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SOWK405 Social Work Issues Across the Lifespan

A lifespan perspective on issues encountered in social work practice.

This paper argues that practice based solely on the ecological approach fails to take into account time as a key dimension. Individuals and their wh?ünau are tracked through time, taking into consideration past and future selves to improve well-being and advance social justice. It integrates theory, literature, and practice to prepare students to engage in praxis, as defined by Paulo Freire: "reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it" (Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1970). Effective use of self is an important theme throughout, and a range of narrative and discursive approaches will be used to enhance student abilities and awareness in this area.

Paper title Social Work Issues Across the Lifespan
Paper code SOWK405
Subject Social Work
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2018
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,312.10
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,352.87

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126 300-level SOWK or SOWX points
SOWK 505, SOWX 405
Limited to
Non-BSW students may be admitted to this paper with approval from the Head of Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work.
This paper is designed primarily for social work students and is also open to those from cognate disciplines and backgrounds who seek to understand human development and social work intervention using a lifespan perspective.
Teaching staff
Co-ordinator and Lecturer: Professor Amanda Barusch
Tutor: not yet assigned
Paper Structure
Key topics will include:
  • Theories of adult development, particularly the work of Paul Baltes
  • Themes reflected in human development across the lifespan, such as continuity/change and vulnerability/resilience
  • Unique considerations in work with older adults, particularly the dynamics of adult development and ageing
  • The interaction between self and community as it shapes the experiences of older adults
  • Special considerations in work with vulnerable groups
  • Social work intervention informed by a lifespan perspective
Teaching Arrangements
There will be compulsory workshops for this paper; information about these will be provided with the course books. Other teaching arrangements include videoconferencing, Blackboard and other distance technology.
There is no set text. Readings will be available on Blackboard.
Course outline
This will be provided with the course book.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Critical thinking.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
This paper will focus on older adults, using a lifespan perspective to discuss issues encountered in social work practice, such as the ability to apply knowledge and skills to assess the needs and strengths of older adults and their families and an understanding of the impacts of family, social and cultural contexts on adult development and ageing.

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Not offered in 2018

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system