Social justice is a very complex issue. Some of the main issues that face the public within social justice are poverty, racism, gender inequalities and sexual inequalities. These type of issues facing the public has to be dealt with and by collaborative work, this would be the best way to try, although will be a very hard job, to eradicate the problems. I thought about the barriers between Social Work, Community Learning and development (from throughout the essay CLD) and Primary Teaching, such as not understanding each others' role/profession and thinking you can cope without the other professions and came to the conclusion that with the effort and practice in working together most of them could be overcome. A collaborative approach enabled us to have a clearer understanding of our roles and the roles of other related professions in what we agreed to be our one common goal which in the main cases throughout the module were to help children develop into 'confident individuals, successful learners, effective contributors and responsible citizens' (GIRFEC, Scottish Executive 2009). All three professions work with different guidelines but they all agree on this. The purpose of this essay is to show how collaborative practice is effective when working towards a more socially just society. I am going to discuss the historical, philosophical and socio-political perspectives on Social Justice by exploring the roots for modern day Primary Teaching, Community Learning and Development and Social Work. I will reflect upon guest speakers' inputs at lectures and I will go onto speak about the impact of political speakers. I will then go on to evaluate how the collaborative practices that formed the focus of our Learning Circle's and how each profession contributed to the group throughout presentations, visits and the world cafe. Finally I will then reflect on what I gained through working with my Learning Circle.
Criteria 1 - Social Work, Primary Teaching and CLD are all working to achieve the same thing and in order to do this they have to follow guidelines. In which case, Social workers use GIRFEC (Getting it Right for Every Child) for guidance. The Primary Teachers' equivalent to GIRFEC is the 'Curriculum for Excellence' as it includes the four main capacities mentioned above. CLD follows the guidelines set out by Working and Learning Together to build Stronger Communities (WALT). WALT introduced the term 'Community Learning and Development' and an approach which achievements would be through learning for adults, learning for children and through building community capacity. This was influenced by policies and guidelines such as The Alexander Report (1975) which was about bringing together youth work, adult work and Community development. Also the Osler Report (1998) helped bring about WALT. This introduced Community Learning plans and also had a higher priority to deliver within Community Education. All of these guidelines were brought about in 2004 by the Scottish Executive and links both GIRFEC and the Curriculum for Excellence because one of the policies Community Learning and Development should be 'engaging with young people to facilitate their personal, social and educational development and enable them to gain a voice, influence and place in society'. This is the correct aim; however, it doesn't seem to be carried out enough in society. Not every school meets the needs of their children by putting on extra-curricular activities even though the opportunities are there because the facilities are there to support this. In CLD we aim more for lifelong learning, which is done more effectively through organising classes like adult literacy. This is important in the long run for families as they would now be able to help children with school related problems i.e. homework and bring about a positive approach towards the Childs learning. 'Knowledge will make you free' Tett (2006). Within Social Work, Changing Lives is the document that sets out the recommendations and actions required to make sure that the review is enacted and that the correct change takes place. Also the Children's hearing system was set up over a number of years, firstly starting off with the Kilbrandon Committee (1961) with the Kilbrandon Report following (1964). Social Work report (1968) and finally Children (Scotland) Act (1995). . Margaret Thatcher once said "There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and their families. And no government can do anything except through people and people must look to themselves first". After Thatcher became Prime Minister , legislation was passed for the "Right to buy" in the Housing Act 1980. Throughout the years many homes were sold under this and through this the policy was recognised as one of the major points of 'Thatcherism'. In 2001, Tony Blair said, "We are a left of centre party, pursuing economic prosperity and social justice as partners and not as opposites". Throughout the years many politicians have argued what is better for Society. The conservatives once thought of "Laissez-faire" with the Labour party then introducing acts to try and eradicate the 5 Giants as pointed out in the Beveridge Report. Margaret Thatcher then continues the idea on individualism and that is the way forward when Blair believes that we are better working as a unit and in modern day age that is the best way possible to try and achieve social justice, by working as a community.
Criteria 2 - During the workshops we discussed what each profession saw as a barrier. Primary Education only saw education as their main concern. Social Work didn't quite understand the role of CLD workers and viewed Primary Teachers as people who only gave children an education. As one of only two CLD workers in the Learning Circle, we both found that the teachers were trying to take control as there were more of them. When attending our lectures though, we began to understand more about what each profession did and that collaboration was needed and so knew what we had to do ourselves and when to involve others.
We did a presentation about the Social Justice Agenda in December 2009 in which we had to include how each of us was involved in a particular policy. To begin with the group, on which we were working in, proved to be challenging for some of us as everyone wanted to do their own thing. Eventually we spoke up and said that in order to achieve our common goals we would have to either appoint a leader or let everyone have their say now and organise something as a group. Thus now members were much better placed to begin working smoothly, efficiently and productively to achieve goals. We synchronized effort and harmonized contributions, co-operating with each other to meet challenges, solve problems, reach decisions and implement agreed strategies. (Hargie and Dickson, 2004). We chose 'Teen Pregnancy' as it has major relevance to Dundee and to all 3 professions in this modern day of age. We all know it is a problem so we wanted to do research on it not only for our assignment but also because it interested and again at one point or another we would stumble across the problem when out in the field of practice. We identified organisations that help with young girls through their education and youth centres that offered support. Everyone then took on a research role with myself returning to my old school for some information and leaflets and an interview with the workers at the "Young Mothers Unit" that is held within the school to try and give the girls a normal, as possible, education as everyone else. Once our group settled in together and started working more collaboratively, everything really just fell into place. In our group we preferred to be called a team and not a group, the basis behind that being TEAM standing for "Together We Achieve More". "Teams are a special type of group that have become extremely popular where people come together to complete tasks, such as in the workplace." (Hargie and Dickson 416, 2004) As a "team" we felt that every week we should have a facilitator rather than a "leader". The role of our facilitators were to evoke participation and creativity, was comfortable in reading to the group and underlying the dynamics of the team, to ask rather than tell the team things, listening, managing time well and making sure everyone was either getting their say or doing the work and pulling their weight for the team. (www.work911.com)
My Learning Circle Group now understands that working collaboratively will benefit us all. A point was also brought up that if we did not understand each other's roles, then how will people outside University understand what it is we do as a working profession. We as professionals must try and ensure that the people around us know of the help they can receive. GIRFEC says 'No matter where they live or whatever their needs, children and families need to know where they can seek help, what help is available, that the help is appropriate to their needs and will be delivered to the highest possible standard' and so we must try and live up to this by working collaboratively (GIRFEC 'Guidance on the child's or young person's plan').