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How group work can support pupils' emotional development

Group work can be a highly effective means by which way in which to support the emotional development of youngsters who are disaffected. When used effectively it can:

Provide a safe environment within which pupils can be introduced to new social skills and practise them. Many pupils with social, emotional and behavioural needs need to either learn specific social skills for the first time or require time and support to consolidate and develop existing skills.

Provide an environment within which they can test boundaries.

Raise their self-esteem as they are offered structured opportunities to interact positively with their peers and receive affirming feedback from them.

Some of the developmental tasks that are particularly suitable for revisiting through group work include:

Attachment and Emotions
To bond emotionally - to learn to trust caring adults and self; to continue to develop attachments
To accept nurture
To express anger and other feelings

Rules, Boundaries and Responsibilities
To start to follow simple safety commands
To learn the relevance of rules
To push against boundaries and other people

To test ideas and values
To assert an identity separate from others
To learn from mistakes and decide to be "good enough"

Getting on with others
To discover their place in groups
To discover the effect on others & place in groups

Click here to view some specific suggestions for group work