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About this book

This textbook equips social work students with the tools to develop a social work identity. It provides a critical examination of the knowledge base of social work – from human growth and development to social work research – and explores how a practitioner’s own values, principles and experience combine to shape their social work identity and practice alongside this.

Linked to a range of core modules on pre-qualifying social work programmes but written also for those practitioners committed to nurturing their own social work identities, this is a must have text from one of social work's most up-and-coming authors that brings together all areas of the classroom and practice curriculum to make learning a novel, creative and interactive process.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abstract
During the conceptualisation of this book I held an academic post at Coventry University, England. Given the multiple roles the contemporary academic must fulfil, mundane tasks become opportunities for thinking, reflection and planning. It was a deliberate merging of a mundane task with intellectual work to use my time spent travelling to Coventry in the mornings as a kind of mental space for me to think about this book. Perhaps that’s how the two became connected. In any case, I shall explain. The commute to work each day required crossing what is referred to as a ‘shared space’. This is essentially an intersection but with a difference. Coventry City Council has adopted a European model of traffic management in which the travels of various forms of transport are encouraged to ‘flow’ alongside one another. Encouraging the ‘flow’ of traffic involves the removal of traditional traffic rules (Chris Young, pers. comm. 18 June 2012). Thus, there are no markings on this particular intersection, nor are there any traffic lights.
Priscilla Dunk-West

2. Human Development

Abstract
How old are you? Do you like being your current age, and if so, why? Do you wish you were older, or younger? What would you say is the best age to be? Whenever I have posed these questions to social work students the common answer I get is that the best age is older than adolescence and younger than, say, around 70 years of age. A large percentage of my students over the years have reported that childhood is a ‘good age’ because of its association with being ‘carefree’ and a time of little or no worry about those issues associated with adulthood such as career, income and other responsibilities.
Priscilla Dunk-West

5. Everyday Ethics

Abstract
In our contemporary, everyday life we are faced with a number of ethics-related dilemmas each day (Singer 1993, 2004, 2009). Consider, for example, the myriad of product choices available in western cultures. Whether choosing from 12 different types of potatoes or selecting the best supplier for a service, it can be difficult to make choices about goods and services. Specifically, how much thought should go in to buying a product? Is it better to buy cruelty-free and organic? Should we buy food in glass containers which can be recycled or the cheaper, plastic version? Should we worry about giving our custom to companies whose ethics towards its employees are dubious? Should we buy products that have been tested on animals, subjecting them to suffering? Should we participate in meat eating or become vegetarian or vegan in order to help the environment and avoid species’ mass production, suffering and slaughter? Should we select locally grown and sourced food to reduce our ‘carbon footprint’? Such questions may have come up in your purchasing of products in everyday life. Broader questions about how to live include: should we care for others or look after ourselves? Should children have ‘rights’? Are social workers ever ‘off duty’? In this chapter we will begin to examine the relationship between our personal and emerging professional self regarding ethics. We consider how to make ethical decisions and what is required in order to justify such decisions. The chapter concludes with an examination of some of the ethical issues in organisations.
Priscilla Dunk-West

7. Research in Social Work

Abstract
Research often makes it into media headlines. For example, print copy such as ‘new study shows…’ and ‘researchers found…’ or a statement of fact such as ‘young people twice as likely to be at risk of sexual violence’ pushes research into the public sphere through sharing researchers’ findings with the broader public. News stories appear so definitive in the reporting of research findings that it becomes difficult to weigh up competing studies such as those with differing findings.
Priscilla Dunk-West
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