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Cheating in Sports

INTRODUCTION

“Sports will either be a school of virtue or a school of vice, and that’s why the epidemic of cheating in professional sports is, and ought to be, a huge cultural concern.

Sports, at every level, is supposed to be a training ground for virtue, to mould the character of athletes, coaches and supporters so that they may learn lessons that may help them to achieve off-the-field as much as on. In few other venues are people able to learn as effectively the good habits of perseverance through difficulties, teamwork, striving to overcome obstacles, the importance of preparation and practice, and the courtesy and class we call good sportsmanship.

But the field, court, track, diamond, rink, pool and roadway can also cultivate vice, when results become more important than virtue, when winning becomes more important than winning fairly.

It has been hard to open a sports page recently without reading something to do with cheating and its consequences. Recently encountered readings include Bill Belichick and the clear contravention of the NFL’s videotaping policy; Patriots’ Safety Rodney Harrison and his suspension for taking an illegal substances; NBA referee Tim Donaghy and his expulsion for betting on games he was officiating; Barry Bonds and his tainted home run record, along with former heroes turned synthetic pseudo-supermen Jason Giambi, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro; Floyd Landis’ suspect yellow jersey and the expulsion of what seemed to be half this year’s Tour de France participants for blood doping and other violations; WWE icon Chris Benoit and his steroid-induced murderous-suicidal rage; various college recruiting violations, Olympic scandals and much more. Professional boxing almost looks clean and honest by comparison.

WHY DO THEY CHEAT

Sports are a microcosm and stylization of life: goal-setting, preparation, effort, character, the integration of mind and body, competition, success and failure. It’s all there in sports, distilled and intensified into a few hours’ experience.

The usual answer is that cheaters have so strong a desire to win that they will strive to do so at all costs. Cheaters do have a desire to win, but by the time we are adults we know that a cheated victory is hollow. An adult cheater knows that he has not won through skill and effort, and he knows he will not experience the pride that comes from a genuine win. The only thing the cheater is left with is that he knows that other people will believe that he won and he will reap the value of their enhanced esteem.

So here’s a hypothesis about the psychology of cheaters: Cheating is not motivated by a desire to win, but by wanting to be thought of by others as having won. Cheating is a kind of social metaphysics-what others believe is true is more important than what is actually true.

Another possibility is that the cheater knows the above-that a cheated win is hollow-but in the short run his intense desire to win crowds out his knowledge. So cheating is a failure to hold the context of why one is playing sports: strong desire overwhelms the cheater’s knowledge, or through weakness of will the cheater ignores his knowledge to indulge the desire.

Cheating in a financial context: You cheat not because you want the win but because you want the money that comes with the win
Cheating in a social context: You cheat because you don’t want your teammates to lose or because you want your teammates to have the win they want
Con-man cheating: You cheat just for the pleasure of pulling off a scam
Cheating that is malevolent: You want to see your opponent suffer a loss, so you don’t care that the win is hollow-you enjoy knowing the other guy is hurting and/or that you deprived him of the experience of winning

WHAT ARE STEROIDS

Steroids are manufactured testosterone-like drugs that are usually taken to build muscle, enhance performance, and improve appearance. While some steroids are used medically to treat many conditions including asthma, chronic lung disease, skin conditions and allergic reactions such as poison ivy, non medical use of steroids can have serious side effects. Using steroids for cosmetic or athletic purposes is not sanctioned in the United States.

Method of Use

Swallowed in tablets or liquid or injected. Users take them in patterns called “cycling”, which means they take them over a specific period of time, stop, and then start taking them again instead of continuously using them. Many users also take different types of steroids in combination with other drugs. This is known as “stacking”.

Signs and Symptoms of Steroid Use

Steroid abusers often exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Rapid weight gain
  • Rapid muscle development
  • Acne flare up
  • Fluid retention
  • Yellow tint in the eyes and on skin (jaundice)
  • Mood swings, depression
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Premature balding

Drug Test Detection

Oral steroids can be found in your system up to several weeks after use. Injected steroids can be found for several months after use.

Short-term Consequences

Use of steroids can increase muscle mass, strength, and endurance, but can also cause liver tumors, jaundice, water retention, and high blood pressure. Some users show bad judgment because the drugs make them feel invincible. Other users suffer from uncontrolled aggression and violent behavior called “Roid Rage”, severe mood swings, manic episodes and depression. They often suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability and can have delusions.

