Teaching

Teaching interests

I am interested in helping social work practitioners to engage with the empirical research that informs their practice. This includes reading and appraising research papers, and designing and undertaking research projects. Therefore, most of my teaching at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London aims to help practitioners understand research methods and statistics; design their own research projects; and undertake their own original research. This mostly occurs in the context of the programmes I lead.

I also teach about my primary field of research – social capital and social work practice. Informed by my research, I explore in these sessions how social capital is an important and relevant concept for social workers, and how practitioners can help service users to increase access to social capital in their networks and local communities.

I also contribute to programmes at the University of Manchester, Bournemouth University and City University, but my main responsibilities are at the Institute of Psychiatry where I lead the following programmes:

MSc/PGDip Mental Health Social Work with Children and Adults

This is an advanced level post-qualifying programme for social workers accredited by the General Social Care Council.

Experienced social workers study the programme to become advanced practitioners with expertise in both practice and research. It is a two-year part-time programme and practitioners continue to work in their existing roles whilst studying, promoting a synergy between practice and learning.

We provide a full and varied curriculum to enhance practitioners’ knowledge of relevant theory and research to inform their practice. We take a lifespan approach to mental health, so the programme is relevant to practitioners working with children or adults of any ages. In fact, the diversity of practice experience brought to the programme by students is one of its strengths. Practitioners working in a range of social work settings learn from one another and share their practice wisdom.

Uniquely, all students are supported to undertake a piece of original research in the second year of the programme to make a modest contribution to the evidence base for social work. Some of these studies are published in peer-reviewed journals, whilst most are disseminated within the agencies they were conducted to inform social work policy and practice.

MSc/PGDip Advanced Psychosocial Practice with Children and Adults

This is a pathway of the MSc Mental Health Social Work with Children and Adults for experienced practitioners who are not social workers. It is not a route to a social work qualification. Instead it is a way for practitioners who are not qualified in social work to learn about and develop expertise in advanced theory and research in psychosocial practice. Students on this pathway take the same modules as students in the MSc Mental Health Social Work with Children and Adults. Current students include residential care home managers, support workers and nurses.

Research Methods and Critical Appraisal for Social Workers (e-learning course)

This 16-week e-learning course helps to increase the confidence and competence of social workers in reading and appraising research papers. It is designed to help practitioners to become more evidence-based in their practice by engaging with primary research and discovering the empirical foundations of their practice. It teaches research methods and statistics in a user-friendly manner and assumes no prior knowledge. Its e-learning modality means it can flexibly fit around work, family and other commitments, although sufficient study time needs to be set aside each week. The course can also be studied by people without a social work qualification, but with an interest in this field.

The course carries postgraduate academic credits and requires students to be able to work at Masters level. It is derived from a module of the MSc Mental Health Social Work with Children and Adults. Practitioners can study this course and take the 30 academic credits into the MSc programme, exempting them from the equivalent classroom-based module.

Research Protocol Writing for Social Workers (e-learning course)

This 16-week e-learning course helps social workers to write a research proposal for a piece of original research. An experienced researcher guides practitioners through the steps of writing a proposal (otherwise known as a ‘protocol’) and helps them to design a project that could withstand the rigours of an ethics committee. It is particularly suitable for practitioners interested in undertaking a modest research project within their agency that can inform the practice or policy of that agency. As a good familiarity with research methods is required, it is recommended that students take the Research Methods and Critical Appraisal for Social Workers course first.

The course also carries postgraduate academic credits and requires students to be able to work at Masters level. It is derived from a module of the MSc Mental Health Social Work with Children and Adults. Practitioners can study this course and take the 30 academic credits into the MSc programme, exempting them from the equivalent classroom-based module.

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