Chapter Activities

Activity 1: NASW Code of Ethics and Practice

Have students read the NASW Code of Ethics. Afterward, give them the following example of a child with a learning difference. Have them respond to the following questions:

  1. How do Maryann and Julian’s responses differ?
  2. How does each of their responses comply with the NASW Code of Ethics?
  3. Where would their respective responses be deficient as per the Code of Ethics?
  4. Propose two examples of how Maryann and Julian might work together in an integrated response.

Example: Julian is a school-based social worker. He works with Gene, who has been struggling in school. Julian can see that Gene and his family are distressed and they have sought his assistance in helping Gene acclimate to school. He has worked with them to secure assessments, an individualized education plan, and connect them to counseling as well as home-based resources. However, his advocacy efforts, even when successful, are often met with resistance and bureaucratic hurdles. Moreover, Gene is one of many children in Julian’s school who face similar challenges. Not only does Julian not have enough time to help all the children in need, but he finds that the help that he can provide under current laws, school district policies, and given the available resources, is not what it should be. Although he does not know the names of all of the policies and directives that impact his work with Gene, Julian knows that they include the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (as amended in 2004). Julian also knows that testing in the schools, a federal and state requirement, seems to have changed the way that teachers and the school administrators in Gene’s school are able and willing to assist children on his caseload, including whether or not they will work with him to retain students with disabilities. Julian has begun talking with Maryann, a friend of his from his BSW program who works for a nonprofit disability rights organization. Maryann told him that her organization has been working to challenge the policies that affect children like Gene. For example, they have been tracking the relationship between school testing scores and disciplinary action for children with behavioral disabilities. For the past few months, Maryann has been expressing her frustration with Julian because she claims that his work focuses too much on helping Gene and his family adapt to what she sees as a broken system. It feels to Julian that Maryann doesn’t value the importance of the help that he provides to Gene and his family in a time of need. While he finds her work praiseworthy in the abstract, he thinks it is cruel to leave Gene and his other clients “high and dry” while they are awaiting policy changes that may never come.

Activity 2: Critical Thinking

Provide students with a link or print out to the following article.

Herndon, R. W. (2012). Poor women and the Boston almshouse in the early republic. Journal of the Early Republic, 32, 349–381.

Students should choose one of the four women whom Herndon profiles and response to the following prompts:

  1. Write a brief journal entry in which you reflect on:
    1. Your feelings about your situation
    2. Your hopes for the future
    3. Your concerns about the future
    4. The advantages and disadvantages of seeking assistance at the Boston Almshouse

Thinking as a person living in your own time, how might your situation be different from the woman whom you profiled and why?