Integrating the teaching, learning and assessment of communication with children within the qualifying social work curriculum

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Qualifying social work education must provide students with a variety of experiential, personalized, participatory, didactic and critically reflective learning opportunities across both the taught curriculum and in practice placements if deep learning of the capabilities needed for effective communication with children and young people is to be ensured. At present, programmes in England are not consistent in the curriculum structures, content and pedagogical approaches they are employing to teach and assess this topic. This paper discusses first how current proposals for the reform of qualifying education in England do not address the ambiguities and discretion in regulatory guidance, which have meant that the place and relevance of this topic within the curriculum remain uncertain and contested. It then draws on a model of the sequencing of students' learning and development in qualifying training, developed through the author's recent empirical research, to present an integrated and coherent approach to the teaching, learning and assessment of this topic. It is proposed that this strategy will enable students to develop the generic, ‘child-focused’ and ‘applied child-specialist’ capabilities they need for the ‘knowing’, ‘being’ and ‘doing’ of effective communication with children.

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