Pre-Course Preparation

Okay, welcome to lesson five. This is the final lesson and what we’re focused on is pre course preparation. So for this, I’m assuming now that you’ve made application, you’ve been shortlisted, you’ve then been offered a place on course, you know, the start date of the course. And between now actually starting the course, what can you actually do? How can you prepare yourself as fully as possible for the quarter ahead? First thing I want to look at is the idea of reading. We’re very fortunate in social work that because it’s a huge literature page, there are books and books and books that have been written from social work their journals, or our research reports, there’s a huge amount, you could never run out of things to read about social work. So you’ve now got an opportunity between today, or between the point at which you are offered the plates on the quarter at least. And when you start a course, to read as widely as possible to get hold of the literature, it will no doubt be the case in majority of circumstances anyway, the University concerned will give you a reading list. But even if they don’t, it’s not difficult to find out what books are available about social work. At the end of this courses, link to my website, and there’s information there about the books I’ve produced, for example. And some of those can be really good starting points, for getting your head around what social work is all about, and what’s expected of you. So reading is an important thing to do. It’s important to get into the habit of reading, not just for the course, not just for the pre course preparation, but throughout your career as well. Because as I’ve already said, there is a huge knowledge base underpinning so much work and the better our knowledge is, the better equipped you’ll be to make a positive difference. So getting into the habit of reading and seeing as part of your work to read about your job, your tasks, your perfection, the knowledge base that informs it. But the lessons to be learned, and so on. That kind of reading is really important. So start now, as you mean, go ahead, read as much as you like, as much as you can, in effect, because that will stand you in good stead. And one word of warning. Some books are written by academics in a style that is highly academic, it’s as if they’re talking to other academics rather than students or practitioners. Now, if you find yourself in that situation, then a concrete assumption for people to make I’ve come across it’s time and time again, people can easily make the assumption that I don’t understand their time must be an idiot, I must be thick and stupid. For not the case, warning painters, I am not familiar with this type of writing. And over time, you will become more familiar with it, it won’t be so daunting in time for other texts that other written work isn’t written in that type of style. So look for that type of book that sort of Beginner’s Guide, talk a book, get you into the issues first, then you can tackle some of the more advanced stuff stops after in in more of an academic code when you’re ready. But the essential thing is, don’t let it put you off reading. And don’t let it give you the impression. You’re not very bright. The fact that somebody writes in her hard to read style is an issue for them not for you, you can get past that. So you get used to it all the time. It gets easier. And in the meantime, there’s other literature that doesn’t confuse people. With this sort of very heavy academic style. It’s much more clearly written. Okay, so that’s one important thing is reading. for reading isn’t the only thing it’s also thinking. Think about the course that you’re going to think about what you face. Think about the challenges involved. Think about what you want to get out to think about what are the strengths that you have to offer? Think about what are the areas for development that you have and the reason I’m emphasizing this Thinking is because when you study at university level, nobody will do your thinking for you. expectation is that you’re in charge of your own learning, you’re an adult, you’re training a professional. So the expectation is that you’re responsible for your own learning, you make the effort, you take control. Now, that’s really important. So that means that you have to get in the habit of thinking things through. You have to be in the habit of looking at situations in a way that helps you make sense of them to have that if you haven’t already got it. That sort of enquiring mind way of trying to look at how do I make sense of this complexity, because at the end of the day, that’s what university life is about engaging with complexity with regard to what social work is about engaging with complexity, using it on aging skills, your values, and support of others, of course, to address those complications. So thinking is important. As well, it’s not enough to just deal with things in every day, common sense sort of way. Anyone can do that, to be a qualified social worker to be cut out for the profession, after getting beyond on be able to think, to plan reanalyze. The term we use online social work is reflective practice, it means you don’t just react to situations in unthinking way, but you think them through you reflect on them, you use your knowledge, your skills, your values, to make sense of the situation. And that’s where a lot of the job satisfaction, and the rewards come from is making sense of those complex situations in a way that enables you to move forward positively and constructively, and be helpful to others, when they’re at their lowest out. And when they’re struggling when they’re distressed, and so on. And last but not least in terms of pre course preparation is observing. You have the opportunity to see social workers in action, or do you know any social workers, would it be possible to talk to them to possibly spend the day shadowing them watching what he do? This isn’t always possible, but where it is, it can be an invaluable learning experience. But it isn’t just about watching or observing social work directly. You can just get learn a lot from people watching, from looking at situations people are in and seeing what you can learn from them. I mentioned in one of the earlier lessons, and it’s important to nonverbal communication. So you can observe people in various situations and look at how are they using body language? What’s the nonverbal communication going on here? How is it working? Or any problems arising because of the nonverbal communication? If so, what does that tell you? Is somebody using nonverbal communication skillfully and effectively? Why how, what makes it so effective? Is somebody struggling? Because their nonverbal communication is not very helpful? If so, why is that happening? How is it happening? What can you learn from them. So that’s what I mean by observing. If you get a chance to observe social work in action, great, many people won’t have that opportunity. But you can still observe people interacting, you can still observe social situations, and see what you can learn from them. That can be really, really important. And that will stand you in good stead. So you hit the ground running when you start the course when you’re ready. So that brings us to the end of lesson five, where we focused on pre course preparation, we’ve looked at the importance of reading and getting into the reading habit, not just for pre course preparation, but also for Barnard students. And throughout your career, we have a huge knowledge base that can be really helpful, can build up confidence, build up our ability to make a positive difference and start reading, keep reading. And as thinking because that’s also important. As I mentioned before, when I’m talking about the demands and challenges of social work, it can be mentally demanding a thought thinking, a lot of making sense of complexity involved. So anything habit of thinking things through is a really good start for you. And then last but not least, is observing if you get a chance to observe social work in action, great, but if not indifferent to what’s going on around groups of people interacting with one another. Are there any patterns if you can, and if none of it makes sense to you Don’t worry, because it will make more sense when you have lectures about these issues or you read about these issues or need to do. So there you are three important elements of pre course preparation that should stand you in good stead and hopefully the whole course will stand you in good stead. So there’s just one short concluding video for you to watch and that you’ve completed the course. Thank you