Fall 2020 SOWK 486 Classes 01 and 02 Weekly Email

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We are getting ready for week 02 of your SOWK 486 course. I hope that you all have had a great week. I got my email system set up. If you provided me with your personal email address then this email is going to that address and if you did not then this is coming to your Heritage Email address. You can still complete my personal information form and I can add a different email address if you would prefer. Please do remember that I do also at times during the course send email to your heritage email, but I want to make it as easy on you as possible. You should have already completed your Flipgrid. If your having trouble getting it set up, don’t hesitate to contact me.

The presentation slides can be viewed through Notist on my website, where you can download them and follow along during class.

Week 01 Presentation Slides

View Week 01: SOWK 486 Theories of Practice I.

Week 02 Presentation Slides

View Week 02 Social Work Perspectives, Frameworks, & Theories.

Unit Introduction and What You Will Learn

Week two is a cross-sectional look at some of the perspectives, frameworks, and theories commonly used in social work. It should assist in gaining awareness about the difference between these ways of thinking discussed in social work literature. We will look into the following:

  • Perspectives, theories, and frameworks
  • Systems theory
  • Ecological perspective
  • Strengths perspective
  • Solution-focused brief therapy

After this session, students will be able to articulate the difference between perspectives, theories, and frameworks. Students will also have knowledge about a couple of theoretical options for their integrative paper due later in the semester.

Unit Resources

The readings for this week are not out of the textbook and are being provided to help supplement the discussion. We won’t directly be talking about them during class. Green and McDermott (2010) provide some context and understanding related to person in the environment. De Jonge and Miller (1995) give helpful ideas for how to draw out strength from clients, which is an essential aspect of implementing strengths perspective. The hope with these readings 1 is to introduce you to some peer-reviewed journal articles and to some of the theories they discuss. It can help develop your integrative paper due at the end of the semester.


Green, D., & McDermott, F. (2010). Social work from inside and between complex systems: Perspectives on person-in-environment for today’s social work. British Journal of Social Work, 40(8), 2414–2430. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcq056

De Jonge, P., & Miller, S. D. (1995). How to interview for the client’s strengths. Social Work, 40(6), 729–736. https://doi.org/10.1093/sw/40.6.729

If you are interested as well, I have a video where I talk about my use of Zotero for keeping my references updated. You can see it at Transdisciplinary Literature Reviews using Zotero, How I Manage References [YouTube Video]

Unit Assignments

Purpose: This discussion forum is to allow students the opportunity to dip their toes into scholarly and academic writing. They will get to practice using APA formatting and further investigating other theoretical perspectives. It also can be useful in helping develop their theory and practice integrative paper.

Task: Students will investigate and report to their fellow students about a framework, perspective, theory, model, etc. that is commonly used in social work. During class, we discuss several examples of these, but there are many more. Some other options include:

  • psychodynamic theory
  • social learning theory
  • conflict theory
  • symbolic interactionism
  • social exchange theory
  • Erikson’s theory of stages of development
  • Piaget’s theory of cognition
  • feminist perspective
  • cognitive-behavioral framework
  • task-centered framework
  • narrative model
  • contingency theory
  • psychosocial developmental theory
  • transpersonal theory

This list is not exhaustive but provided to give some examples. Discuss what the theory is. Use sources formatted in APA for both in-text citations and the reference list. I would suggest looking first at Wikipedia or other things that you might find on a Google search. Read about the topic and get some background. Then use Google Scholar or the Eagle Search (through Heritage’s library website) to find peer-reviewed journal articles actually to write your post about. I give this suggestion because you will find the information on Wikipedia much easier to read/understand/see. It will help you as you move into actually writing about the subject.

Don’t spend too much time doing this activity. Try to limit it, it’s not a “big deal,” but I want to give you a space to practice using this style of academic writing and thinking about scholarly work. You should write a description of the theory you choose to investigate. It does not need to be more than a couple of paragraphs in length. Your reference list entry doesn’t have to have the hanging indent (that is hard to do online, and when I do it, I do it in HTML… because I’m a bit of a nerd and like this stuff). Just put the word “Reference” and then on the next line put the reference list entries you are citing. My Heritage provides simple support for bold, italics, etc. Also, try not to duplicate the theories discussed by your peers.

After you have posted your initial post, you will have until Sunday to reply and make some comments on at least two of your fellow student’s posts.

Criteria for Success: Students will have spent time thinking and considering peer-reviewed journal articles about theories commonly used in social work. They will make an attempt at writing using APA formatting in style, in-text citations, and reference list entries. Students will replay and make comments on at least two of their fellow student’s posts.

To Do Lists

  • Attend Zoom Session
  • Complete readings
  • A-02: Asynchronous Class Engagement “Diving into Theories discussion forum” with an initial post due Friday 09/04/20 at 11:55 PM and two replies due Sunday 09/06/20 at 11:55 PM via My Heritage Class Forums
  1. Please note that the use of the author’s names in the “text” of my discussion here is what an in-text citation is, and then there are also reference list entries. This is what APA formatting looks like in writing. You will see it inside your textbook, and in most journal articles, you read as a part of your ongoing studies. There is a link at the end of each reference. This is what is called a DOI number. It is useful in finding what article is being discussed and even putting the material into software like Zotero or Mendeley. This is not generally helpful for actually reading the article, as usually it takes you to the journal’s abstract page for the piece. Most journals cost, and you get access to them through the university library (unless its open access). I’ve turned the title of each of the articles into a link that is attached to the file so you can download and read the article.