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1.1 An overview of the course

The relationship between observation of children and educational theory is central to the teaching of this course: the theory should help you make sense of what you observe, while your observations should help you make sense of the theory. This perspective is reflected in the activities you will find in the blocks of study material. We recommend that you keep a notebook as you work through the course. You can use this both for the activities that you do at home and for those that involve obse
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5.1 Thinking about successful teamworking

Activity 7

0 hours 40 minutes

The objective of this activity is:

  • to think about your practice in relation to working with othe
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3.1 Focusing on practice

Described image
Figure 7  Caroline Higham
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3 Support in action

A teaching assistant’s role of supporting teaching and learning in the classroom may evolve with time. Alternatively an assistant may be recruited to the role for that very purpose, or perhaps they might lie somewhere in the middle, having joined the body of teaching assistants just as the role was being reviewed and bearing witness to its expansion and development. In the penultimate section of this course, we focus with a degree of detail on the practice of teaching assistant Caroline Hig
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2.1 What is the value of teaching assistants?

Over time, evidence of the value of teaching assistants has increased, particularly in research reports. Kathy Hall and Wendy Nuttall (1999) in their survey of English infant teachers found that 75 per cent rated classroom assistants as equal to, or more important than, class size in terms of the quality of teaching and learning. Valerie Wilson et al. (2002) provided evidence from Scotland and Roger Hancock et al. (2002) added to the evidence from England. References to the important work of
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1.5 Ways of working and contributing

The physical design of most primary schools reflects the expectation that teachers work in classrooms with large numbers of children. In fact, given their large classes, most schools feel quite crowded. The employment of teaching assistants has doubled the number of adults working in some classrooms and, as Schlapp and Davidson (2001) note, this has sometimes led to problems in teaching assistants finding work spaces they can call their own. Often they give support while working alongside tea
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7 Etiquette please!

This section aims to show you how crucial it is to have an understanding of different etiquettes when meeting someone from another culture. The activities will also provide an opportunity to research etiquette around the world.

Activity 27 What is etiquette?

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4 Language study skills

This section will help you to improve your writing and speaking skills.

Activity 12 Mind mapping ideas

You should allow 40 minutes

Have a look at the Skills for OU Study website
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The MMR vaccine: Public health, private fears
A decade ago, the possibility of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism hit the media. Fear of the vaccine spread rapidly and, despite an almost unanimous consensus that the claim was unfounded, still persists today. In this free course, The MMR vaccine: Public health, private fears, we'll examine why this controversy took on such a life of its own and why parents still agonise about the vaccine. Author(s): Creator not set

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Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see http://www.open.ac.uk/conditions terms and conditions), this content is made available under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2

2.9 Experiencing prejudice and discrimination

Activity 4

0 hours 20 minutes

2.3.1 An essentialist perspective

One way of understanding apparent differences in people’s behaviour and needs is to account for them as a direct result of their membership of a particular social group or category. For example, it might be suggested that a patient expresses herself in a very physical way because she is of African-Caribbean origin, and therefore because of certain innate biological or psychological attributes shared by all members of that ethnic group. Or it might be argued that a male manager behaves aggre
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2.2 Analysing communication problems

Below are two very different responses to Case Study 1.

  1. The main cause of the ‘communication problem’ was the Bangladeshi woman’s poor grasp of spoken English, which meant she was unable to communicate her needs clearly or to understand what was being said to her during her stay in hospital. She probably lacked confidence in herself, either because of her language difficulties or because of her cultural background. Perhaps the hospital could have
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of competing perspectives on issues of communication, difference and diversity

  • demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which issues of ethnicity, gender and disability impact on interpersonal communication in care services

  • apply ideas about communication and difference to everyday interactions in health and social care contexts

  • analyse the ways in whic
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2 Community

As you've just seen, ‘community’, an ever present word, evokes some contrasting meanings. It has been described as a ‘keyword’, that is, a word which has its own particular history but which also plays a significant role in putting across different meanings. Identifying a keyword is to go further than just giving a dictionary definition because:

Keywords have been more than ways of seeing: they have been influe
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Keep on learning

Study another free course

There are more than 800 courses on OpenLearn for you to
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Keep on learning

Study another free course

There are more than 800 courses on OpenLearn for you t
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • appreciate key moral dilemmas about apportioning limited resources

  • demonstrate an understanding of how heavy drug users test the limits of community services.


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1.4.13 Defining a ‘good death’

Click to view 'The Good Death?'.

Activity 8

Read ‘The good
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1.4.12 Bad deaths

What about the other end of the spectrum? What constitutes a bad death? Is there less contention about what constitutes a bad death? Extreme pain and discomfort, humiliating dependence and being a burden are obvious, but what about being alone? Many people say they fear dying alone but there are others who would prefer it. Sudden, unexpected deaths are clearly bad for those left behind but are they also bad for those who die in such circumstances? Sudden unexpected deaths used to be considere
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1.4.6 Case study 3: Andrew’s death – a hospice death

Andrew was a 23 year-old car mechanic who had been suffering from indigestion for some months before the GP referred him to a hospital consultant, who after a series of tests diagnosed cancer of the colon, with liver secondaries. At this time Andrew was living alone in a small flat a few minutes’ drive from his parents’ home. Because the treatment which Andrew had agreed to involved a long recovery, he decided to move back home with his parents for a while so that he would have someone to
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