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3.1 Choice of placements

Activity 3: Where are children ‘looked after’?

0 hours 20 minutes

2.3 ‘Looked-after’ children

There are 70,000 ‘looked-after’ children in the UK (National Statistics, 2005). Children are ‘looked after’ when they are:

  • in care (this term refers to children who are the subject of a care order made by a body with legislative powers) and are accommodated

or

  • provided with accommodation, by voluntary agreement with those having parental responsibility for the child.

The t
Author(s): The Open University

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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

Knowledge

  • outline a range of different reasons – social, personal, health, economic, family-based – that cause children to be separated from their families of origin and to live in different settings;

Skills

  • demonstrate the development of key transferable study skills including the ability to summarise arguments, learn from personal experience, and apply theory to issues and dile
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Introduction

This unit is from our archive and it is an adapted extract from Working with children and families (K204) which is no longer in presentation. If you wish to study formally at The Open University, you may wish to explore the courses we offer in this subject area.

You are probably aware that most children live with a parent or parents, with siblings and relatives and
Author(s): The Open University

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4.1 Introduction

In the previous section we examined some of the factors that affect young people's chances of experiencing mental health problems. This section continues the focus on mental health but takes a more positive stance, exploring the factors that promote young people's mental health and that might enable them to cope with threats to their emotional wellbeing. However, it will be important to carry forward the conclusions reached in previous sections, about diversity and inequality in young people'
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2.4 Applying a critical approach

A critical approach to young people's health sounds fine in the abstract, but what might it mean in practice? How can such a framework help us to make sense of young people's actual experience of physical and mental distress?

To explore these questions, we will look at the apparent increase in the incidence of eating disorders, especially among young women. One of the advantages of this example is that it combines concerns about physical and mental health. This discussion will draw on a
Author(s): The Open University

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2.2 Defining wellbeing

Wellbeing has become popular among policy makers as a generic term that embraces physical, mental and emotional health. Is this simply a matter of changing fashions in terminology or does it reflect particular assumptions about what it means to be healthy? Moreover, does the term have particular meanings when used in relation to young people? In this section we will analyse current ideas about what constitutes wellbeing for young people, and work towards producing a critical framework for und
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2.1 Introduction

In the unit overview we explored some of the images and discourses about young people's health currently in circulation. But what assumptions are being made in these stories about what it means for a young person to be healthy, whether physically or mentally? What kind of model of wellbeing is being used in these discourses, and are there alternative approaches?


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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • demonstrate an awareness of current media and policy discourses surrounding young people's physical and mental health;

  • critically analyse ideas about young people's wellbeing using a range of theoretical perspectives;

  • demonstrate an understanding of some of the ways in which young people's experience of mental health is shaped by diversity and inequality;

  • demonstrate an awareness of diffe
    Author(s): The Open University

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Introduction

Recent years have seen a great deal of media discussion about young people's health and wellbeing, focusing on issues such as obesity, binge drinking, depression and behavioural problems. But what is the true picture? What do we mean by ‘wellbeing’ for young people, how is it shaped by social differences and inequalities, and how can we improve young people's mental and physical health?

This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course
Author(s): The Open University

3 Are there any problems with adopting brain-based approaches to education?

It is apparent that there is a great deal of overlap between what is termed BBE (brain-based education) and what has been considered ‘good’ early years practice (e.g. contextualised learning).

But are there any problems with the way in which research into brain development and function has been used by educationalists to develop the distinctive approach labelled ‘brain-based education’?

As could be anticipated with any new idea, BBE has both its advocates and others who ur
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2 What is brain-based learning and teaching?

Neuroscientists now have more sophisticated ways of examining living brains than was ever possible before. It is now possible to obtain images of the brain that show activity as it occurs. The importance of the first years of life has always been recognised by early years practitioners but the new information about the brain deepens our understanding about why this might be.

Perry and Pollard (1997) reported on the effects of sensory stimulation, or the lack of it, on early brain develo
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References

Foley, P. (2008) ‘Introduction’ in Collins, J. and Foley, P. (eds) Promoting Children's Wellbeing: Policy and Practice, Bristol, The Policy Press in association with The Open University.
Maynard, T. (2007) ‘Encounters with Forest School and Foucault: A Risky Business?’ Education 3–13, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 379–391.

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1 Using a learning journal

Keeping a reflective journal (or learning journal) can help you while studying the material in this – or in fact any OpenLearn – unit.

A journal is a tool for self discovery, an aid to concentration, a mirror for the soul, a place to generate and capture ideas, a safety valve for the emotions, a training ground for the writer, and a good friend and confidant.


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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • acquire and critically apply the research, analytical and evaluative skills needed for effective practice and the promotion of equality across universal and specialist services for children;

  • develop a skilled, dynamic and ethical approach to working with children;

  • understand and analyse the contributions of different approaches to the study of children, childhood and families, and recognise the potenti
    Author(s): The Open University

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1 Children's rights: general issues

The audio file in this unit considers the general issues of children's rights, and the possibilities and implications of imagining children as citizens. Within the discussion, ideas about childhood and children's needs are explored. Although the programme focuses specifically on children it is possible to link to the wider issue of social construction of difference and power. Some examples are given in these notes.

This audio file was recorded in 1998 and related to a TV programme on ch
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5.3 Teaching and learning

Vygotsky proposed that through contact with other, more able people children appropriate new ways of thinking and doing. Indeed Vygotsky saw learning as best supported when there is a degree of inequality in skills and understanding between two people. People of different abilities working together can create what Vygotsky termed a zone of proximal development (ZPD) – the difference between what a child can do unaided, and what the same child can do with the help of more able others.


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5.2 Thought and language

For Piaget the development of thought and language was dependent on underlying ‘intelligence’. Language is therefore simply a reflection of mental ability: intelligence precedes language and is independent of it.

Vygotsky (1986) however, proposed that language has two functions: inner speech, used for mental reasoning, and external speech, used for communication with other people. He suggested that these two functions arise separately. That is, before the age of about 2 years, child
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4.3 Processes of development

A central concept in Piaget's theory is that of the schema, a representation of a sequence of actions developed as a result of a child's action on the environment. A schema is, initially, a simple sequence of behaviour like sucking, or reaching and grasping. Piaget believed that the fact of possessing a schema, such as sucking, in itself creates a motivation for its exercise and for its application to multiple objects and situations which is beyond any immediate physical need to apply it, suc
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4.2 The origins of Piagetian theory

Piaget started his career as a biologist, interested in the processes by which organisms adapt to their environment during development. Born in Switzerland, his interest in child development began in 1920 when he worked in Alfred Binet's laboratory, helping to translate items for one of the first intelligence tests into French. Piaget became interested in the wrong answers the children gave. These ‘errors’ seemed to be systematic rather than random, suggesting some underlying consistencie
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