Abstract: This article considers selected drivers of decision variability in child welfare decision-making and explores current debates in relation to these drivers. Covering the related influences of national orientation, risk and responsibility, inequality and poverty, evidence-based practice, constructions of abuse and its causes, domestic violence and cognitive processes, it discusses the literature in regards to how each of these influences decision variability. It situates these debates in relation to the ethical issue of variability and the equity issues that variability raises. I propose that despite the ecological complexity that drives decision variability, that improving internal (within-country) decision consistency is still a valid goal. It may be that the use of annotated case examples, kind learning systems, and continued commitments to the social justice issues of inequality and individualisation can contribute to this goal.
Abstract: Child protection practice in much of the Western world is performed using some specific models with limited attention paid to the underpinning of informing worldviews, theories for practice (explanatory theories) and theories of practice (intervention theories). Over the past few years we have explored how child protection practice may be undertaken using a child rights perspective and community development principles and practices. From this we have developed a model which we here seek to support with worldviews, explanatory and intervention theories. We hope this theoretical framework answers some of the complexity found in the “wicked problem” of child abuse and provides guidance to the practice of protecting children.
Abstract: This study presents results from an intervention case study at upper secondary level, in which Blogger was introduced during English class. The overarching interest was to explore the students’ social performances and their interplay with students’ uses of language across multiple forms of literate activities in blogging. The study draws on a sociocultural perspective, taking a particular interest in language as a meditational tool for communication and interaction in the students’ own digital vernacular practices. Goffman’s dramaturgical approach including the concepts of performance and role distance in front and back regions together with Bakhtin’s notion of carnival were invoked as analytical tools for the analysis of video material as well as ethnographic scraping of online content in the blog. It was found that the students presented a witty, humorous image of themselves, while playing around with language as well as bringing in manipulated media for mockery and self-irony. Analytically speaking the students were living the carnival by utilizing a norm-breaking language—a language in the wild. Though this in-depth study presents a limited number of students’ blogging, the findings contribute to an increased understanding of the in situ creation of a blogger text providing a basis for discussing the uses of language in social media and what this implies for learning languages and for teaching practices.
Abstract: Expectations of contemporary child protection apparatuses are strongly influenced by beliefs inherited from the nineteenth century child rescue movement. In particular, the belief that child abuse determination is obvious. However, this assumption fails to make a distinction between nineteenth century’s emphasis on impoverished environments and the twentieth century introduction of the pathological child abuser. Moreover, the proliferation of kinds of child abuse, and the need to distinguish child abusers from non-abusers, means knowledge is now spread across an array of disciplines and professions, which necessarily destabilizes the definition of child abuse. The increasing exposure of alternate care systems as potentially abusive has similarly destabilized the old common sense solution to neglected children—namely removal. Finally, as uncertainty increases, and definitions become more divergent, the question of what child abuse is, and what should be done about it, becomes increasingly politicized.
Abstract: Online social spaces, where users can exchange information, opinions and resources, have achieved wide popularity and are gaining attention in many research fields, including education. Their actual potential support to learning, however, still requires investigation, especially because portals can widely differ as concerns purpose and internal structure. This paper aims to contribute in this respect, by concentrating on question answering, a kind of social space not yet widely discussed in education. We analyzed a small corpus of posts from the Languages section of Yahoo! Answers Italy, checking if the questions reveal some inclination to learning or just the desire to obtain a service and if the answers provided by the community members can be considered as reliable sources of knowledge. Our analysis highlights the presence of a variety of question/answer types, from mere information exchange or help for task completion, up to language-related questions prompting valuable short lessons. The quality of answers may widely vary as concerns pertinence, correctness and richness of supporting elements. We found a high number of purely task-oriented questions and answers, but also a higher number of learning-oriented questions and correct, informative answers. This suggests that this kind of social space actually has valuable potential for informal learning.
Abstract: Bullying is relatively common and is considered to be a public health problem among adolescents worldwide. The present study examined the risk factors associated with bullying behavior among adolescents in a lower-middle-income country setting. Data on 6235 adolescents aged 11–16 years, derived from the Republic of Ghana’s contribution to the Global School-based Health Survey, were analyzed using bivariate and multinomial logistic regression analysis. A high prevalence of bullying was found among Ghanaian adolescents. Alcohol-related health compromising behaviors (alcohol use, alcohol misuse and getting into trouble as a result of alcohol) increased the risk of being bullied. In addition, substance use, being physically attacked, being seriously injured, hunger and truancy were also found to increase the risk of being bullied. However, having understanding parents and having classmates who were kind and helpful reduced the likelihood of being bullied. These findings suggest that school-based intervention programs aimed at reducing rates of peer victimization should simultaneously target multiple risk behaviors. Teachers can also reduce peer victimization by introducing programs that enhance adolescents’ acceptance of each other in the classroom.