Long-Term Consequences

When the body experiences a build up of steroids in its system, conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, kidney disease, stunted growth, and heart damage are likely to occur. Women can experience irreversible deepening of the voice, shrinking of the breasts, menstrual irregularities, baldness and hair growth on other parts of the body, and genital swelling. Men can experience baldness, breast enlargement, sterility, shrinking of testicles and impotence. Steroids such as prednisone and other synthetic steroids can cause a rise in blood sugar by blocking the effect of insulin. Over time, users can develop diabetes.

WHY TAKING STEROIDS CONSIDERED CHEATING

Steroids give some players an unfair competitive advantage over others. But this response stems from the faulty underlying assumption that players have some “innate” ability or talent which is not dependent upon their environment. In fact, the only way steroids are different from other performance enhancers like protein shakes or nutritional supplements is because their side effects are worse and their performance enhancing effects are large. This efficacy, and the “steroid body” that goes with it, triggers fans’ pharmacological Calvinism, the belief that taking a pill for any reason is bad, and leads to the media labelling the steroid culture and users as alien, which are the factors that truly keep steroids on the wrong side of public opinion and MLB policy.

The first and most basic reason people view steroids as cheating is because they feel it gives players abilities that they otherwise would not have had. This is the position of every poll or article researched for this essay in the national sports media over the last four years. Again, the signs displayed in Philadelphia are representative. One 60-foot long sign said “Babe Ruth did it on Hotdogs and Beer. Aaron did it with class. How did you do it?”This question rests on the assumption that Bonds’ steroid use differentiates him from Aaron and Ruth, who set career home run records without steroids.

But to simply say steroids enhancers players’ performance is easy. The deeper question behind that answer is “Why does that matter?” That question involves a number of different aspects of what it means to be a baseball fan. First among them, perhaps, is the notion of fairness. The US culture in general holds fairness as one of its central tenets, as part of the Puritan Work ethic and the capitalist ideal: everyone must deal fairly, so everyone has their shot to succeed if they work hard enough. That ideal is held to as strongly in baseball as any other sport. The problem with steroids, then, is not just that users have an unfair advantage over non-users. Widespread steroid use limits the free choice of non-users, because if they want to make a living they are almost forced to start taking injections, and having to deal with the side effects. This is called “free choice under pressure” by Thomas Murray (as reported by Peter Kramer).

There’s no question, then, that the more players use steroids, the harder it is for others to stay clean. What are the implications of that for players, and what are players’ responses? At the physical level, this spiral of steroids forces players to endure the side effects of steroids when they otherwise might not. At the level of consciousness, players have their free choice limited by steroid-fuelled competition, and free choice is also something this country values. Players respond to these concerns by claiming that steroid use supports American values. For example, a value much appreciated in sports is the desire to win above all else. Players that have that desire, like Michael Jordan in basketball, are often revered. So a baseball player might argue that he simply wants to win at all cost, even sacrificing his body to steroids to win. Just because another, non-user does not want to win enough to take steroids, that doesn’t mean the user should be punished for it.

There are other problems with the argument that using steroids is cheating because they give a competitive advantage. The biggest fault with it is that steroids are not the only thing in baseball that gives a competitive advantage when there was none before. Revenue and payroll differences and environmental factors like the skill of the training staff and the quality of the facilities can cause “unfair” competitive advantages between teams and players as well, but those discrepancies are considered part of the game. The responses to this argument are that taking a substance is fundamentally different from working out more or on better facilities because you do not have to work as hard to get the same results as someone not on steroids. But some players use a good diet to get into better shape, or take legal supplements to make their workouts more effective. This is exactly the way steroids work – they help to build muscle faster in conjunction with exercise and weightlifting, so those that work out the most are going to get the most out of steroids. Should the MLB disallow all possible supplements and mandate player diet and workout regimens to eliminate the possible advantage? Ultimately, you cannot justify getting rid of steroids because they give a competitive advantage, because baseball operates by identifying and using competitive advantages.

Despite the arguments above, most people would remain convinced that taking steroids was cheating. There are three primary reasons:

One is the notion of pharmacological Calvinism, two is the influence of the press on public perception of steroids, and three is the labelling of drugs in general and those who take them as alien. These are the real reasons that taking steroids in baseball is considered cheating today.

