5 Places to Observe Students Before Group Counseling

Before starting group counseling, I like to observe students at school. I do this to get a feel for if group is a good fit for students, but I also do it it get a glimpse into how they’re doing with attention/focus, self-directed learning, self regulation, and peer interactions. I observe students in 5 different settings, depending on the skills we’ll be focusing on in group to get a better understanding of how they’re doing right now. Keep reading to find 5 spots I use for group counseling observations:

Planning for group counseling? These are 5 places that I do group counseling observations before starting group!

Group Counseling Observations

1. Teacher-Led Classroom Activities

During teacher-led activities, we can observe students for behaviors related to attention or focus and self-directed learning. We can see how they attend to the instruction, how they respond to instruction, and how they take ownership of their learning as a result of the instruction. We can also get a glimpse into self regulation skills by observing how they are able to wait to be called on or how they respond to classroom expectations or redirection.

2. Student-Led Classroom Activities

During student-led classroom activities, we can still observe attention and focus behaviors and self directed learning behaviors, but we can also get a glimpse into social skills. We can see how students work with peers, how they respond to feedback from peers, and how they engage in group activities.

Planning for group counseling? These are 5 places that I do group counseling observations before starting group!

3. Specials Classes

When I observe students in teacher-led classroom activities, I also like to get a glimpse into their specials classes as well. I find it helpful to see how they are as students during core academic subjects as well as special subjects. This also helps me see what interests they have so that I can incorporate these into group sessions when possible.

4. Recess

Recess is the perfect place to observe social skills behaviors! We can see how students play, who they play with, how they respond to games, if they follow rules, if they show good sportsmanship, etc.

5. Lunch

Lunch is another great spot to observe social skills. We can see who students sit with, how they engage with peers, and if they’re following the lunchroom rules.

Planning for group counseling? These are 5 places that I do group counseling observations before starting group! Get ready for group counseling sessions in school counseling by prescreening and observing students. Small group counseling is great for tier 2 interventions in school counseling, and observing students before group can help school counselors plan for group counseling! -Counselor Keri

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