from their experiences, and the facilitator’s role shifts to the observation of the process as the participants use their newly acquired behaviors. However, groups are only as effective as the facilitator’s skills. The focus of this book is to guide the facilitator on how to lead engaging activities that will be applicable in everyday life for the participants.
Create Connections: How to Facilitate Small Groups is designed to help school counselors, therapists and psychologists explore, in detail:
- Group facilitator skills
- Member dynamics
- Thought-provoking initiatives within the included lesson plans
People commonly assume that creating, developing and implementing a group is an easy task of simply convening a collection of like-minded individuals together. Rather than haphazard group development, we suggest a structured, intentional and purposeful group selection and process.
In Create Connections, a series of curriculum activities are provided. The progression of these activities is intentional, moving from low-risk to more in-depth topics. This book is designed to help make the group-development process both enjoyable and productive. The more one front-loads the planning process, the easier it will be to create connections in your group.
Shown below is an episode of the Prosocially Yours, a podcast produced by Research Press. In this episode, host Elizabeth Hess interviews the co-authors Dr. Rhonda Williams and Sameen Noorulamin DeBardof about their book Create Connections to learn more about how to create small groups that will meet group leader goals.
“Create Connections provides innovative, thoughtful, and engaging group strategies that practitioners can use to support the social emotional learning of our nation’s youth. Dr. Williams and her colleagues have gifted us with practical activities that can positively shift children’s perspectives of themselves and others to create a culture of kindness that can change a school community.”
—Cory Notestine, MA, Executive Director of Student Success and Wellness, Colorado Springs School District 11 and 2015 ASCA National School Counselor of the Year
“Regardless if you are a seasoned school counselor or a newbie, Create Connections: How to Facilitate Small Groups, is a wonderful resource when you need an outline for running small groups. I have used the lessons with all different age groups and all my students love it! The curriculum is extremely engaging and the debrief questions encourage meaningful conversations. Kids love learning from each other and through activities. Dr. Williams has mastered the art of teaching us all how to create an environment where our students can do both.”
—Sarah Clapham, 8th Grade Counselor, Russell Middle School
“Oftentimes, publications that focus on group work tend to be psychotherapeutically oriented. Create Connections: How to Facilitate Small Groups has a much broader reach and greater appeal to school and community-based professionals who seek both the theory and the practice to effectively facilitate groups. The text offers excellent examples of both small group interventions and activities to create successful experiences for the participants. Both new and experienced educators and counselors and can benefit from the many suggestions and idea woven throughout the chapters to develop quality group experiences.”
—Carol Dahir, Ed.D., Professor and Chair, School Counseling Department, New York Institute of Technology