Mind Map by selinaward, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by selinaward almost 7 years ago


K218 Working with children, young people and families Mind Map on Democracy, created by selinaward on 05/13/2013.

Resource summary

1 Democratic societies are defined by the values and principles of both individuals and organisations.
1.1 The basic principles defining democracy could be considered as; the right to vote, respect for diversity, equality, privacy, freedom of expression, justice and egalitarianism
1.1.1 Democracy and the language associated with democracy are important everyday values that should be embedded in the relationships of practitioners working with children and young people Democratic values aim to promote positive ways in which these relationships can be developed e.g. treating people with respect, empowering individuals and promoting inclusion. Demos states the idea of everyday democracy means empowering individuals over decisions that affect their lives, whilst encouraging them to be the owner of their own script Foley (2011) supports the view of Demos that everyday democracy involves families, community, services and the spaces they occupy Foley (2011) argues there is often an in-balance of power, meaning adults and children often have very different experiences of everyday democracy. For example, Foley (2011) states, within a school environment children are not empowered to decide what and how they study because adults often excerpt power over processes and outcomes Foley (2011) mentions that policy and and practice in the UK is changing to find better ways of involving children and young people in decision making. For example, many schools are now participating in schools councils such as “Hear by Right” which aims to promote the views of children and young people by incorporating them in decision making, which in-turn helps promote democratic language and values
2 It is essential that all practitioners working with children and young people promote values which uphold ethical practice. Values should be considered alongside practice codes, principles and rules to ensure ethical practice when making decisions
2.1 However, it is important to consider that the decisions being made by practitioners may also be affected by their own personal values, principles and beliefs. These personal values could have a major influence on how practitioners engage with children and young people in practice
2.1.1 We see an example of good practice values in audio clip 2.4 where Lesley a health worker states that values are important in her role because it reminds her to be “non-judgemental and open-minded when working with different types of families” These are typical everyday democratic values that should be used by practitioners to promote good practice behaviours In-contrast practitioners can also adopt bad practice behaviours which are based on their own personal values and beliefs. For example, a researcher named Chak (2011), described how after observing a child playing she quickly stereotyped her as “nosy and bossy”. The researcher was making assumptions based on her personal values, rather than a professional observation which could have a negative effect on how she interacts with this child To reduce incidents like this, legislation and rights frameworks can be used by practitioners to guide practice and ensure democracy and ethical practice values are being upheld For example, key legislation frameworks such as, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) promotes three key areas; participation, protection and provision. Practitioners can use such frameworks when approaching issues such as, discrimination, diversity and inequality to ensure they adopt good practice behaviours For example, a traveller lady stated she “feared hostility as more people are turning against gypsy families”. In situations like this, practitioners working with families from minority groups should try to maintain good practice and democratic values by respecting diversity and promoting inclusion. For instance, this could be achieved by ensuring these families are aware of, and have access to, the same services as non-minority families e.g. health, education and social care services.
3 Davies (2011) believes that empowering children and young people is an essential part of her practice. Davies (2011) focuses on values that share power and knowledge with children and young people rather than being an authoritative figure.
3.1 Examples of the values used by Davies (2011) were seen in a case study of a child named Zoe who was encouraged to explore and discuss her experience of a family break-up using the metaphor of “Doctor Who and Martha”. Davies (2011) believes it is important for children to explore and find their own solutions for the problems they face
3.1.1 Davies (2011) encourages this through the use of dialogue and role-play, which empowers the child to lead the session, rather than being led by the counsellor. Davies (2011) used the storyboard so Zoe could discuss how she felt rather than directly asking her about her feelings. This proved to be effective as once Zoe explored her feelings and emotions it helped her improve her relationship with her Father Practitioners working with children and young people need to ensure they combine their practice knowledges and training alongside the life experiences of the children and families they work with. The town of Reggio Emilia (Italy) created an early childhood programme which focused on a practice concept known as a “pedagogy of listening” Reggio described this concept as listening to children and families to fully understand their questions, ideas and thoughts, then utilising this knowledge with serious respect to understand any issues, without bringing preconceived ideas or values A ‘pedagogy of listening’ is a key democratic value for practitioners working with children and young people, because it encourages listening and respect. The views and opinions of the people which need their guidance are considered alongside the practitioners own knowledges and practice approaches For instance, a ‘pedagogy of listening’ can be very useful when practitioners are assessing the needs of a child with a disability. Practitioners can observe behaviour whilst also considering the experiences and views of the child's parents, thus creating a wider, more detailed picture of the issues which need to be addressed As seen by Goodley and Runswick-Cole (2011) whilst interviewing parents with children of various disabilitiey's they discovered that clinical diagnoses were often “useless” because the practitioners were simply labelling children with a diagnosis based on observations in a clinical environment. The parents mentioned they felt better guidance was given through support groups which gave them opportunity to talk about their children as individuals openly, whilst listening to experiences of other parents in similar situations A ‘pedagogy of listening’ could have been used by practitioners in this instance to fully understand and develop a more detailed picture of the child's disability by listening to the parents and encouraging an open dialogue rather than giving a purely medical diagnosis.
4 Practitioners working with children must balance their own values alongside professional codes of conduct and the legal boundaries within their practice settings. Davies (2011) mentions that part of her role as a counsellor is to uphold the legal responsibility of safeguarding and protecting children from potential harm, whilst also respecting their confidentiality and wishes.
4.1 Davies (2011) achieves this by clearly explaining the legal, professional and ethical constraints before a counselling session so that the child understands that she may not be able to keep certain information confidential
4.1.1 The information will only remain private if Davies (2011) feels they are not at risk or in any harm. In situations where there is a potential risk, it is vital for practitioners to share information with other professionals or family members to help safeguard the child
5 Democratic values and the language associated with democracy is often experienced differently by children and adults
5.1 Individuals and practitioners often have competing views over which values should take priority. In the learning guide we see an example of a young person recalling his experience of mistreatment from his step family and the consequences resulting in a series of foster placements
5.1.1 The young person expresses that he feels let down by the adults and practitioners that were supposed to be supporting him because they did not recognised which values are important to him Respect was a key value for this young person, which got overlooked he mentions that small details like the correct spelling of his name was particularly important because it was “all he had left that gave him an identity” Secondly, he mentions that social workers need to respect his privacy, because sometimes he just wanted to be left alone but they kept bothering him. The young person also mentions that social workers often didn't listen to his needs, making him feel powerless As stated by Davies (2011) empowerment is a key democratic value which involves listening to the needs of the young person and empowering them to find solutions. Therefore, this account highlights why it is vital that practitioners working with children and young people uphold basic democratic values such as respect, privacy and empowerment alongside their professional codes of conduct because a combination of these values promote good practice behaviours which in turn help to maintain good relationships
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