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Using the three quotations provided, how might you draw upon Emotional Intelligence as a social work student in your first period of study?

Personal and Professional Development Portfolio

Learning Tasks document

There are fourteen tasks within the PPDP document.  These tasks are designed to support you to develop in your first year of study. 

Please undertake the tasks as well as read the resources in the main PPDP document which will support your completion of the tasks. 

Learning Tasks

1)                HCPC Regulation

2)                Understanding learning styles

3)                Enabling Deeper Learning

4)                Responding to being challenged

5)                Debate, Discussion and Critical Thinking

6)                Feeling powerless

7)                How we work with service users

8)                Reflecting on the Social Work task

9)                Social Work as a moral activity

10)              Social Media Use

11)              Social work a “Contested and Complex” occupation

12)              Time management

13)              Social Work and Emotional Intelligence

Task 1 - Regulation

The social work profession is regulated by Social Work England (SWE).  All qualified social work practitioners are now required to register with this body.  There is new guidance in terms of professional standards for social workers and it is essential that you familiarise yourself with these

For your PPDP, you are expected to download a copy of the SWE professional standards and further sign below to confirm acceptance of these.  Please insert a hard copy in your PPDP folder.

I………………………………….(Insert Your name) agree to abide by the terms and conditions of the SWE professional standards during the course of my programme at Edge Hill University.  If at any time I feel that I may have breached any of these, or be likely to do so, I will speak to my tutor or another member of the programme team as soon as possible.



How we learn:  Surface and deep approaches             

People take in and process information in different ways (Beverley and Worsley, 2007).  Some theorists divide people into `types` such as visual or kinaesthetic learners (Cottrell, 1999) however the important aspect is that as an adult student you can identify  individual strengths and any particular gaps in your learning processes, in order that you make the most of your higher education journey.

Learning Task 2 - Understanding learning styles

Consider  your previous experiences of learning (this could be either formal or informal) what type of the aforementioned strategies highlighted in the diagram did you find useful?   Why was this? 

Biggs (2003) suggests that there is a distinction between surface and deep approaches to learning.    Surface learning is undertaken when a student wants to `just get it over with`, with minimal effort to meet the requirements of the course. (Biggs, 2003)  Thus,  surface learning does not develop a broad understanding of issues due to limited research of a topic and this impacts on the capacity to develop a coherent argument and any analysis (Entwistle et al., 2001)   

In contrast, a deep approach to learning involves becoming actively interested in the subject matter presented, with consideration of underlying themes and issues, thinking abstractly and making links between ideas and previous knowledge (Biggs, 2003).

Learning Task 3 - Enabling Deeper Learning

Consider how you have undertaken academic work      previously, have your approaches enabled deeper learning - answer honestly!

Think about the strategies that you have utilised in the past, how might these be enhanced in order to enhance overall learning?

How might you overcome barriers that could impede learning?

Consider why it is important for social work students to develop a broad understanding of the range of subjects that will be covered within the degree programme?

Deeper learning may involve examining established personal belief systems (Walker, 2009).  It is not unusual upon a social work programme that some of these inherent beliefs that individuals hold may be challenged,  however the course is designed to enable students to consider issues constructively and within a safe environment. 

`It is important that students recognise that openness to looking at issues in different ways a and having their ideas questioned will assist them in effective learning` (Walker, 2009, p 6)

Learning Task 4 - Responding to being challenged

Think about how you respond when your ideas are challenged.  Do you:

  1. Become defensive about your ideas?
  2. Feel hurt and angry that you haven`t been listened to?
  3. Interrupt and argue back before the challenger has had a chance to explain their position?    
  4. Agree with the challenge to avoid conflict?
  5. Find it very easy to look at an issue from a different perspective?
  6. Find it difficult to put the arguments to defend your position?
  7. Take some time to think about the other person`s point?
  8. Weigh up the arguments for and against the other person`s ideas
  9. Try to identify the reasons for holding your viewpoint?
  10.  Explore the reasons for holding the viewpoint are important to you?        (Taken from Walker, 2009)

Take some time to consider where you might currently place yourself within this list?  Write a short paragraph about why you might respond in the way that you do?

The Critical Friend

The Social Work Programme will encourage discussion, analysis and debate.  Often this will be in groups or pairs, hopefully encouraging `critical` friendships.  `A critical friend is someone who likes and respects you; who is happy to be a sounding board for your thoughts and ideas; who helps you to be self-questioning; who will be comfortable and confident to challenge you - and with whom you feel safe to explore ideas` (Redmond, 2006 cited in Walker, 2009 p 12)

Learning Task 5 ­-Debate, Discussion and Critical Thinking

Consider why it is important for students studying on a social work degree to debate and discuss ideas, list three that are the most significant to you.

