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Unit of study_

SCWK6943: Practice Theory Development

This unit aims to provide students with an understanding of a range of theoretical perspectives underpinning social work research and practice in a range of settings. This unit will offer students the opportunity to reflect upon the relative contributions of these perspectives towards achieving social justice, particularly with marginalised individuals and communities. Developing requisite knowledge, skills and values to engage in critically reflective social work research and practice is a core component of this unit. Students are encouraged to reflect upon and analyse research and practice through multiple lenses.


Academic unit Social Work
Unit code SCWK6943
Unit name Practice Theory Development
Session, year
Semester 2a, 2021
Attendance mode Block mode
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Mareese Terare,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task Presentation
In-class presentation and Written task
40% Please select a valid week from the list below
Due date: 13 Aug 2021 at 14:00
Equivalent to 1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Creative assessment / demonstration group assignment Class Participation
Written Work
15% Week 03
Due date: 26 Sep 2021 at 23:00
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO3
Assignment Exploring theory in practice
Written task
45% Week 09
Due date: 11 Oct 2021 at 23:00
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment 1. Class Presentation

Students will be expected to conduct a presentation, on at least 2 theories for professional practice that impacts on their work.(see the topics above).  The presentation should run for a maximum of 10 minutes, inclusive of class discussion and address:

  • A link with Aboriginal  knowledges and sensibilities
  • A brief history of the development of the particular theory for practice.
  • Key principles of this approach to practice.
  • Provide a concise account of how these theories are relevant to professional practice. (eg. provide example(s) from current or recent practice and/or draw on the practice experiences of other students in the group)
  • Outline the strengths, weaknesses and issues of this particular theories for practice.
  • Provide a one page summary of key aspects of the presentation for all students in the group and to be distributed at the presentation.

Assessment criteria:

Content (20%)

  • Theory or theories to be relevant to professional practice
  • To have depth, that is, offer not only descriptions but explanations and a good understanding
  • To have a clear focus
  • To reflect complexity and limitations
  • Written summary is concise and clearly written.

Clarity of presentation (20%)

  • be engaging and creative
  • show links between theory development and practice
  • be critical in perspective
  • keep within the time limit.


Assessment 2. Class Participation

Students are to write a report on their reflections of their class participation.

Students may include their active involvement in the class discussions, the influence of the readings on their class participation and the appropriateness of the assessment tasks on their class participation. Also, any challenges that impeded class participation could be noted.

Assessment criteria:  (15%)

The report is to address and reflect how the student:

  1. Demonstrates critical and active engagement with the work of the group and the material in the unit of study
  2. Interacts effectively and respectfully within the group
  3. Persuasively articulates argument displaying a clear focus
  4. Describes and analyses barriers or limitations to active and positive participation.


Assessment 3:  Major Essay – The Links between Theory and Practice

Choose a subject that really matters to you.  Students are to choose a subject (person/group/community/nation),  that is important to you and address the relevant Aboriginal knowledges or sensibilities, and relevant Western theories that helps to understand and analyse this subject

With  analysis and critical reflection,  describe the core revelations that emerge and what you would recommend for that individual, group, community or nation.

Marking criteria(45%)

  • A clear introduction and description of the person/group/community/nation and the rationale for your choice.
  • A thorough discussion of the range of 2-3 theories, social policies and research that is relevant to your person/group/community/nation.
  • Analysis of the material and key themes and a thorough critique of the theory/theories and how this assists you with your work or understanding of the subject.
  • Attention to structure, expression, grammatical correctness and appropriate referencing.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Day 1 Introduction Unit Outline Overview Online class (1 hr) LO1
Day 1 Aboriginal/First Nations Worldviews. First Nations Worldviews: Ways of Knowing, Doing and Being. Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Day 1 Big Picture theories: Psychoanalytical Theories, Post Modern, Post Colonial theories. Online class (3.5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Day 2 Loss Grief, Spiritual and Cultural Bereavement Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Day 2 Narrative Theories and Assessment 2 preparation Online class (3.5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Day 2 Session 3 Community Development Theories Online class (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Day 3 Critical Race Theory and Feminist theory Online class (4.5 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6
Day 3 Library Session Online class (3 hr) LO4 LO5
Day 4 Overview of Theories and Assessment research and Preparation Online class (7 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Final Day Summary and Assessment Presentation Online class (6.5 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: The Sydney School of Education and Social Work requires attendance of at least 90 percent of all seminars, workshops or lectures. Where a student is unable to attend at the required rate evidence of illness or misadventure may be required and the student may be required to undertake extra work. Students should discuss the circumstances of their absence(s) with the co-ordinator of the unit of study. Further details are provided in the School canvas site:

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate the application of critical knowledge about social work theories and practices and to articulate the influence of the cultural, philosophical, ideological, practical, ethical, social and environmental context on theory and practice development
  • LO2. analyse and critique theories and perspectives underpinning social work practice in relation to their relative contributions towards achieving commonly articulated social work objectives
  • LO3. develop connections between social work theories, practices and research
  • LO4. use critical thinking and communication skills (recollection, comprehension, application, analysis, evaluation, justification and synthesis) in different social work related contexts
  • LO5. communicate in a professional and reflective manner and demonstrate the ability to use social work knowledge and skills
  • LO6. demonstrate a critical disposition.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
This unit is regularly reviewed and updated based upon student feedback collected through evaluation means including the University of Sydney USS surveys.


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