Young lives, parenting and families
What does it mean to be a child, young person, or parent today? How is childhood and youth shaped by society and culture, and how do current ideas about parenting compare with those of the past? What is the influence of age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability and geography? How can we best support families? This module takes an interdisciplinary approach to exploring these issues, drawing on a range of data, research and audio-visual material. It will develop your study and employability skills and provide you with opportunities to debate issues with academics and other students.
What you will study
The study material for this module is organised into 8 learning guides, which include audio-visual material and online and print-based readings:
1: Young lives – begins to examine the range of factors that influence the divergent lives and complex experiences of children and young people today. Issues that students will explore include whether this is a good time to be young, and the impact of discrimination, poverty and inequality. They will also begin to consider the many issues for people working in children’s services today .
2: Society and community – encourages students to use a range of data and research in order to critically examine how community and society are experienced and related to the wellbeing and life chances of children and young people. Students will examine the concept of time within individual everyday experience and wider social change, such as demographic changes, changes in the law and changes in relationships. They will also critically reflect on the extent to which society is a meritocracy and apply theories of social capital and cultural capital to explain social mobility and inequalities.
3: Working together – focuses on practice and explores how practitioners work together to support children, young people, parents and families. Students will consider the opportunities, as well as the potential challenges, presented by multi-agency and inter-professional working, and they will look at ways in which values, ethics and legal frameworks inform practice in this area. They will also examine some of the ethical dilemmas that practitioners may encounter, and the ways in which they might deal with ethical dilemmas in their practice with children, young people, parents and families.
4: Children and childhood – focuses on children (particularly those aged 0–12 years) and examines several of the key issues embedded in modern childhood such as inclusion, gender, rights and child protection. It uses a range of material to enable students to acquire a deeper and more nuanced understanding of children and childhood and of the skills and values of effective and equitable work with children.
5: Youth and young people – looks at social and cultural aspects of being young and the concept of ‘youth’. Students critically explore changing understandings of young people’s lives and examine how different professionals engage with young people. Young people’s involvement in crime and policing, music and popular culture are featured, alongside questions of gender, race and class.
6: Parents and parenting – focuses on parents and parenting, and relationships between practitioners and parents. Students are asked to consider a range of perspectives on parenting, including what it means to be a ‘good parent’, and to look at case studies and research related to the intersection of parenting and society. Issues examined include the role and function of parenting support and education, for example, parenting classes, programmes targeted for ‘troubled families’, and the role of informal support and online communities. Children and young people’s perspectives on parenting will also be explored.
7: Families matter – examines the family and family structures historically and in relation to contemporary social change. It considers ways in which social and economic change impact on families and the role of service providers in addressing the disadvantages arising from these. It looks at the experience of children and young people living outside of their ‘birth families’, and their experience of the care system. It also reflects on some of the problems that families might encounter, asking how professionals can intervene in ways that enhance social capital and encourage empowerment.
8: Reviewing your learning – focuses on supporting students in reviewing their learning over the course of the module and preparing for the end-of-module assessment (which is an EMA).
This is an OU level 3 module. It’s designed to build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at OU levels 1 and 2, or equivalent study at another university. Level 3 modules are specifically written for students who are working towards a degree level qualification. Your previous higher education study does not have to include study in a relevant curriculum area (e.g. early childhood, childhood and youth studies, or health and social care). A general interest in issues related to children, young people, parenting and families will be of great value.
If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.
A module website which provides a range of online resources including a study calendar, module guide, assessment guide, and 8 learning guides, which contain readings, activities, audio-visual material and website links. There are module wide and tutor group online rooms, i.e. face-to-face and online tutorials and access to an extensive OU library. Also includes a printed KE322 Readings book (also available online).
A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.
Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.
A desktop or laptop computer with either:
- Windows 7 or higher
- Mac OS X 10.7 or higher
The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.
To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).
Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.