SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHL522670
Module Leader Shelley Buckley
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Social Work
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

-108 Successful completion of Level 3 BA (Hons) Social Work/equivalent.

Summary of Content

Building on the knowledge gained over the course of the BA (Hons) Social Work Degree, Developing Critical Practice encourages and challenges students to consolidate and integrate learning. Located in Trimester B of the final year, the module draws together the practice and academic strands of the degree and acts as a springboard to post-qualifying practice. The aims of integrating learning and transitioning to employment are addressed by the dual focus on identifying effective social work practice and understanding and articulating professional identity. Running alongside Supervised Direct Practice Placement 2, Developing Critical Practice foregrounds students' placement experiences, using these to explore the transformative potential of interventions, set against the complexity of 'real world' social work contexts, including professional and organisational responsibilities and constraints. Thus, direct practice examples serve as the basis for critical reflection and analysis.


-284 1. Critical definitions of social work. 2. Articulating learning and professional identity: critically analysing, reflecting and justifying practice. 3. Dealing with ethical dilemmas. 4. Developing professional relationships and boundaries. 5. Sustaining openness and critical reflection. 6. Developing means of self-care and resilience. 7. Dealing with uncertainty and managing the demands of professional practice. 8. Exploring practice learning experiences in the contexts of criminal justice, substance misuse, working with children, working with adults, working with older people, mental health and disability.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of social work practice that integrates most of the core principal core concepts, theories, models and methods of social work practice.2. Demonstrate a critical ability to address ethical dilemmas and practice anti-oppressively.3. Critically reflect, evaluate and analyse the impact of social work practice on service users.4. Demonstrate critical awareness of professional identity and impact of 'self' on social work practice.5. Demonstrate ability to verbally articulate and present an account of own professional development.6. Demonstrate strategies for self-care and managing demands of post-qualifying practice.7. Critically review and consolidate social work knowledge, skills practices and thought.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Delivered in a workshop and seminar format, the LTAS is based on Constructive Developmental Pedagogy's (Magolda, 1999) principles of discursive and interactive learning, structured around students' experiences. Thus didactic teaching is kept to a minimum, with directed reading/other preparatory activities provided in advance of workshops, thereby allowing these to be used for group-work and discussion. Similarly, seminars provide students with opportunities to critically reflect on their practice and their developing social worker identities. Running alongside SDP2, students are asked to use case examples in workshop and seminar discussions. To enhance the module's transferability objectives, service users, ex-students and practitioners are invited to co-facilitate workshops in order to embed learning in 'real-life' experiences. Further, the assessment strategy addresses transition to post-qualifying practice, with the inclusion of a formative 'interview-style' presentation on the development of professional identity. The summative assignment is a reflective analytical study based on practice experience from SDP2.

Indicative Reading

Adams, R., 2018. Empowerment, Participation and Social Work. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan. Adams, R., Dominelli, L. and Payne, M., 2009. Developing Critical Practice in Social Work. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan. Braye, S. and Preston-Shoot, M., 1995. Empowering Practice in Social Care. Buckingham, Open University Press. Dominelli, L., 2017. Anti-Racist Social Work. Basingstoke, Macmillan International Higher Education. Dyke, C., 2019. Writing Analytical Assessments in Social Work. Critical Publishing. Fenton, J., 2016. Values in Social Work: Reconnecting with Social Justice. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan. Grey, M. and Webb, S. eds., 2013. The New Politics of Social Work, London: Palgrave Macmillan. Janet, W., 2008. Service User and Carer Participation in Social Work. London, Learning Matters, Sage. Horner, N., 2019. What is Social Work?: Contexts and Perspectives. London, Sage. Howe, D., Kohli, R., Smith, M., Parkinson, C., McMahon, L., Solomon, R., Simmonds, J., Cooper, A., Dutton, J., Fairclough, A. and Walsh, J., 2018. Relationship-Based Social Work: Getting to the Heart of Practice. London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Lavalette, M. and Penkith, L., 2014. Race, Racism and Social Work: Contemporary Issues and Debates. Cambridge, The Polity Press. Leadwith, M. and Springet, J., 2010. Participatory Practice: Community-Based Action for Transformative Change. Bristol, Polity Press. Lindsay, T. and Alton, S., 2008. Group Work Practice in Social Work. London: Learning Matters, Sage. Lukes, S., 2004. Power: A Radical View. Basingstoke, MacMillan. Oko, J., 2011. Understanding and Using Theory in Social Work. London, Learning Matters, Sage. Payne, M., 2014. Modern Social Work Theory. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan. Thompson, N., 2012. Anti-Discriminatory Practice: Equality, Diversity and Social Justice. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan Trevithick, P. 2012. Social Work Skills and Knowledge: A Practice Handbook. Open University Press Wilson, K., Ruch, G., Lymbery, M and Cooper, A., 2011. Social Work: An Introduction to Contemporary Practice. Harlow, Longman Rogers, M. and Allen, D., 2019. Applying Critical Thinking and Analysis in Social Work. London, Sage. Trotter, C., 2006. Working with Involuntary Clients: A Guide to Practice. London, Sage. Smith, S., 2008. Social Work and Power. London, Palgrave MacMillan. Williams, C. and Graham, M.J. eds., 2016. Social Work in a Diverse Society: Transformative Practice with Black and Minority Ethnic Individuals and Communities. Cambridge, Polity Press.

Transferrable Skills

-284 1. Critical reflection. 2. Developing resilience and strategies for self-care. 3. Communication and practical skills. 4. Integrating learning. 5. Making the transition to practice.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 144.00
Practicals (FT) 18.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00
Seminars (FT) 18.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 100.00 40% Reflective Analytical Study 3000 words
Course Work 02 n/a 0.00 40% Interview style presentation: 10 minute on developing professional identity, followed by 10 minute question/discussion