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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Sociology

SOCI43030: Professional and Personal Development

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2021/22
Tied to L5K480 Social Work


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The module will provide an opportunity for the students to:
  • develop a critical understanding of the concept of professional development and use this in applying and integrating learning from the discrete elements of their professional programme;
  • develop a critical understanding of reflection and reflexivity, and skills in reflective writing, and reflective practice;
  • explore their own identity and values, and identify professional and personal development needs;
  • explore the nature of the professional relationship, developing understanding and skills in one-to-one communication and working in groups;
  • practice a range of professional skills within a classroom environment through practical exercises and case studies.


  • The module will incorporate a number of specific elements reflecting the QAA benchmarks statements for social work, elements of the Professional Capabilities Framework (diversity, rights, justice and economic well-being, knowledge, critical reflection and analysis) and Social Work England Professional Standards. It will focus on the acquisition of subject specific knowledge and skills and their integration with other programme components.
  • The module is delivered through:
  • Core teaching covering generic aspects of professional and personal development: i) Professionalism, ii) Ethics and Values, iii) Communication Skills, iv) Diversity/cultural diversity, v) Interprofessional working, vi) Critical Thinking/critical reflection/reflective writing, vii) Critical practice, viii) Assessment, ix) Report writing/accountability,
  • Workshops focussing on the practical development of skills for professional social work including: observation and communication skills, assessment and report writing skills and dealing with challenging circumstances in practice,
  • Personal reflection on observation of a publicly accessible space with relevance to social work, e.g. the courtroom; learning disability theatre group; social justice campaigns; volunteering opportunities such as food banks.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will be able to demonstrate knoweldge and critical understanding of:
  • the nature of professional practice, including professional values and responsibilities, within a social science theoretical framework;
  • the concept of leadership and its application to practice.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • be able to assess reflectively and critically the relevance of their current professional practice experience to the requirements of social work settings.
  • be able to identify and apply strategies to build professional resilience.
Key Skills:
  • be able critically to reflect on their personal values, experiences, knowledge, skills and professional practice;
  • have developed skills in communication to support (i) engagement, assessment planning, intervention and evaluation, and (ii) accurate recording and preparation of reports.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • During periods of online teaching, for asynchronous lectures in particular, planned lecture hours may include activities that would normally have taken place within the lecture itself had it been taught face-to-face in a lecture room, and/or those necessary to adapt the teaching and learning materials effectively to online learning.
  • Teaching and Learning Methods will include group discussion, practical exercises (e.g. role plays, simulation, drama, use of visual arts), study groups, case studies, reflective recordings, independent reading, field visits.
  • Assessment will include a practical exercise to demonstrate the necessary skills in readiness for direct practice and a 3000 word critical reflection on the process of developing professional and personal skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshops/lectures on core areas of teaching 10 weekly in term 1 2 hours 20
Practical Skills development (including communication, interviewing, assessment, recording) 18 weekly 2 hours 36
[Reflection on] Field observation 3 3 in term 1 2 hours 16
Group and individual tutorials, including feedback on formative assessment and student reflection 4 1 per term + 1 .5 hours 2
Preparation and reading 226

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Reflective account of developing professional skills, including communication skills 3000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Readiness for direct practice, focusing particularly on developing professional communication skills, will be assessed through a filmed exchange with a service user followed by feedback and student reflection. This must be made available to the practice educator in the first placement.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University