SWSP1023 Professional Practice 1

Level: Bachelor
Credit Points: Six
Prerequisites: None
Mode(s) of delivery: On-campus (Sydney)
Core/elective: Core

Unit Description

This experiential unit introduces students to communications (oral, IT and written), ethics and values, the Law, and interviewing and assessment skills necessary for effective and engaging social work practice. This subject sets the scene for the integration of theory with practice, a necessary preparation for field placements that form a crucial part in becoming a professional and competent social welfare practitioner. The acquisition of academic skills is also an important part of this unit.

Unit Workload

The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week. This includes timetabled class time and private study time.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate generic interpersonal and communication skills used in professional practice.
  2. Demonstrate communication skills across mediums, contexts and cultures.
  3. Articulate knowledge of self and professional ethics, values, legal and professional boundaries.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of helping relationships, problem-based assessment and crisis intervention planning.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of verbal, non-verbal and cultural barriers to communication.
  6. Identify strength-based and solution-focused strategies to foster the development of change-orientated strategies towards empowerment outcomes.

Learning and Teaching Approach

  1. Learning is an active process – which involves both questioning and challenging.
  2. Learning is a shared process – where others’ thoughts and ideas are presented, critically analysed, exchanged and respected.
  3. Learning is a collaborative and empowering process for self and others.
  4. Learning is thoughtful and reflective.
  5. Learning requires integration with prior knowledge and other arenas of knowledge development in the program.
  6. Preparation for lectures and seminars and reading the recommended texts and references is essential.

The content of this unit has been designed to maximise both online and face-to-face learning to integrate the subject matter.

Students are expected to:

  • Complete all activities
  • Complete readings
  • Complete all assessments
  • Attend all classes

It is also recommended that students:

  • Keep a record of new terminology that is introduced in this unit
  • Keep a copy of assessments and other correspondence
  • Make notes on unit content and readings

There will be learning activities linked to all lecture materials which are designed to encourage students to deliberate and reflect and to provide opportunities for further learning. The activities are designed to help students think through and practise the specific skills and general concepts presented in this unit as well as provide valuable learning opportunities.

Assessment Summary



Word Count

Week Assessed

Learning Outcomes Assessed

Critical Reflection Exercise


750 words


1, 2, 3

Skills Demonstration Video




1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Reflective Essay


1,500 words


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


Recommended Texts

  • Healy, K. (2012). Social work methods and skills: The essential foundations of practice. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Knapp, M., & Daly, J. (Eds.) (2012). The SAGE book of interpersonal communication. London, England: SAGE Publications.

Recommended Readings

  • Beddoe, L., & Maidment, J. (2009). Mapping knowledge for social work practice: Critical intersections. Melbourne, Australia: Cengage Learning.
  • Bolton, G. (2005). Reflective practice: Writing and professional development. London, England: SAGE Publications.
  • Chung, R., & Benak, F. (2012). Social justice counselling: The next step beyond multiculturalism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Fejo-King, C. (2013). Let’s talk kinship: Innovating Australian social work education, theory, research and practice through Aboriginal knowledge. Torrens, Australia: Christine Fejo-King Consulting.
  • Healy, K., & Mulholland, J. (2007). Writing skills for social workers. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Jandt, F. (2013). An introduction to intercultural communication: Identities in a global community. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Koprowska, J. (2010). Communication and interpersonal skills in social work. Exeter, England: Learning Matters.
  • Lindsay, T., & Orton, S. (2014). Group work practice in social work (3rd ed.). Exeter, England: Learning Matters.
  • Ling, H. K., Martin, J., & Ow, R. (Eds.) (2014). Cross-cultural social work: Local and global. South Yarra, Australia: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Maidment, J., & Egan, R. (2009). Practice skills in social work and welfare: More than just common sense. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin.
  • Muller, L. (2014). A theory for Indigenous Australian health and human service work: Connecting Indigenous knowledge and practice. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin.
  • O’Hara, A., & Pocket, R. (2011). Skills for human service work: Working with individuals, groups and communities. Sydney, Australia: Oxford University Press.
  • Ozanne, E., & Rose, D. (2013). The organizational context of human service practice. South Yarra, Australia: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Parrott, L. (2010). Values and ethics in social work practice. Exeter, England: Learning Matters.
  • Saleebey, D. (2009). The strengths perspective in social work practice (5th ed.). New York, NY: Pearsons.
  • Shulman, L. (2009). The skills of helping individual, families, groups and communities (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
  • Trevithick, P. (2005). Social work skills: A practice handbook. New York, NY: Open University Press.


  • Australian Social Work
  • ADVANCES: Journal of Social Work and Welfare Education
  • Australian Journal of Social Issues
  • Critical Social Work
  • Journal of Social Work Education (USA)
  • Journal of Social Work (UK)

Academic Misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to http://currentstudents.acap.edu.au/assets/Managing-My-Course/A-Z-Policies/Academic-Misconduct-Policy.pdf for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the trimester. For a list of required textbooks for the upcoming trimester, please click here.