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Ethics and Values BA Hons Social Work


Just wondered if anyone could point me in the right direction, I have failed my Ethics and Values assignment and need some guidance, I thought I had done a good job but obviously not when I got a 35% grade. The title of the assignment is: ANALYSE YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES OF PRIVILEGE, POWER AND DIFFERENCE WITH REFERENCE TO THE WAYS IH WHICH YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THESE HAS CHANGED DURING THE COURSE OF THIS MODULE.

My assignment is below:

"Power is something people use and create rather than simply possess. It is not a commodity, but rather a factor which is given life through processes and structures of social interaction." (Fook, 2007, pg 52).

Power equals regulations, procedures and laws in social care may be said to disempower people. Power is exercised in relationships and not in institutions or procedures.

I have used Neil Thompson's PCS (Personal, Cultural and Structural) levels, (Thompson 2000) to structure my assignment.
I currently work within a homeless hostel with service users who have different issues and reasons for living in a hostel environment. I was working with a nineteen year old female who had a child from a previous relationship and prior to moving into the hostel. The child and her family were known to Social Services due to episodes of domestic violence within the family home. The service user came from a middle class family and lived with her mum and step father, who supported her in her decisions. However, the family broke down due to the domestic violence and the service user returning to her partner who tortured her in front of their child. Within days of this female residing in the unit, she had slept with 90% of the males and had broken some hearts. As co-worker to the service user my professional role was to speak to her regarding her promiscuous behaviour and the animosity she was causing within the unit. The power that I had was 'power of authority' as I was a member of staff. I explained the consequences to her of her behaviour and that the way she was behaving could result in her losing her bed. If she lost her bed she also risked not getting her child back, due to showing no stability or commitment to show that she is capable to be a mum and has the ability and maturity to be a full time mum.

At the time of working with this young service user I felt that I needed to be in a position of control and I used my power and privilege to ensure that this young woman did not perpetuate the cycle of deprivation, which had become her social norm due to her social influences. Since completing this module I now understand that my position of power, privilege and difference influenced my decision at that time. My practice could seen as oppressive, controlling and discriminatorily, completing this module has enabled me to recognise this and made me think about my practise in terms of the position of power and influence I have in people's lives.

Every person works differently with regards to their emotions, therefore people can put themselves at risk by saying something in a misinterpreting way. If there is so to speak 'no love loss' always make sure that there are two colleagues present so that nothing can be wrongly interpreted.

My personal values include life and family. The reason for this is because four years ago I had to make a decision that would change my life dramatically. I was informed by medical professions that I suffer from a heart condition and would require a heart operation. After many months of tests and trips to various hospitals I discovered I was pregnant. 15 weeks into my pregnancy my world fell to pieces, my heart consultant gave me two options, terminate my baby or die giving birth. I had power and knowledge of what resources were available to me for me to make the right decision. I contacted professionals who provided me with guidance and support. Thankfully I made the right decision; I gave birth to a healthy baby girl by emergency caesarean due to having preeclampsia. Six months after having my daughter I underwent heart surgery and being put on a life support machine due to complications and I recovered three months later. I had the power to stay strong and be there for my daughter.

I value my family as at the age of twelve I lost my father to medical reasons.
I value my education as hopefully once I qualify as a Social Worker I can make a future for my daughter and my family, to give them a stable life and a successful future.

Oppression - my own opinion to explain oppression structurally is, for example, living in a town predominantly with black or asian people also that most men are in power.

Our personal and professional values will continue to influence our own actions, even though we may not even realise it.
The difference between personal and professional values include, "professional values can be distinguished from personal values, in that personal values may not be shared by all members of an occupational group, for example, a person who works as a social worker may have a personal belief that abortion is wrong, but this is not one of the underlying principles of social work". (Banks, 2006, pg 7).

Another example could be a clash in personal and professional ways of the way people work ethically, for example, confidentially and anti-discriminatory, if you work with a sex offender and you dislike people who sexually assault vulnerable people.

Confidentiality is "to enable a client to feel comfortable enough to discuss sensitive, personal matters, it is important that they feel that they are able to speak openly without the information they provide being made widely available. That is, confidentiality is necessary as a basis for social work interventions based on trust and honesty. Biestek expresses the idea in the following terms:

'Confidentiality is the preservation of secret information concerning the client which is disclosed in the professional relationship. Confidentiality is based on a basic right of the client: it is an ethical obligation of the caseworker and is necessary for effective casework service. The client's right, however, is not absolute. Moreover, the client's secret is often shared with other professional persons within the agency and in other agencies; the obligation then binds all equality. (1961, pg 121), (Thompson, 2005, pg 116).

