What is Social Work - SO312

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
(version 2)
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4 15 (7.5) MRS EA Kelly







In this module students will be introduced to key aspects of the nature and contemporary context of social work, including the defining characteristics of social work, key terms in social work, and foundation concepts underpinning social work practice. Students will consider the development of social work as a profession, its socio-political location and the various roles social workers may undertake in their work and in society in general, gaining an initial awareness of the complexity and contested nature of the social work role.

Students will be introduced to the nature of problems and needs that may lead to social work support and intervention. A range of approaches to service delivery in the statutory and private and voluntary sectors will be considered and discussed.

The module will also provide a basic introduction for students to the impact of the organisational context for social work practice, aspects of teamwork, supervision, leadership and management and multi-agency working.

Throughout the module students will explore the experience and perspectives of people who use services and carers both in the taught content and through the direct involvement of experts by experience.

Method of assessment

The assessment for this module comprises the following elements:
• Students will submit an essay of 1500 words, demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of social work. This will constitute 40% of the module assessment.

Students will be expected to use relevant academic literature in this assignment. The essay will be submitted during the module which will encourage students to study and become familiar with key concepts early in the module, and also to receive feedback on their academic writing at an early stage in the programme.

• Students will also complete a group work (in groups of 4-6) activity relating to social work services and the experience of people who use services, which will include a 20 minute presentation given in workshops at the end of the module and the preparation of an accompanying handout (1000 words). As well as evidencing their engagement with the topic this assessment will enable students to demonstrate skills in working collaboratively in a group and presenting information orally and visually. The collaborative group work, presentation and handout will together form a substantial piece of work and will therefore constitute 60% of the overall mark for the module. Service users and/or carers will provide informal feedback to the students on their presentations. This feedback will be purely informal / formative and not contribute to marking of the assessment.

Students will be awarded a final mark based on the average across the assessed work for this module.

Preliminary reading

Adams, R. (2010) The Short Guide to Social Work. Bristol: The Policy Press

Beckett, C. (2006) Essential Theory for Social Work Practice. London: Sage.

Doel, M. (2012) Social Work: the basics. Abingdon: Routledge

Higham, P. (2006) Social Work: Introducing Professional Practice. London: Sage

Horner, N. (2012) What is Social Work? 4th Edn. Exeter: Learning Matters.

Payne, M. (2006) What is Professional Social Work? London: BASW/Policy Press

Thompson, N. (2009) Understanding Social Work: Preparing for Practice. 3rd Edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Wilson, K., Ruch, G., Lymbery, M. & Cooper, A. (2011) Social Work: An introduction to contemporary practice. 2nd Edn. Harlow: Pearson.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

11.1 Identify core features of social work and relevant key concepts.

11.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the roles social workers undertake and social work’s socio-political location in contemporary Britain.

11.3 Demonstrate an initial understanding of the range of problems, needs and risks that may lead people who use services to have contact with social workers.

11.4 Explain the main settings and sectors in which social work is delivered.

11.5 Demonstrate awareness of the experience and perspectives of people who use services

11.6 Demonstrate understanding of the impact of the organisational context on social work practice.

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