SOWK 614: Social Work Practice in School Settings
Assignment #2: “And Still We Rise”
In “And Still We Rise”, Corwin (2001) explores the wide-ranging adolescent developmental tasks. Notably, development tasks characterize specified periods in human life. When one does not achieve any of the tasks successfully, he or she becomes incapable of performing the succeeding tasks effectively.
The foremost adolescent developmental task is learning how to engage contacts, or peers, of either gender cordially. Olivia does not accomplish the task for a long time. Consequently, her contacts abuse her for a long time. The second of the tasks is acknowledging one’s corporeal, or physical, body and purposing to keep it healthy. It appears that Sadikifu leaves gang life to limit the number of injuries that his body suffers each day, ensuring that his body remains healthy. The third task is becoming self-sufficient, or independent. Toya pursues self-sufficiency by doing all she can autonomously to ensure that she succeeds as a student and as a mother (Corwin, 2001).
The fourth of the tasks is formulating decisions regarding family life as well as marriage. Toya is put in the family way while still an adolescent. At different times, Sabreen comes off as thinking about how the ideal family functions. Notably, Sabreen has parents who are rather unreliable (Corwin, 2001).
The fifth of the tasks is preparing for employment, careers, or business life. Adolescents are keen on developing vocational or career objectives and working towards their actualization. It appears that the students in the class are working hard towards capacity for employment, careers, or business life. Most of them are keen on experiencing as much academic success as their bright peers, including Princess, Venola, and Naila. Notably, Princess is rather gifted in academics. Naila is as well a gifted learner and an outstanding athlete. Venola is rather brilliant even though she comes off as relatively reserved (Corwin, 2001).
The sixth of the tasks is acquiring or developing particular values that guide individual conduct favorably. Ideally, adolescents develop particular life outlooks depending on what they view as their priorities. For instance, most of the students who come off as quite successful in academics are keen on the values of keeping time and working conscientiously. Princess, Venola, and Naila are outstanding students in academics who value working conscientiously. The other students come off as keen on emulating how they conduct their studies (Corwin, 2001).
The last of the adolescent developmental tasks is becoming communally, or socially, responsible. Ideally, at some points in their lives, adolescents become keen on participating as responsible people with own peers, in their communities, and in their homes. Adolescents seek to develop individual moral values for guiding their behavior. For instance, it appears that Sadikifu leaves the world of crime to become communally responsible. As well, Toya grows more and more socially responsible as shown by the efforts she puts into bringing up her child, Kaelen, in a violence-free environment. She appears averse to enduring domestic violence the way her mother endured. The school’s management comes off as keen on ensuring that the school’s stakeholders are socially responsible for the welfare and wellbeing of each other (Corwin, 2001).
Clearly, the environment in which an individual, especially an adolescent, grows up and his or her resilience shape his or her behaviors and persuasions according to Allen-Meares (2010). Notably, one of the principal human resilience framework’s concepts is the social environment. Individuals and their social environments are co-evolving persistently and are interdependent. For instance, Olivia grows up in a domestic environment defined by lack of empathy for others. Owing to the lack of empathy, the adults in the environment abuse her continually. She is socialized by the community into believing that empathy is not crucial in human relations. Later on, most likely for lacking empathy, she forges documents that may affect the lives of others adversely without a care. She engages in document forgery possibly owing to her lack of empathy. Law enforcers arrest her possibly for engaging in the forgery.
Human behaviors are influenced by varied factors, including mezzo-forces and macro-factors. The factors and forces can be employed in explaining the difficulties that given individuals face and their behaviors, outcomes, and decisions (Allen-Meares, 2010). One of the macro-factors that made Toya grow up in an abusive environment may be the lack of stringent laws governing how the domestic violence offences are managed (Corwin, 2001). Another macro-factor that may have contributed to the difficulties faced by Toya and her behavior, outcomes, and decisions is that there is no stringent law barring minors from involving themselves with others intimately. Notably, the practices associated with macro-factors include lobbying for legal changes.
One of the mezzo-forces shaping Toya’s behavior, outcomes, and decisions is community organization. In the case of Toya, the community’s leaders appear to disregard the challenges and issues facing adolescents. The community’s leaders have not been actively involved in fighting domestic violence.
There are various interventions that social workers in a school put in place in support of and for Toya. First, social workers can lobby for the enactment of laws requiring Kaelen’s father to be responsible for her. That way, Toya would share the burden of bringing up Kaelen with the father. National Association of Social Workers (2012) calls on social workers to take up the activist role of pressing for particular law reforms to reduce the stressors affecting learners in schools. The burden is a stressor that may adversely affect Kaelen’s schooling outcomes.
Second, at the mezzo-level, the social workers can improve the status, as well as personal profile of Toya, by referring to her to a single mother support group within the community to gain ideas on the best ways of bringing up the child while also schooling. Third, at the micro-level, social workers can engage Toya directly to determine, or examine the best way of taking care of the child using the available resources. At the micro-level, every social worker is a change-agent within his or her community. Change-agents champion the elementary social work values within their communities. Particularly, micro-level social workers interact with their clients who are experiencing emotional, as well as social, difficulties such as Toya. According to National Association of Social Workers (2012), social workers should advocate for the resources needed by learners to enhance their schooling experiences.
Toni Little contributes negatively to the school experiences of the students. Social workers can put into place various interventions to stop Toni from criticizing the approaches adapted by Mama Moultrie to ensure that her students enjoy studies. Owing to the criticism, the students may not be getting the best teaching service especially from Mama Moultrie. First, social workers can ensure that Toni does not continue hurting the students through criticizing Mama Moultrie unnecessarily by lobbying for the enactment of a school policy barring teachers from antagonizing others.
According to National Association of Social Workers (2012), social workers should advocate for policy, as well as legal, reforms geared towards modifying behaviors that impede learning processes. The interventions they put into place to modify particular behaviors are characterized as being Tier 1 interventions (National Association of Social Workers, 2012). Second, the social workers can lobby Toni’s seniors to plan for appropriate training in which Toni and others learn proper communication, hence modifying their behaviors appropriately. As noted earlier, the lobbying would be a Tier 1 intervention (National Association of Social Workers, 2012).
“And Still We Rise” has widened my understanding of the roles of social workers. Particularly, the book has made me aware that social workers’ roles in schools are largely comparable to their roles in other structured institutions. When going over the book, I have come to understand that the environment in which an individual, especially an adolescent, grows in and his or her resilience shape his or her behaviors and persuasions. It is now clear to me that human behaviors are influenced by varied factors, including mezzo-forces and macro-factors. Through “And Still We Rise”, I have learnt that the factors and forces can be modified to change individuals’ behaviors, outcomes, and decisions in particular ways.