Skip to main content
main-content
Top

About this book

With the increasing importance of learning on practice placement this new book provides students, practitioners and their assessors with a practical understanding of how people learn best in the workplace; the principles involved in work-based teaching and assessing; and the contribution of other disciplines to work-based learning.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abstract
As the social care workforce grows in number and variety, the expectations placed upon it seem to increase proportionately. Continuing professional development assumes particular significance in such a scenario: how can staff develop the knowledge and skills required to respond to the dynamics of social care and how can they continue to do so throughout their careers? Such achievement cannot be left to chance and personal inclination — surely the needs of service users underlines that point. It seems that what is required is a planned and structured approach to professional development in social care. This book is a contribution to that approach.
Audrey Beverley, Aidan Worsley

Chapter 1. Setting the Context for Learning

Abstract
The social work/care sector workforce has yet to emerge from a persistent modernising process that has characterised its recent years and continues to bring about significant change. This chapter will provide an overview of some of the changes in social work education before looking more broadly at concepts such as the ‘learning organisation’ and the management of change within social work. One transition that perhaps underpins all others is the introduction of the social care register. Everyone who works in social care will be required to join the register and abide by the Codes of Practice for Employees. The Code of Practice for Employers governs the agencies in which they work. The title ‘social worker’ is legally protected (since 1 April 2005) so that only those who are properly qualified, registered and accountable will be able to use that title. The Codes of Practice are a critical part of regulating the social care workforce. All those registered would have agreed to abide by the Code, which contains criteria to guide practice and standards of conduct which workers have to meet across the four countries and their care councils (Care Council for Wales, General Social Care Council (GSCC), Northern Ireland Social Care Council and the Scottish Social Services Council — see the preface for Web links to these organisations). Employers will know what part they are expected to play in the regulation of the workforce and the support of high -quality social care. Service users and members of the public will be able to use the Codes to understand how a social care worker should behave towards them (GSCC, 2002).
Audrey Beverley, Aidan Worsley

Chapter 2. Learning Partnerships

Abstract
The notion of a ‘learning partnership’ beautifully encapsulates the leap made from pedagogy to andragogy within notions of adult learning: the qualitative differences in how children and adults learn (Knowles, 1980). It appears a stretch to imagine a real sense of partnership between a teacher and a room full of pupils and fortunately that is not our starting point. Our initial task is to construct a partnership between learner and enabler, student and practice teacher, mentor and mentee. We are dealing with how best to enable adults to develop a learning partnership, whilst reflecting on the impact of pedagogical experiences. This chapter aims to explore some key ideas in the construction of a learning partnership which, for all of our talk about partnership, can often be unequal in many regards. Having looked at different aspects of good practice in learning partnerships this chapter will later consider some specific aspects of mentoring, and the chapter as a whole tries to unpick how the notion of partnership can help learners learn. We shall define a learning partnership within social work practice as ‘a constructive relationship centred on enabling learning where partners manage the process of utilising learning opportunities for reflection, development and the evaluation and evidencing of professional practice’.
Audrey Beverley, Aidan Worsley

Chapter 3. Adult Learning

Abstract
This chapter will introduce the reader to the various factors influencing learning. Key messages from the different schools of thought will be highlighted to help the reader link the theory with his or her practice. Activities are included to help the readers identify factors which may influence the way that they learn. These activities can then be used with any learner with whom they are working to consider differences and similarities which may influence their learning relationship.
Audrey Beverley, Aidan Worsley

Chapter 4. Creating and Using Learning Opportunities

Abstract
This chapter will consider how to identify the learning needs of individuals using the National Occupational Standards (NOS) as a base, and how opportunities can be provided to enable learners to meet their needs and demonstrate competence in key roles. Enablers working with PQ learners will need to use both these standards and those relating to PQ skills and knowledge. ‘In the practice setting, there are considerable opportunities to learn from a well constructed workload and from other staff, without explicit teaching from a designated practice teacher’ (Evans, 1999, p. 32).
Audrey Beverley, Aidan Worsley

Chapter 5. Supervision

Abstract
Ask social workers what sequence of lectures, tutorials or seminars they recollect from their qualifying training and you may struggle to get more than vague memories. Ask them about their placements and their practice teacher and you can usually be offered an impressively detailed reminiscence. If the placement is remembered as the main body of professional learning, then supervision is the beating heart of the placement process — a place where the essence of the placement is distilled, mulled over and savoured for its learning; a place where those fundamental discussions about learning and the critical evaluation of performance are played out. The relatively intense nature of supervision between learner and enabler is another powerful factor in its appeal, as it often sharply contrasts with many qualified workers’ experience of supervision as an employee. In turn, our experience of supervision in qualifying training sets a tone and expectation of supervision that seems to follow us through our professional careers. Social workers often seek to re-create good experiences of such supervision in their relationships with learners and enablers — even line managers. Clearly this might not always be appropriate for the simple reason that not all supervision is, or should be, the same. Our starting point here is that whatever supervision is, it is vital for all those involved to create a shared understanding of the nature of their particular supervisory relationship. This chapter will explore some of the dynamics of supervision, unpicking aspects of its nature, processes and problems in an attempt to construct some notions of good supervisory practice.
Audrey Beverley, Aidan Worsley

