Social work and social care

Values, Ethics and Theories: preparing for complexity in Social Work Practice

Module code: L5091
Level 4
15 credits in spring & summer teaching
Teaching method: Seminar, Workshop
Assessment modes: Coursework

In this module you will build on the work you did earlier in the year but with a particular focus on professional formation through considerations of values, ethics and theories in social work.

The module brings social work theory to the fore and emphasises its importance for practice. A range of different social work theories are presented and analysed.

The module examines the historical development and contemporary expression of social work values and ethics. It also considers the use of codes of ethics and codes of practice as well as the ethical and value basis to theories.

The module will use case studies to tie the theoretical and ethical discussions to the reality of practice situations in order to better preapre students for future placements.

Module content will include: anti oppressive/anti discrimatory values in social work; ethics based on principles; ethics based on character; radical theories of social work; liberal/conservative theories of social work; psychodynamic theories and social work; attachment theory and social work; systems theories/ecological approaches; social work and postmodernism.

Module learning outcomes

  • Identify ethical dilemmas in a practice situation and discuss how competing interests and priorities might be weighed up.
  • Evidence through discussion the complex relationship between personal and professional ethics
  • Demonstrate through accurate description, knowledge and understanding of social work theories and how such theories can inform practice.
  • Discuss social work values, ethics and theories specifically in relation to the concept of anti-oppressive practice.