Delivering Guidance in a Group Setting:
optimising the potential for personal
learning and development in a group
Jane Westergaard
Senior Lecturer in Education
This session will explore:
• The policy/practice context in which guidance
practitioners facilitate group work
• The concept of ‘guidance group work’ and its
distinguishing features
• Ways in which group work can lead to positive
outcomes for participants
• The role of the guidance practitioner in facilitating
PLD in the group context
The Influence of Policy on Group
Work Practice in the UK
• Government initiatives include…
• Careers Education And Guidance in England: A national framework
(2003). (developing a programme of careers education throughout
secondary education 11 – 19)
• Framework for Economic Well-Being 11 – 19 (2008). (recommended
areas/topics to be addressed through careers education and guidance)
• Delivering 14 – 19 Reform: Next Steps (2008). (changes in provision
of careers education and guidance. Increase in educational institution
based guidance practitioners)
Group Work - pleasure or pain
for guidance practitioners?
Perceived resistance to group work……
Lack of confidence?
Lack of clarity?
Lack of knowledge/theoretical underpinning?
Lack of training?
Not what most guidance practitioners went into
the work for?
• Sub-teacher syndrome?
Questions to assist reflection…..
• What does ‘guidance’ group work set out to
achieve, and what are its ‘unique features’?
• How can guidance delivered in the group setting
enhance guidance outcomes for clients?
• What do guidance practitioners need in order to
help them to feel confident about engaging in
group work as well as one-to-one interventions?
What does guidance group work set out to achieve?
The principles of Personal Learning and
Development group work (PLD).
• The focus (topic) should meet the perceived needs of the participants
• The focus should be about an aspect of participants’ lives, relevant at
this point in time (i.e. learning about myself)
• The content of the session should be interactive and adhere to
principles of student-centred and experiential learning
• Participants should become aware of a range of options available to
• Participants should have the opportunity to reflect on their own
position in relation to the subject and make decisions as appropriate
• Participants should be encouraged to plan individual action steps for
the future
How can PLD group work
enhance guidance outcomes?
• Engaging and interacting with others encourages
participants to reflect on their own experiences and
develop enhanced self awareness
• Sharing experiences, information and knowledge with
others helps to develop awareness of
• Talking through options and hearing others’ perspectives
can provide insight and enhance decision making
• Voicing decisions and sharing action plans with others
may motivate and encourage plans to become reality,
leading to effective transitions
What do guidance practitioners need in
order to feel confident to deliver PLD
group work?
• Clarity about what group work sets out to achieve (i.e.
• Understanding of a range of theoretical perspectives
(learning theory, group dynamics)
• Confidence in their use of guidance skills in the group
• A model/framework for effective planning of sessions to
ensure positive outcomes for participants
• Opportunities to be involved in delivering PLD group
The FAAST model
• Focus - assessing the needs of the group and selecting an
appropriate focus (topic)
• Aim - identifying a purposeful and explicit aim for the session
(and related objectives)
• Activities - selecting activities that will ensure that the
aim/objectives are met taking learning theory into account
• Structure - ensuring that the session is structured in such a way
to build and enhance the learning opportunities
• Techniques - the facilitator uses a range of skills/techniques to
assist participants to engage with learning and achieve positive
To summarise…
• Careers education and guidance policy may suggest greater
involvement in group work
• Some practitioners may fear this (others may not!!)
• An understanding of PLD group work could encourage
guidance practitioners to see themselves as expert and
skilled practitioners in group work
• Guidance outcomes can be achieved effectively in a group
• The FAAST model offers a useful starting point for
planning, preparing and delivering group sessions

Delivering Guidance in a Group Setting: optimising the potential for