Pharmacological Calvinism is the belief that taking a pill or drug is morally wrong, because hard work, suffering and pain are essential parts of human existence. The concept figures prominently in Kramer’s discussion of Prozac as a way of explaining the public’s response to the drug, and the same can be said of fans and baseball players. This phenomenon can be seen in baseball lingo: someone who is clean is someone who is off steroids. This terminology might come from the MLB policies, but it probably comes from larger drug culture, and reflects the idea that even though it is tough to argue against steroids ideologically, there is still a taint to taking steroids, the sense that a player who takes them has lost some purity they might have off steroids. This also might be why players like Jose Canseco are ridiculed and reviled when they talk about steroids being the standard throughout the league: they are deliberately taking a stance against pharmacological Calvinism, and so automatically people hearing them want to reject the idea without listening to their analysis, which often is more logical than people care to admit.

Another effect of pharmacological Calvinism is that news reporters looking to cover steroids automatically assume a negative stance towards them, although that is also influenced by the dangerous side effects. Sports journalism is very pervasive. Every fan has to get their scores and results from somewhere, often on a daily basis. Sports fans also tend to spend a lot of time discussing sports, so ideas and opinions they read get discussed and argued about in their social circle.

The final reason steroids are considered cheating is because they work so well. And because they work so well, and so many ballplayers used them, the build of a user, his problems and habits, became commonly known and looked for. What is more, because of the negative press steroids got, fans were able to label them an other to dismiss steroids users as people holding alien values without really looking or considering how they might be motivated by the same things as regular fans. This can be shown by the massive amount of jokes about big heads, small balls, a common side effect of steroid use, and the vehemence of the national polls quoted earlier. For fans to say that anyone testing positive should be thrown out of the sport is quite harsh, considering that there are arrests of ballplayers all the time for a variety of other drug use charges and crime, and none of them are thrown out on the first offense. Something that might help explain this position is the legitimate use of steroids. Steroids are not like nutritional supplements of protein shakes that people might regularly take to get in shape, and they are not petty crimes or drug charges that baseball fans are familiar with or have committed themselves. They are treatments for sick people to help survive treatment, including treatment of diseases like AIDS, which already is somewhat marginalized in mainstream culture. And even in those diseases, steroids are something to avoid if you can. So that makes purposeful steroid users in sports all the more alien.

Ultimately, the reason why taking steroids is considered cheating goes back to the chemical properties of steroids themselves: they work too well at helping athletes build muscle, and combined with the country’s pharmacological Calvinism, make for bad press and public perception. This leads fans to consider steroids cheating and justify it by saying steroids give an unfair competitive advantage, when the entire sport of baseball is built on just such advantages. If steroids were less useful, like nutritional supplements today, they would probably be legal, widely used, and just another part of the game, like spitting sunflower seeds. Unfortunately, because of the pressure on athletes who will do anything to succeed, steroids are only going to get more powerful and hard to detect, rather than more benign and legal. But that doesn’t mean the steroid scandal won’t go away. Already, journalists are trumpeting this baseball season as the post-steroid era. If history is any indication, people will think steroids solved, stop caring, only to be shocked again when the next great and popular surge of offense turns out to be the result of their beloved players using the next generation of performance enhancers.

CONCLUSION

The recent epidemic of cheating in sports reveals ethical and anthropological dimensions that must be considered if we wish as a culture to eliminate it.

The ethical dimensions go far beyond the violation of a particular rule governing a sports league. It goes to one of the bedrock principles of ethics, whether in sports players, coaches and fans believe that a good end never justifies immoral means. In the cases of cheating above, we see that the cheaters think that the end of winning – or doing better in competition – validates the dishonest means one takes to get there. There are now such enormous financial rewards or losses hinging on sports outcomes that those of lesser character find far greater incentive.

The anthropological dimension refers mainly to the means one takes in violation of the ethical principle. Sports cheating today very often involve technological manipulation not just of the rules of the game – like with the Patriots’ spy gate – but also of oneself through performance-enhancing drugs. In former days the path to improvement came through practice, coaching, exercise and experience. Now for many it comes through injections, pills and creams. Rather than improving one’s skills, one seeks to make himself “better, stronger and faster” through technology – like a modern six million dollar man, or, if you consider the financial incentives for many pro-athletes, a hundred million dollar man. This comes at a huge cost. The death of pro-football player Lyle Alzado and 11 recent professional wrestlers through steroid use is enough of a warning. But we also have to be conscious of the huge temptation it places on all those who, at whatever age, wish to be successful college or professional athletes who cannot compete on their own with artificially-enhanced peers”.