Using power I was able to challenge an individual. Whilst working at the homeless hostel I have had to deal with a number of different people, there was one occasion where I had to deal with a particular client who came for a bed and told us he was homeless as we have to check our files and ban books, I asked the gentleman for his name, (he gave me a false name), I went and looked up his details and couldn't find him in the ban book or on file. I started to do the admission when he told me that he had a car parked on hostels car park, as the car park is privately owned by Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council I asked the gentleman for his driving license, insurance documents and a valid MOT certificate, he gave me these without hesitation. I went to photocopy his documents and noticed that the driving licence and insurance documents had a different name to the name he gave me on admission. To be on the safe side I went to double check the name and I came across his name in the ban book and on file, the gentleman was in fact banned from the hostel due to being a Schedule one offender and for assaults on residents and staff in various hostels. I went back into the interview room to confirm details and the gentleman told me that both his names where correct and in use. I called my colleague for assistance as the gentleman started to become a little aggressive and abusive towards me, I tried to calm the gentleman down but he started to become threatening, as there where another 28 people in the hostel I decided the best thing to do was to contact police to come and remove the gentleman from the unit.

At the start of this module I was oblivious to the ongoing issues within the society relating to power, race and religion and difference is a white global issue. As a white woman brought up as a catholic, I realise and understand that there are other religions and cultures and different beliefs and values. I understand that Christianity is not the only religion.

At the end of the module I have realised that we all believe in different values and opinions, which all roll into the same answer, we are all human who have their own power and privileges to make their own decisions, to be respectful and non-judgemental

I am open to constructive criticism,
Many Thanks


I'm not sure where your thesis is. The prompt asks you to address 3 things: privelage, power and difference so your thesis statement should address all of these areas.

This sentence:"Power equals regulations, procedures and laws in social care may be said to disempower people."
Seems to contradict this sentence: "Power is exercised in relationships and not in institutions or procedures."

I am a little unsure where you have made your paragraph cut-offs as you seem to have on paragraph that is just a quote and then an intro paragraph that is two sentences long.

First you will need to come up with your thesis. Make sure that it addresses all aspects of the prompt not just one. I would maybe suggest making body paragraphs based on the 3 things(privelage, power, and difference) that the prompt asks about.

The first paragraph is your introduction paragraph and should include: Your thesis statement, the main ideas for all of you body paragraphs, and a hook. A safe way I go for making my thesis worthwhile is to make sure that it answers a why question and not just a how or what question. Why questions will always send you deeper into what you are studying.

Make sure that each body paragraphs has only one main idea that is sumed up into one sentence at the begining of the paragraph (the topic sentence). Everything in that paragraph should build on, support, or elaborate on that main idea. You can use your personal experiences such as your time spent at a hostel as support for your main ideas.

So make a thesis, intro paragraph and the body paragraphs and repost them here. You can use much of what you have already written so long as you organize it correctly and stay on the topic of whatever paragraph you are in. Good luck!
EF_KevinThreads: 8
Posts: 13,840
[Contributor] 129  
Mar 7, 2009   #3
First thing I notice is a mistake with the APA in-text citation:

...social interaction." (Fook, 2007, pg 52).

You don't need the period after "interaction". When you cits a source, do it like this:

...social interaction" (Fook, 2007, pg 52).

Second thing I notice is that you do a paragraph break after the first and second sentence, and instead you should just keep it one paragraph.

Okay, as for the points you make, it is all excellent! However, do take Gautama's advice and make a strong first paragraph where you tell the main idea of the essay. This is complex, because the essay is about 3 different things. Therefore, the intro paragraph might be long -- say, 6 or 7 sentences. Introduce the three ideas, and tell the reader what you are going to say about them. Let the personal stories serve as examples of the thesis statement, which you will add to the intro paragraph.

At the end, use a conclusion para to restate the thesis. Even though this is a modular assignment, specific to the class discussion/readings, you still should organize the piece within the frame of a thesis/intro at the start and a reflective conclusion para at the end.

As I have said before, THANK YOU Tyler for being so awesome!!!

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