Small Group Leadership
Course Outline & Assessment Information
Welcome to this exciting course!
"Exciting" because the way we've structured it, not only can you acquire a useful skill which is much in demand, not only in the Church but also in the wider community, education and the business world. You can come out of this class with an immediately viable folio of useable material – a toolkit – a "bag of tricks" from which you can draw when exercising this skill in the future.
The only prerequisite for this class is to have completed the four learning modules in Level 1. It does serve, however, as an important foundation upon which a number of other more advanced classes are built.
The class has been designed to give you instruction, experience and the opportunity to demonstrate competency in:
- organizing resource issues for group activities
- coordinating a group planning process
- managing group processes including responding to conflict
- evaluating group activities
- Orientation - getting to know each other - goals and aims - what you hope to achieve personally from this unit.
- Completion of Assessment #1.
- Different styles of Group Leadership and Decision
- Effective Communication Strategies
- Helping Small Groups fit in with policies, principles and procedures
- Utilizing organizational and community resources
- Developing and Maintaining Positive Relationships
- Effective Group Management
As you can see from the above class-list, the bulk of class material has been divided into (i) underpinning knowledge and (ii) practical skills, which together determine the assessment criteria for your work. Although knowledge may be theoretically acquired simply by reading and observation, the acquisition of demonstrated skills can de facto come only from hands-on experience - by applying what you're learning in real-life situations. This is reflected in the nature of the assignments.
Texts and Supporting Materials
Hunter, D. et al (1994) The art of facilitation. Tandem Press, Birkenhead, Auckland 10, New Zealand.
Assigned readings available on the Small Group Leadership web during the class.
- Heron, J. (1989) The facilitator’s handbook. Kogan Page, London, UK.
- Heron, J. (1993) Group facilitation: theories and models for practice. Kogan Page, London, UK.
- Tillett, G. (1996) Resolving conflict: a practical approach. Sydney University Press, Sydney, Australia.
To purchase these books, select the "Bookstore" option from the Student Services dropdown menu. Ambassador College of Christian Ministry partners with Amazon Books to provide fast, efficient service and delivery of your textbook needs worldwide.
Heron’s books tend to be quite expensive. Accordingly, the core information from each of the above books is included, under our copyright agreement, with the extra reading assigned with the class notes. In addition, Heron pitches his writing a little more academically than we’re concerned with in this module, which is why it isn’t required reading. However, if you’re able to wade through it, the principles he expounds are among the most valuable you’ll pick up in your learning. We’ve included it since it has something profound to contribute to your underlying knowledge of the subject. (Much of Heron’s work centers specifically on learning groups. However, the principles are the same, so don’t feel as if the extra reading is irrelevant).
Given the nature of small group leadership, it’s appropriate that this class attempts to both simulate and stimulate as much contact as possible between participants. This will mean taking part in discussion forums and keeping contact with your colleagues. Assessments will therefore take into account, not only the work you submit directly, but also on your contributions via the class web forums and “Facilitation Folios”. Ideally, your learning is most appropriately demonstrated under the normal range of conditions in:
- the congregation in which you are serving,
- somewhere useful in your local community, or
- in your workplace
However, not all of our students will be in a position to be assessed like this. Additionally, it is unlikely that many of our students are in a position to create web-based content that adequately demonstrates their experiences. Therefore, assessment will be comprised of the following elements:
| 1. Set Personal Goals
||After familiarizing yourself with the process of contributing to class discussion – and to give your colleagues a chance to know who they’re communicating with, you'll be asked to look ahead to completion - imagine yourself having scored really well in this course ... and how you managed it.
| 2. Comment and Evaluate the Facilitation Sessions of others
||You’ll be asked to evaluate 3 group sessions or meetings facilitated by someone else. These evaluations will call on the principles you’ve acquired in thisclass.
| 3. Your Own Facilitation Sessions
You’ll be asked to prepare, organize and facilitate 3 small group meetings. You will then evaluate and report on them, based on the course learning materials. Your report will consist of:
- Feedback from 3 participants from each session
- Comments and evaluation by your “Local Coach” (this is for verification rather than scoring. It obviates the need for you to provide videotapes, etc)
- Your own self-evaluations and reflections as you acquire learning and experience
| 4. Personal Facilitation Folio
|| Evidence of a specific accumulated personal folio of facilitation materials acquired by you for practical future use, in either a congregational or othersetting.
TOTAL = 100
Although we'll get you to tackle Assessment #1 during Class #1, the rest of the assessments aren't going to be disbursed at regular intervals via the Class notes. It's up to the individual student to familiarize with the assessment requirements and to complete these items at their own pace. They will be assessed during the first assessment period after we receive them and your study record will be updated accordingly at that time.
This Small Group Leadership part of your ACCM learning journey, though presented and experienced primarily in a Church-specific circumstances, is universally applicable and useful in a host of settings. It’s important that you look over all the assessments as you begin this course. Although they are sequenced to your learning journey, you’ll notice, for example, that there are entries you can be making to Assessment #4 in the earliest stages of study. ACCM’s flexible learning platform can accommodate assignments for this particular course in any order you wish to submit them, with the obvious exception of Assessment #4, which will be graded at the end of your period of currency.
