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World conference on Social Work & Social Development 2012 Becoming effective communicators with children in social work practice: a model for the qualifying.

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Presentation on theme: "World conference on Social Work & Social Development 2012 Becoming effective communicators with children in social work practice: a model for the qualifying."— Presentation transcript:

1 World conference on Social Work & Social Development 2012 Becoming effective communicators with children in social work practice: a model for the qualifying curriculum Dr Michelle Lefevre

2 Background to the study Problems in the quality and amount of direct work with children in the UK Why? Not just context, but whether training instills confidence, competence and commitment Earlier Knowledge Review (Luckock et al, 2006) -Taxonomy of Communicative Capabilities for Communication with Children (CCWC): Knowing, Being & Doing (Lefevre et al, 2008) -Need to build generic, child-focused and applied specialist capabilities -But limited evidence about what programme structures & pedagogical approaches most effective -Need to learn more about how SW learn to become effective communicators with children across domains of KBD 2

3 The taxonomy of CCWC KNOWING Knowing about children and their worlds and how best to work with them within the context of social work roles and tasks BEING Being able to embody core social work values, make ethical commitments and draw upon personal qualities and emotional capacities through child-centred use of self DOING Child-centred methods, skills and techniques for effective communication Child developmentCore social work valuesModels & methods Additional communication needs Anti-oppressiveTools & frameworks Purpose and mandatePromoting participationChild-centred Knowing the particular childRelating sincerely & genuinelyFacilitating environment Evidence-based practiceEmpathic, robust and authoritativeNon-verbal communication Constraining factorsSelf-awarePlay & creative methods Cultural interpretationWorking with depth processesInterviewing skills Relating in a caring mannerPromoting participation Playful & creativeInforming & explaining Working in a relationship- based manner 3

4 Methodology Research question: What factors and processes enable students within a qualifying course learn how to communicate with children Realist approach (Robson, 2011) Mixed methods: quantitative and qualitative data from a cohort of 28 students undertaking a full-time, 21-month qualifying MA SW course Insider research Most were female, white British, >37 and without a disability Data were tracked to show learning trajectories through initial training and beyond 4

5 Prospective study collecting data at five time points 5

6 Type of data collected Time points 1-4 -Self-efficacy (rating scale) -Applied understanding (responses to vignettes, analysed against the CCWC taxonomy) -Student subjective views on contributors to their development Time point 5 -Narrative interviews about their learning journeys, analysed thematically (Braun & Clarke, 2006) and as holistic case analyses 6

7 Self-efficacy and applied understanding both rose T1-4 (p=.004) but at different points in the course Applied understanding rose most T2-T3 (p=.003) then stable T3- T4 (p=.630): focused teaching promotes learning which is retained Self-efficacy rose primarily T3-T4 (p=.12): students need teaching and learning opportunities throughout, including placements, to feel more confident No trends apparent regarding age, gender or ethnicity Pre-course experience (personal & professional) enhanced confidence for all and applied understanding for some Lack of pre-course experience very detrimental to self-efficacy Importance of self-appraisal to build realistic self-efficacy 7

8 Other key findings Good awareness across the CCWC even at T1, and strong increases T1-4, esp. child development, skills and use of self But decreases in values/ethical commitments like anti-oppressive practice – why? Unique learning trajectories need personalised learning plans Experiential learning cycle (Kolb, 1984): concrete learning (pre- course, placement, role plays, skills practice, child observation) followed by critical reflection in supervision, process recordings and tutor-led seminars, with deep learning embedded through the assignments Safe learning space essential, models ‘Being’ 8

9 Sequencing of learning (drawing on Kolb, 1984) Concrete experience of communication Critical reflection and self- appraisal promoting inductive observations about communication processes and individual strengths (Knowing) Theoretical input Encounter with theory/ research (Knowing) Abstract conceptualisation Name and interpret inductive observations (Knowing) Focused experimentation with embodied course learning opportunities to promote Being and Doing Observational assessment in HEI and placement Integration and consolidation of learning: Assignments and supervised practice Self-appraisal against programme or national standards Planning/revising personalised learning journey 9 3 cycles: Generic → child-focused → applied child-specialist

10 References Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology, Qualitative Research in Psychology, 2006, 3, pp Kolb, D.A. (1984) Experiential Learning: experience as the source of learning and development, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Lefevre, M., Tanner, K. & Luckock, B. (2008) Developing Social Work Students' Communication skills with Children and Young People: a model for the qualifying level curriculum, Child and Family Social Work, 13, pp.166–176. Robson, C. (2011) Real World Research: A Resource for Users of Social Research Methods in Applied Settings, 3 rd Edition, Chichester: John Wiley. 10


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