What is critical?

In professional life, and especially when working with others, users of social care services, their carers, colleagues and other professionals, you will be developing a sensitivity to appreciate positions of which you have no experience.  You will need to be careful that you don’t

1)     Unintentionally misuse your power

2)     Misunderstand key issues of discrimination and oppression

3)     Fail to recognise significant events

4)     Minimise the need to take action   (Jones, 2009, p2)

And that you do

1)   Step back and reflect on the practice and that of others

2)   Recognise the potential for discrimination and oppression

3)   Consider a wide range of influential factors

4)    Take informed action where there is actual or potential   risk   (Jones,  2009, p2)

Learning Task 6 - Feeling powerless

Take some time to consider an event that may have occurred in your own life when you have felt powerless.  Give a brief description of this event and reflect upon the impact that this may have had in the short or long term.  It is not necessary to discuss personal intimate details just a brief overview of the scenario is necessary.

Learning Task 7 - How we work with service users

Giving consideration to learning task 6, what lessons have you learnt about how you may work with service users?

Learning Task 8 - Reflecting on the Social Work task

The Principles and Values of Social Work

The principles of social justice and human rights are basic to social work.  The International Federation of Social Workers define this as

`The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being.  Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work.` (2014)

Reflect upon this definition and briefly consider how this might influence you as a student social worker?

Learning Task 9 - Social Work as a Moral Activity

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2008) has referred to social work as a moral activity, and, as such, social work education must include a study of ethical principles and values. 

How do you define `moral activity` and how might this concept influence you as a social work student?

Learning Task 10 - Social Media Use

Please consider the following:

HCPC sanctions social worker over Facebook posts

Mother in child protection case complained after finding the social worker`s Facebook comments about the case via Google

By Luke Stevenson on September 10, 2014 in Fitness to practise, Supervision, Workforce

Photo: REX/Alex Segre

A social worker has been given a 12-month conditions of practice order by the HCPC after posting comments on Facebook about a child protection court case.

The social worker posted on the social networking site: “I’m in court tomorrow for a case where there is a high level of domestic violence amongst many things…” and after the trial finished posted: “It’s powerful to know that…children’s lives have just massively changed for the better and now they are safe and protected from harm and have every hope for the future…”

One of the posts was accompanied by a small map, pinpointing the location of the court.

The HCPC’s conduct and competence committee found the comments to be “disrespectful and insensitive” in tone and could have led to a breach of confidentiality for the family involved in the case.

The social worker told the HCPC committee that “she had believed that her Facebook page was accessible only to her ‘friends’, not the wider public as a result of her privacy settings”. However the post was publicly available and was found by her manager through a Google search of her name.

The social worker was informed after posting the comments that Facebook privacy settings can be affected by software upgrades and she acknowledged that her privacy settings had been “materially altered” during the months leading up to the offending posts. As a result any member of the public was able to see her posts.

Mrs A, the mother of the children in the case, made a complaint after she searched for the social worker on Google and found the posts, which she said she was “disgusted” by.

A number of the social worker’s 100 Facebook friends worked within the social work profession and the panel said they may have been more able to identify the family from their professional knowledge. The HCPC committee also considered the maintenance of public confidence in the profession after the comments were covered in the local press.

In its conclusion the panel said that the maintenance of public confidence in the profession would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not to be made in this case.

It concluded that standards about acting in the best interest of service users, respecting the confidentiality of service users, high standards of personal conduct and behaving in a way that does not damage the public’s confidence in the profession had been breached and as such the social worker’s fitness to practice was “impaired”.

As it was the first serious failing in the social worker’s 15-year career, the committee concluded that a suspension order would be disproportionate.

The panel reasoned that whilst the family in question were not named, sufficient details were made public that could have led to their identification and said it was not reassured that, even now, the social worker “fully recognised the unacceptability of her misconduct” because she did not demonstrate full insight into her sole responsibility for it.

“She said that if her manager, sitting next to her when two of the comments were posted, had told her to take them down she would have done so immediately,” the panel said in its decision. “She also decried the general lack of support and professional supervision available to her during this time and the long working hours needed to manage her caseload.”

Nonetheless, it concluded that as the social worker was being accompanied by a manager meant supervision and support would have been available, and that it was her responsibility to seek it out.

The panel imposed a 12-month conditions of practice order, which requires the social worker to be under the supervision of a social work line manager registered with the HCPC, with whom she must meet on a monthly basis. She will also be required to submit two reflective overviews in the 12-month period that contain evidence of what she has learned from these meetings.