Chapter 6. Reflective Practice

Abstract
The notion that social work and reflection go hand in hand is both persistent and powerful. Lines can be traced in educational literature on the subject and its application to social work back a number of decades (Dempsey et al., 2001; Gould and Taylor, 1996). Some arenas of learning, such as nursing, are coming to this particular table rather later (Burns and Bulman, 2000) — but a parade of authors have lined up stressing the relevance and importance of the concept and its application in practice for learners. And yet, as Graham Ixer (1999) quite rightly complains, its definition has always been ambiguous as well as contested. Whether one agrees with Ixer’s conclusion that there is ‘no such thing as reflection’ is another matter to which we will return. This chapter aims to draw out some of the key notions in understanding what reflection actually ‘is’, establishing its relevance to practitioners, learners and enablers and offering some activities and models to facilitate the reflective process.
Audrey Beverley, Aidan Worsley

Chapter 7. Evidencing and Assessing Competence

Abstract
This chapter will consider the purposes of assessment and the principles for undertaking a fair assessment. Assessment methods and the principles of constructive feedback will be discussed. When social workers undergoing training to become enablers are asked to give a definition of assessment invariably they refer to social work assessment. Their understanding of the processes they go through to make an assessment on a service user can easily be transferred to the ‘enabling’ arena: ‘Assessment in education can be thought of as occurring whenever one person in some kind of interaction, direct or indirect, with another, is conscious of obtaining and interpreting information about the knowledge and understanding, or abilities and attitudes of that other person’ (Rowntree, 1987, p. 4).
Audrey Beverley, Aidan Worsley

Chapter 8. Learning in a Multidisciplinary Setting

Abstract
One of the newer truths for social work is that its contemporary position lies increasingly within multidisciplinary settings, relationships and combinations of service delivery. Practitioners in the field find themselves relating to statutory, private, voluntary and independent sector agencies and staff — as well as across the professional boundaries of education and health. A natural corollary of this ongoing and persistent development is that learning often takes place within these multidisciplinary constructs. This is an important factor to be borne in mind when delivering or receiving learning, and this chapter aims to explore some of the issues that stem from this development. How do we help learners understand their own professional background and culture without creating prejudice about other professions? Perhaps the first question to ask is — is multidisciplinary working a good idea? A typical response to the question would probably look something like this:
All too often when people have complex needs spanning both health and social care good quality services are sacrificed for sterile arguments about boundaries. When this happens people, often the most vulnerable in our society … and those who care for them, find themselves in the no man’s land between health and social services … it is poor organisation, poor practice, poor use of taxpayer’s money — it is unacceptable. (DoH, 1998, p. 3)
Audrey Beverley, Aidan Worsley

Chapter 9. Dealing with Difficulties

Abstract
Despite the best-laid plans difficulties do occur in work-based learning. It would be tempting to say that if people followed the guidelines offered in the previous chapters then difficulties would be kept to a minimum, but they can, and do arise from a range of areas. This chapter attempts to categorise some of the sorts of difficulties that occur. The first section of this chapter deals with reasons why difficulties arise and makes some suggestions about how to deal with them. In the ‘people business’ inevitably categories are never clear-cut but overlap, so the reader should bear this in mind. The second section of the chapter considers the process of dealing with a learner who is not yet competent.
Audrey Beverley, Aidan Worsley

Conclusion

Abstract
Through the chapters of this book we have introduced the reader to the key components of successful programmes of learning in the social care workplace. The concept of ‘learning to learn’ has been central to the book, and we hope that it will help the busy people of Schön’s ‘swampy lowland’, learners and enablers alike, to develop the skills which will set them up as lifelong learners. Continual professional development is no longer a luxury to be indulged by the privileged few, but a necessity for all workers within the sector. As social care strives to respond to the changing needs of the population, the changing requirements of legislation, policy and procedure, and the changing environment of multi-professional working, the workforce in it needs to be adaptable, well trained and continually developing. Furthermore, the workforce needs to equip itself to be a driver for those changes that particularly affect service delivery, and moving beyond the merely reactive to being constructively proactive in shaping the services it delivers. Only in this way can we truly say that we are working in the service user’s best interests. Enablers should be (and should develop) agitators.
Audrey Beverley, Aidan Worsley
Additional information