Experiential practice learning: Providing a theoretical knowledge foundation


  • Greg Tully West Chester University, Pennsylvania




Abstract: Using experiential activities is one way to provide alternative content that moves groupwork practice away from the structured curriculum-driven or facilitator-driven approach, and moves groupwork practice more toward the direction of group activity that promotes cooperative group member learning and growth. However, we should recognize the importance of providing a theoretical knowledge foundation prior to learning about experiential practice; it is vital to learn the foundational knowledge pertinent to the successful use of experiential activities in groups.

Keywords: activities; group planning; group stages; group types; theoretical knowledge; support; group work; groupwork

Author Biography

Greg Tully, West Chester University, Pennsylvania

Professor, Social Work Department,


arker, R. (Ed.) (2014) The Social Work Dictionary. Washington, DC: NASW Press

Birnbaum, M. & Auerbach, C. (1994) Group work in graduate school education: The price of neglect. Journal of Social Work Education, 30, 3, 325-335

Clements, J. (2008) Social work students’ perceived knowledge of and preparation for group-work practice. Social Work with Groups, 31, 3/4, 329-346

Comer, E. & Hirayama, K. (2009) (2009) Activity: Use and selection, in A. Gitterman, & R. Salmon, (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Social Work with Groups. New York: Routedge. (pp. 62-64)

Doel, M. (2012) When is a group not a group? in G. Tully, S. Palombo, & K. Sweeney, (Eds.), Group Work: Gateway to Growth. London: Whiting & Birch (p 129-138)

Gitterman, A. & Knight, C. (2016) Social Work, 61, 2, 103-110

Gitterman, A. & Salmon, R. (Eds.) (2009) Encyclopedia of Social Work with Groups. NY: Routledge

Hessanauer, S. & Lind, K. (2013) Preparations for group work: Perceptions of bachelor-level Social workers. The Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 18, 19-37

Kalcher, J. & Luedemann, O. (2011) The Hamburg mask making project: Bridges to group work. in C.F. Kuechler (Ed.) Group Work: Building Bridges of Hope. London, England: Whiting & Birch Publishers (pp.184-201)

Knight, C. (2009) The use of a workshop on groups for field instructors to enhance students’ experience with group work in the field practicum. Social Work with Groups, 32, 3, 230-242

Kurland, R. (1978) Planning: The neglected component of group development. Social Work with Groups, 1, 2, 173-178

Lynn, M. & Nisivoccia, D. (2009) Activity: History. in A. Gitterman, & R. Salmon, (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Social Work with Groups. NY: Routledge (pp. 59-61)

Northen, H. & Kurland, R. (2001) Social Work with Groups (3rd ed.). New York: Columbia Press

Shulman, L. (2009) The Skills of Helping Individuals, Families, Groups, and Communities. (6th ed.) Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole

Steinberg, D. M. (2004) The Mutual-Aid Approach to Working with Groups: Helping People Help One Another (2nd ed.). New York: Haworth Press

Sweifach, J. & Heft LaPorte, H. (2009) Group work in foundation generalist classes: Perceptions of students about the nature and quality of their experience. Social Work with Groups, 32, 4, 303-314

Toseland, R. & Rivas, R. (2012) An Introduction to Group Work Practice (7th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon



How to Cite

Tully, G. (2017). Experiential practice learning: Providing a theoretical knowledge foundation. Groupwork, 26(3), 55-63. https://doi.org/10.1921/gpwk.v26i3.1041



camp papers

Most read articles by the same author(s)