Learning Task

Reflect upon the previous article, note down your initial thoughts and feelings?  What might the response of placement provider or University be to a similar scenario with a student?

Write down your reflections here:

When you have done this, look at the HCPC guidance on Social Media Use: https://www.hcpc-uk.org/assets/documents/1000553EGuidanceonsocialmedia.pdf

Learning Task 11

Social work:  A “Contested and Complex” occupation?

Social Work is considered as being a `contested and complex` occupation.  Deliberate upon the following situation that has received significant media attention

Ashya King’s parents remanded in custody as judge considers extradition

Couple who removed son with brain tumour from Southampton hospital tell Spanish court they do not want to be extradited

Spanish police guard a van in which Ashya King’s parents arrived at court. Photograph: Andrea Comas/Reuters

The parents of Ashya King, who removed the five-year-old cancer patient from a Southampton hospital during treatment for a brain tumour, are being held in separate Spanish prisons after refusing to be extradited back to Britain.

Brett King and his wife, Naghmeh, can be held for a maximum of 72 hours as a Madrid judge considers whether to grant an extradition request, while their seriously ill son is cared for at a children’s hospital in Málaga. His condition is said to be stable.

Juan Isidro Fernandez, a lawyer for the parents, said the couple, who took Ashya from Southampton General hospital, were “sad and desperate” as they sought new treatment for the child and had been “slandered and had their reputation destroyed”.

The couple, from Portsmouth, were arrested on Saturday at a hotel in Vélez-Málaga after boarding a cross-Channel ferry with Ashya and his six siblings, then driving to Spain.

The Crown Prosecution Service said the case was under “immediate review” and that a decision would be made on whether to prosecute. A spokesman said it had applied for the arrest warrant on Friday “at the request of Hampshire police for an offence of cruelty to a person under the age of 16 years”.

A still from a video showing Brett King with his son Ashya. Photograph: Naveed King/YouTube/PA

It also emerged that Ashya had been made a ward of court after Portsmouth city council obtained a temporary order on Friday at the request of the Southampton hospital that he be “presented for medical treatment”. That order is due to be reviewed on Wednesday. It means, in effect, that the local authority takes on parental responsibilities and that any decisions regarding his welfare must be approved by the court.

Ashya has been under police guard since Saturday, with his family prevented from visiting him. His oldest brother, Danny, 23, was hoping to be allowed to see him on Monday.

Another of his brothers, Naveed, 20, told Channel 4 News: “We’re not allowed to go and see Ashya at all. There is police standing outside his hospital room. We are not allowed to go and see him. We have tried to call the hospital but they are not revealing any information at all to us. My mum was by his [Ashya’s] side for the whole month that he was in hospital so for him to now suddenly not be with anyone of the family … his health might actually deteriorate because he can’t be entertained and be happy.”

His parents, who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, appeared before the private hearing at the audiencia nacional – Spain’s central criminal court – in Madrid on Monday morning. A lengthy legal battle against extradition may now begin.

The couple’s lawyer said outside court that the two had hoped to sell an apartment they owned near Málaga to raise funds for proton beam therapy to treat Ashya’s tumour. The treatment, not routinely available in the UK, is a form of radiotherapy used to treat some cancers that damages less healthy tissue compared with conventional x-ray-based treatments. The NHS can offer it in some cases, but patients have to be sent abroad. The Kings claim the UK hospital refused to give Ashya the treatment.

If the Spanish court agrees to extradition, they can appeal, and hearings could drag on for months. Fernandez added that the court had ordered that they be kept in preventive custody while the judge considered medical and other documents.

“Our understanding is that when the hospital reports arrive, the parents will be released and will have complete freedom to take their son to another hospital, which is what they are looking for.”

He said Ashya was being treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy in the UK but his parents were looking to obtain the proton beam treatment in Prague. “The parents love their children dearly and much of what’s been said about them is manipulations and lies,” he added.

They did not need permission to remove Ashya from the hospital, the lawyer said, “because if you are a parent, you have custody”. He said the couple were considering legal action for slander and false detention.

Hampshire police sought the arrest warrant claiming that Ashya was in “grave danger” and the battery of his tube feeding unit was likely to run down on Friday.

The family have posted several videos on YouTube. In one, Ashya’s father said they had no option but to remove him from Southampton, claiming the family feared he would be made the subject of an emergency protection order.

Brett King talks about the decision to remove Ashya from Southampton General hospital.

In another, one of Ashya’s brothers, Naveed, 20, said they had plentiful supplies of the food he was being tube-fed at Southampton, and that there was a power charger for the feeding unit.

