Throughout the essay writer course, I have developed several student learning outcomes and personal goals that I hoped to meet in this particular semester. Now that the course is nearing completing, it is necessary to examine the ways that I have responded to these learning outcomes and goals. Specifically, it is time to take an inventory and determine whether or not I was successful in meeting these outcomes. Overall, this examination will show that I have met the majority of my goals I set for this year.
The first goal that I established for this particular course was to learn more about the specific developmental stages of children and adolescents so that I am able to identify if an individual is developing properly. In order to reach this goal, I decided that the best means would be to examine academic materials related to Piaget, Erikson, and Kohlberg. Through our course material as well as through personal development, I have been able to learn a great deal about the specific stages of children and adolescents development from an academic standpoint. I utilized a variety of materials. One of the books that best contextualized my learning outcomes was Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. This book outlined the ways that young children develop and begin the process of learning. While I did not focus on the learning outcomes as much as I did the behavior outcomes when I made the goal, it became clear that I have a vast amount of knowledge to gain about this topic. After all, the growth patterns of young children and adolescents is necessary to examine in the light of one’s ability to learn. I realize that I have a fair understanding of the human development cycle and what is considered typical, but I also recognize that there are many specific aspects that I need to explore much more deeply if I am to be successful in this endeavor. Overall, I learned a great deal of the basics about development and I would consider this goal partially achieved since I know that I have a great deal to learn.
The next goal that I set for myself in this particular semester was to learn more about people facing poverty and oppression by going out into the world and meeting with people. This goal was always one that I felt would be the most difficult because it would take significant time on my part. However, I did partially complete this goal as well. I spent several days volunteering in food pantries and at shelters so that I could begin to learn more about the people that I would be serving as a social worker. The fact is that people who are in need of social services are not a homogenous group. While I was able to learn a great deal about these people, I was not able to learn about every oppressed group or every facet of their lives that was made challenging. I do not consider this goal a failure, though. I was able to learn a great deal about poverty and the interactions that it can have with people. Specifically, I was able to find out that poverty is something that can track a person and their family across generations. Many of the people that I met in the shelters had parents who were impoverished. As a result, they grew up without the ability to find ways of being successful in the financial sense. They lacked good schools and the option to pursue their education in a meaningful way. This led to the younger individuals being stuck in cyclical poverty.
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Another major concern that I was able to witness was the impact that drug addiction and mental illness has on the homeless population. Many of the people who were in the shelters were there because they were not being treated for their mental illnesses. This is a problem that has been examined by Currie et al (2014) in a study that found that there is a huge problem of people with mental illnesses being homeless for a variety of reasons. Among those listed are an inability to hold a job, inability to seek treatment, and being turned onto the streets by family and friends who are unable to cope with their behavior. Again, I learned a great deal, but I feel as though I would have liked to learn more about the impact that poverty has on the development of young people through interviews.
The final goal that I was able to set for this year was to gain more insight into the struggles that face members of the LGBT community as they pertain to social work. The individuals that I met when volunteering in the shelter and food kitchen were not very open to discussing their sexual orientation with me, a stranger. The fact remains that I have examined literature and studies that outlines the difficulties that the LGBT community experiences with regards to homelessness and other forms of abuse. For example, I read the book Multicultural Social Work Practice: A Competency-Based Approach to Diversity and Social Justice. This book was able to enlighten me to several issues that exist in the LGBT community and other diverse groups and the problems that they face with regards to social work and practice. I realize now that I was ill-prepared to do anything beyond meeting with homeless and otherwise challenged individuals and listening to their stories. After all, there is a large amount of specific help that these individuals need in order to be aided through any social work system.
Although I was able to learn a great deal about the plight of the LGBT youth through literature, I was not able to experience any significant interactions with them. Moreover, I was not able to learn how to best interact with them in a scholarly manner. I feel as though this is one of the goals that would be best developed through academic works in the school setting. I look forward to working on this outcome and discussing the implications with my fellow students and professors. I realize that I have a great deal to learn if I am to successfully be able to help individuals from the LGBT community through social work. Although I have made progress, I need to continually learn and improve in order to be someone who can offer specialized help to those who need it most.
The three goals that I have demonstrated in this review were to learn more about child development, deal more directly with poverty and oppression, and to learn more about the LGBT community so that I am better able to service this population in the future. Based on the work that I have done and the information that I have gathered, it is clear that I have made significant progress. However, the fact remains that I have not made enough progress to declare success in each of these unique elements. I know that I have a great deal of information yet to learn as well as several different courses that I could take to benefit my education. I look forward to continuing my education and advancing it to the highest degree so that I am able to look beyond the basic forms of social work and into more specific aspects of them. I also look forward to developing goals for the next semester and the rest of my education while building on the goals and knowledge I have developed and examined in this semester.
Currie, L. B., Patterson, M. L., Moniruzzaman, A., McCandless, L. C., & Somers, J. M. (2014). Examining the relationship between health-related need and the receipt of care by participants experiencing homelessness and mental illness. BMC health services research, 14(1), 404.
Kolb, D. A. (2014). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. FT press.
Sue, D. W., Rasheed, M. N., & Rasheed, J. M. (2015). Multicultural Social Work Practice: A Competency-Based Approach to Diversity and Social Justice. John Wiley & Sons.