About Your "Local Coach"
This person will play a major role on your major assignment. He or she will, in effect, be providing documented testimony that you are integrating what you're learning into your service in the local congregation. Although they will provide you with a personal reference, you as a student will need to make it possible for them to do so in good conscience. When you seek out a mentor, you should therefore choose someone you respect and whose advice you are willing to take fully into account. They should have a relationship with you close enough to be able to complete the declarations we will ask them to make. If you manage to find someone who will supervise or advise future ministry contributions you might make (such as your local pastor, regional pastor, superintendent, etc), so much the better! Students whose circumstances preclude finding a suitable Local Coach can contact the lecturer, who will advise on alternative ways you can attempt to negotiate this important issue.
Special “Local Coach” note to all students doing this unit for credit:
We will be asking your Local Coach to complete a declaration verifying their involvement with you over the period in which you complete this study. (This declaration will be archived with your training records). Such people are usually very busy – and we don’t want to make their schedules even more hectic! However, ideally, it would be especially helpful if you can find a Local Coach who can allot a little time to you, either one-on-one or in a group. This has a number of significant benefits, both to you and to them. First, it creates the opportunity for you to link theoretical knowledge directly into real-life applications in your congregation or workplace – thus enhancing the prospects of retaining what you’ve learned. Second, it improves the likelihood that the skills you’re acquiring can be more immediately beneficial in your congregation or workplace, since they’d be completely relevant. Third, the experience helps you ‘get a feel’ for working with someone from whom you may conceivably be taking direction and instruction in the future; they’ve had a chance to see you up closer than usual and are thus dealing with a ‘known quantity’ which they’ve had a hand in shaping! In summary, this approach to assessment affirms ACCM’s commitment to make its training relevant and immediately useful. We want your journey with us through this course to be of ready, practical use to pastors and pastoral teams. The fields are indeed white - but laborers competent in the arts of pastoring are very few. (Matt 9:37). Somewhere out there among the people of God, someone is responding to Jesus' admonition. They are praying that the Lord will send more laborers into His harvest. This class is a part of equipping laborers to be adequate to the task.
More about Class Discussions
These are located on the Small Group Leadership class web and already contain discussion threads (numbered and asterisked) initiated by the lecturer for specific assignment purposes. These are clearly marked as:
- ACTIVITY #1 - WHO'S WHO?
- PERSONAL LEARNING GOALS
- WORKING TOGETHER
- ANYTHING ELSE?
- ASSESSMENT #1 – HOW I EARNED A DISTINCTION
- ASSESSMENT #2 – EVALUATING OTHER PEOPLE’S SESSIONS AND
- ASSESSMENT #3 - EVALUATING YOUR OWN SESSIONS
However, we encourage students to participate in and, better still, initiate their own discussion threads on anything relevant to the course. The lecturer will monitor all discussions and although participation is not mandatory, it does fill in the overall picture of how students are doing and whether they’re learning the value of collaboration and a “multitude of counselors.” Therefore, wherever a student’s grade is situated just below a particular achievement level, we’ll refer to these discussions in an effort to find evidence that the grade can be nudged up a little!
This particular course is about learning from experience. Whenever that is the case, we’re likely to make mistakes. The class Assessments ask you to evaluate and comment on what you’ve done right and what you’ve done wrong. We also ask for similar input from your “Local Coach.” If any (or all!) of your small group sessions don’t turn out as well as you’d like, don’t be discouraged! And don’t be afraid to admit it in the feedback you provide, either to the lecturer or amongst fellow students. The idea is to learn from both the “ups” and the “downs” and, more importantly, to demonstrate that learning next time you attempt a session. If you can demonstrate that you’re:
- learning from your mistakes
- responding to your “Local Coach” and
- collaborating with, and receiving advice from, fellow students,
you’re better off than someone who was already a professional facilitator. In fact, someone that good probably doesn’t need this class anyway! ? Evidence of gradual learning will reflect positively in your final grade.
Your login determines which options are available to you throughout the ACCM Learning Management System. When you're ready to submit an assessment, select the "My Assessments" option from the Student Services dropdown menu and follow the instructions for uploading your document. Please note: file sizes must be less than 512kb and of acceptable file type or the system will not accept them. Acceptable file types include only:
- PDF (Adobe Reader format documents)
- TXT (standard text file format documents)
- DOC (MS Word documents) and
- RTF (Rich Text Format documents)
Dates for Assessment
Check the "Assessment Calendar" option from the Student Services dropdown menu.
More about the Lecturer, Phil Hopwood.
Check the "FAQ" option from the ABOUT dropdown menu.
This web site contains course material that is for the use of the students of Ambassador College of Christian Ministry only. Re-publication and re-dissemination, including posting to news groups or web pages, is strictly prohibited without prior written consent of Ambassador College of Christian Ministry. Your participation in an ACCM course indicates your agreement.
Class Notes - Conventions
As you work through the class notes, you'll have opportunities to complete exercises, reflect on particular points and take special note. These are clearly indicated, with relevant instructions alongside
How Long Do I Have to Complete the Class?
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ALL THE BEST WITH YOUR LEARNING JOURNEY!