Working in Groups

The Independence program is designed for flexible shared learning in peer groups and incorporates a range of group based activities and discussions.

When meeting together in your peer group think about how structured you would like your Independence program session(s) to be, and how you can make this work. The group should decide together how they wish to approach the program.

You could agree to someone taking on the role of session/program coordinator

          “Giving people specific roles can make it clear what responsibilities lie with whom, and to keep the peer group on track. However, it is also important to rotate these roles regularly so that individuals don’t get overwhelmed and everyone has a chance to participate.  It would be important for the peer  group to be clear about the boundaries of the position and to ensure that everyone still has a say in the peer group and a share of the responsibilities and  opportunities.”              Page 11 Olave Program Resource 2015

The coordinator could be selected for just one meeting or for your full Independence program and all the sessions you decide to do together.

A coordinator could:

  • check if any resources are needed for the meeting and remind everyone about anything they should do in advance or items they should bring to the session
  • manage the time – start the meeting and monitor the time spent for activities and discussions
  • encourage everyone to participate and share their experiences.

You could manage the program direction together as a group, making decisions as you go

This approach works well when the group members are confident in expressing their ideas and enjoy being self-directed in their learning. It may be particularly useful if you have a group with very diverse interests and needs. Individuals or small groups could undertake different activities in different topics and share their learning with the whole group. You will need time between activities to discuss your next choice of topic. Make sure that everyone has a chance to express their preferences.

It is important to create a safe learning environment

As you will discuss in the first session, people experience a wide range of responses to money issues including both positive and negative emotional responses. The program is designed for shared learning and this occurs best when each person’s views and experiences are respected and feels safe to share their comments and questions.

It can be helpful to make a spoken agreement as a group, to respect each other’s ideas and experiences and to keep shared information confidential within the group.