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Unit information: Dimensions of Social and Emotional Development in 2020/21

Unit name Dimensions of Social and Emotional Development
Unit code ACHSD0012
Credit points 20
Level of study D/8
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Jak Lee
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit draws upon psychological theory and other relevant knowledge bases, to equip students to identify, assess and plan appropriate interventions for individuals experiencing emotional, social and behavioural difficulties. Areas covered include: Common behaviour and management issues in the contexts of families, schools and communities; Social interactions and images of children in a variety of contexts; Cognitive behavioural approaches; Solution focused approaches; Behavioural analysis: structured and unstructured observation; Assessment of environmental and systematic factors; Use of checklists, profiles and interview schedules; Social exclusion; Emotional and social development; Individual, groupwork, systemic and therapeutic interventions.


  • To provide students with the core competencies required for individual casework: identifying needs, negotiating and evaluating interventions for pupils experiencing social, emotional or behavioural difficulties.
  • To extend individual professional portfolios to include expertise in working at system and organizational level, in multi-agency contexts in order to raise educational standards generally and specifically for gender and minority groups.
  • To develop awareness of effective psychological methods for tackling underachievement of vulnerable groups, promoting inclusion, reducing social exclusion, supporting behaviour policy development.
  • To enable students develop a sensitivity to the psychological and educational needs in individuals, families, schools and communities. Through effective collaboration with these interacting systems and other agencies, to select appropriate techniques and strategies for participation, assessment, make appropriate appraisals of problems presented, and collaboratively construct effective modes of intervention and evaluation.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit students will be equipped with a wide range of evidence-based strategies for promoting social and emotional development in a variety of contexts (families, substitute carers, preschool, special education, school, FE) and be able to evaluate, monitor and review outcomes. They will develop knowledge, awareness, skills and values that enable effective work with diverse client populations through clear understanding of the demographic characteristics of communities, including the influence of: culture, gender, ethnicity and factors influencing social exclusion. They will be able to apply educational psychology across a variety of different contexts through the development of creative approaches that draw on a wide range of theoretical models, frameworks and psychological paradigms, including behavioural, humanistic, ecosystemic and psychodynamic. They will have awareness and understanding of relevant legislation, national and local guidance and policies and how these influence EP service delivery and policy.

They will be competent to work in collaboration with practitioners and researchers in schools

and from other disciplines and agencies. They will develop the skills (including those of consultation and problem-solving) required to select and use appropriate assessment, intervention and evaluation strategies in order to identify needs, promote change with individuals, groups and systems. They will be able to promote the psychological well-being of clients and to support children, young people and their carers in contributing to the identification of needs, and the development and evaluation of interventions, with particular regard to their emotional and social needs.

They will be able to prepare appropriate In-Service training materials related to promoting emotional development, positive behaviour, educational achievement and developing policy documents including appropriate monitoring, evaluation and review arrangements.

Teaching details

Blended learning will include guided reading, lectures, seminars,pair/ group work supported by supervised practice in the field (virtual/in-person depending on the circumstances). Placements and links to EP services will be organised either online or in person so that trainees are involved in the work of EP services and LA organizations, including attending meetings, liaising with LA officers and other professional colleagues (teachers, doctors, clinical psychologists, speech therapists, social workers). Course inputs will include a range of professionals, updates on legislation, required reading on professional issues.

Assessment Details

Completion of a 4000 word assignment based on professional experience which critically examines the success of a range of approaches and interventions which have been utilized by EPs, teachers and care givers in order to enhance the social and emotional development of children.

Reading and References

  • Ayers, H., Clarke, D. and Murray, A. (2000) Perspectives on Behaviour: A Practical Guide to Effective Interventions for Teachers (2nd Ed) London: Fulton

Gray Peter (Ed.) (2002) Working with Emotions: responding to the challenge of difficult pupil behaviour in schools London: Routledge Falmer

  • McNamara, S., Moreton, G. (2001) Changing behaviour: teaching children with emotional and behaviour difficulties in primary and secondary classrooms (2nd Ed) London: David Fulton
  • Miller, A. (2003) Teachers, Parents and Classroom Behaviour. A Psychosocial approach. OUP McGraw Hill
  • Moseley, Jenny (2001) Working Towards a whole school policy on self esteem and positive behaviour Trowbridge: Positive Press
  • Visser, J. and Rayner, S. (Eds.) (1999) Emotional and behavioural difficulties: A reader. Lichfield Psychology Service