Naveed King’s YouTube video

Danny King said the family only became aware of the international search when they arrived in Spain and went online. “We never thought this would be such a big deal. We just wanted to do what’s best for Ashya,” he told the BBC, adding that the whole family was devastated. He said his mother had spent a month and a half at Ashya’s hospital bedside, and being separated from him was extremely hard for everyone.

The family had found it incredibly difficult not being able to visit Ashya in hospital. “They did allow a voice recording that was set up to be played to Ashya ... I’m grateful that the doctors appreciate how important it is for Ashya just to hear the voice of one of his brothers,” Danny said.

“We’re not oblivious, his life will be shorter than most kids, but we want his quality of life to be the best. We’ve done so much research on all treatment that is available to Ashya – I know that side effects for the proton beam therapy are less and he would have more or less a normal life if he received that treatment. We know it’s not a miracle treatment.”

The Proton Therapy Centre in Prague confirmed it was able to treat Ashya immediately if he was eligible for proton therapy, with the cost of the treatment to be sorted out later. However, his doctors in Britain would have to agree to the treatment. Treatment of paediatric tumours at the centre costs £60,000-£65,000.

Ashya with his mother, Naghmeh Photograph: Observer

Southampton General hospital’s medical director, Dr Michael Marsh, said he regretted that its relationship with the Kings had broken down. He said they discussed proton beam therapy with the family, but said sometimes there “isn’t the evidence that this is a beneficial treatment”.

Marsh said that there was real concern for Ashya’s welfare when he went missing and the hospital had no idea what his parents intentions were. He added: “The chances of surviving the condition Ashya has are about 70-80% after five years so we believe that he has a good chance of a successful outcome provided he gets access to the most appropriate treatment.”

The Brain Tumour Charity said on Monday that the isolation of Ashya from his parents was “fundamentally and morally unacceptable”.

Sarah Lindsell, chief executive, said: “Whatever the facts of the situation facing Ashya King’s family, The Brain Tumour Charity knows, from its experience of working with families over many years, that separating a desperately ill child from their family has significant emotional and psychological consequences.

Learning Task 11

Consider the events that have taken place. 

Why do you think that the various parties involved (that is, parents, police, medical staff and the local authority) made the decisions that they did?

What do you feel the impact these decisions had on Ashya?

Do you have a particular view about what was the best option for Ashya?

Write down your reflections here:

Learning Task 12 – Time Management


This task is based on the “Making More Hours in the day” resources in the main PPDP document.  Having read this resource, reflect on how you might organise your time more effectively, get organised and plan for academic work.

Write down three ways in which you might do the following:




Learning Task 13 – Social Work and Emotional Intelligence


The importance of emotional Intelligence to social work

This Task is based on the article located on blackboard by Morrison, T. Emotional Intelligence, Emotion and Social Work: Context, Characteristics, Complications and Contribution in British Journal of Social Work (2007) 37, 245 - 263.

Morrison argues that understanding and handling emotions is integral to social work. The article examines the role of EI in 5 core social work tasks: engagement of users; assessment and observation; decision making; collaboration & co - operation and dealing with stress. Professional competence as noted by Morrison requires an `ability to use relationships to address service users` needs. This requires the capacity to handle both one`s own and others` emotions effectively` p.245

Morrison argues that EI is not only essential to be an effective social worker but it is a positive attribute in social work staff in terms of their effective contribution to organisations. In terms of your employability your personal and professional development should chart your awareness of, attention to, and development of emotional intelligence. This therefore is an important component of your PDP. From our perspective as educators and mentors we see your emotional intelligence as instrumental in your successful journey from social work student to professionally qualified social worker. We therefore want you to start reflecting upon this concept from the very beginning of your social work programme. Read the extracts provided from the article by Morrison and complete the reflection task identified below.

Reflective TASK

Using the three quotations provided, how might you draw upon Emotional Intelligence as a social work student in your first period of study?

A definition of Emotional Intelligence, Goleman (1996)

“Being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations; to control impulse and delay gratification; to regulate one`s moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think; to empathise and to hope.”  (cited in Morrison 2007)

Morrison (2007) notes it was Salovey and Mayer (1990) that first used the term `emotional intelligence`:

“To describe a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one`s own and others` feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one`s thinking and action.”

And Shulman (1999) encapsulates the relevance for practitioners when he states

“The capacity to be in touch with the client`s feelings is related to the worker`s ability to acknowledge his/her own. Before a worker can understand the power of emotion in the life of the client, it is necessary to discover its importance in the worker`s own experience.” (Cited in Morrison, 2007).

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