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4.2 Conflict and partnership

Whatever the professional setting of their practice, social workers are likely to be working with service users from a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds. As noted above, it is part of their responsibility as practitioners to respect and value social diversity and to work with service users in a way that recognises and builds on their strengths. This can be difficult to do in the context of the legislation. At this point, however, we want you to start to think about how practitioners c
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2.1 The nature of the social work task

Social work is a responsible and demanding job. Practitioners work in social settings characterised by enormous diversity, and they perform a range of roles, requiring different skills. Public expectations, agency requirements and resources and the needs of service users all create pressures for social workers. The public receives only a snapshot of a social worker's responsibilities and, against a background of media concentration on the sensational, the thousands of successful outcomes and
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • Knowledge

  • explain the importance of knowing the law for social care and social work professionals;

  • demonstrate that you understand that social work decision-making must be set within a legal as well as an agency context;

  • outline how the law relates to social work issues;

  • demonstrate that you understand the centrality of the ideas of welfare and rights to social wo
    Author(s): The Open University

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Introduction

This unit is made up of four extracts related to social care, social work and the law. The extracts are stand-alone sections but follow on from each other to make up this unit. You will be introduced to five main themes that shape practice in the field of social care and social work. The aim of this unit is to enhance your understanding of the relationship between social work practice and the law.

This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Social care, social wo
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3.3 Different types of play

When thinking about play in early years and primary settings, it is sometimes helpful to try to make a distinction between different types of play experience: not in terms of listing role-play, small world play, and so on, but rather in terms of the balance of child and adult input and initiation. Free play is generally understood to be those play experiences that children choose for themselves and that involve minimal adult intervention. The term ‘free play’ is a bit of a misnomer, howev
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2.4 Opportunities for play within your setting

Activity 3

2 hours 0 minutes

Aim: to explore the opportunities for play within your setting.

  1. Look at your planning for one day this wee
    Author(s): The Open University

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5 Promoting development

There are, of course, many ways in which people support babies’ development. The extract in the next activity is from the book by Meggitt and Sunderland and lists some of the other ways in which adults and older children can help very young babies to develop their skills. Some babies with physical or mental impairments will respond to these things in different ways, at their own pace.

Different families will have different ways of promoting babies’ development according to what they
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2.2 What are babies able to do?

Activity 2

0 hours 30 minutes

The extract below is from a book written by UK child development teachers Carolyn Meggitt and Gerald Sunderland. It summarises what the majority of babies less than a week
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Introduction

In this unit you will find out some of the things very young babies can do. You will also discover how babies can contribute to family life and relationships from birth. You will look at what they need from other adults and children, and what they can learn.

Using a video extract, you will observe and listen to young babies in action, and learn from them.

If you are a parent or carer. You can consider your role in helping to give babies a good start in life.

Section 1 will i
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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
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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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3.1 Young people's mental health: diversity and inequality

We will now focus on young people's mental and emotional wellbeing, as a way of exploring how social divisions create diverse and unequal health experiences for young people.

Earlier in the unit we cited claims that young people today are experiencing an increase in mental health problems. What is certainly clear is that there has been an increasing concern in the media and elsewhere about young people's mental health, resulting in a range of reports and initiatives.

But ho
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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
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2.3 Towards a critical framework

Is it possible to construct an alternative framework for understanding young people's health, and if so, what resources might we need to draw on to do so?

A cultural perspective can help us to see constructions of adolescent mental health as interwoven with histories of ‘youth concern’. Recent debates about young people's wellbeing can be seen as an extension of more general anxieties about the state of contemporary childhood (James and Prout, 1997). A Foucauldian analysis wo
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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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1 Unit overview

The focus of this unit is young people's health and wellbeing, a topic that has received much attention from commentators and policy makers in recent years.

Specifically, the unit will set out to answer the following core questions:

  • How has young people's health been constructed in public and policy discourse in recent years, and what are the implications for young people and those who work with them?

  • What might an alternative,
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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
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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

1 Play, Learning and the Brain

‘Teaching and learning are an odyssey into the neural architecture of the human brain.’

‘A baby is born with over 100 billion brain cells. At birth only 25% of the brain is developed. By age three 90% of the brain is developed.’

(Catherwood, 2000)

‘Brain-based learning’ (BBL) is receiving increasing attention in the popular and professional fields. But what exactly is it? Befo
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