REFERENCES:

Sports and Cheating by Fr. Roger J. Landry

Why in Baseball using steroids considered cheating? Brian Chase

American council for drug education – www.acde.org

Spanish gastronomy

In this Project I will be discussing Spanish gastronomy, in particular from the regions of Andalucía and Aragon I will begin with an introduction of both the regions and then go onto outline the food they like to eat, discussing the dishes that are unique to the region from each province within the region, and how popular the dishes are, and I will research the produce that is unique to each region and the tradition(s) behind the food and the people, I will also provide illustrations to give visual impact to my discussion.

Andalucía is the largest populated region in Spain boasting an incredible 8,285,692 inhabitants locating its self southerly, easterly facing the Mediterranean and westerly the Atlantic Ocean. Andalucía is divided by eight provinces Almeria, Malaga, Granada, Seville, Huelva, Cadiz, Cordoba and Jaen. Essentially the region offers a Mediterranean climate with dry, hot summers and polar like cold winters, making it an attractive location for tourists with its golden beaches and mountain ranges. Andalucía is typically an agricultural region but the service sector is now the regions predominant source of income incorporating tourism, retail sales and transportation. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andalusia- 12-3-2010)

Aragon is a Spanish region in the north east of the country and it borders with France. The region is divided into three provinces which are Huesca, Zaragoza and Teruel. Aragon is one of Spain’s smallest regions and homes 1,277,471 people. The region in difference to Andalucía is an in-land region and doesn’t have beaches, but is blessed with rich green pastures and orchards, valleys and permanent glaciers. Aragon also has many rivers, one of which it is known for is the river ‘Ebro’ (Spain’s largest river) and with it being in the midst of the Pyrenees it is surrounded by many mountains including the highest in the Pyrenees the ‘Aneto’. Aragon is one of Spain’s richest regions although its revenue is similar to Andalucía’s of agricultural and Service sector. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aragon – 17/03/2010)

Andalucía is a beautiful region of southern Spain, where it is rich in fresh produce thus making it gastronomically precious. The prime diet of the region is the Mediterranean diet like in a lot of Spain. In this section I am going to talk about each province of Andalucía and some of the dishes and produce they have to offer.

ALMERIA.

Almerian dishes are mostly based on produce such as pepper, garlic and tomatoes and include the following popular dishes: ‘Olla de trigo’, ‘Ajo colorao’, ‘morgas’, paprika stew and ‘Gachas’ pancake. (http://www.s4c.co.uk/casadudley/e_casadudley_andalucia.shtml – 18-03-2010) ‘Olla de trigo’ is pots of wheat and ‘Ajo colorao’ is red garlic.

GRANADA.

Granada is popular for its ‘Sacromonte’ omelette and Grenadine style broad beans. The style of cooking in Granada has a lot of Arabian influences, with it being spicy and sweet, and consisting in stews and soups. Granada like in a lot of Spain, offers a good variety of Tapas in its bars, where you can sample a variety of national and regional bites and light snacks. Generally Granada’s gastronomy forms around fresh fruit and vegetables, salt and vinegar and olive oil and whatever you eat from the region will have one if not all these ingredients within it. Summery soups are ‘Gaspachos’ and ‘Ajo Blanco’ and wintery ‘thicker’ soups such as: ‘Olla de san Anton’. The Grenadine style broad beans are wrapped in ham and are called ‘Habas con Jamon’. (http://www.whatgranada.com/granada-food.html – 18-03-2010)

Malaga.

Food in Malaga is based around seafood, poultry, sausage, olive oil and locally grown vegetables. ‘Chanquetes’ is a popular dish made with small fishes such as sardines and ‘Boquerones’ in vinegar (marinated and pickled Anchovies). “Rabo de Toro a la Rondeña”. Is another popular regional dish which is a bull’s tail. (http://www.spanishabroad.com/spain/Malaga/mala_food.htm -20-03-2010)

HUELVA.

Huelva is home to a busy port, so the produce that surrounds the province in abundance is Seafood, so its restaurants are rich with fresh fish and shell fish. A popular dish is ‘Choco’ which is a small cuttle fish, and Huelva is well known throughout Spain for its ‘Gambas Blancas’ (white prawns) and an array of clams: ‘Chirlas’, ‘Coquinas’ and ‘almejas’. Other famous dishes are ‘Rape al vino Blanco’ (Monk fish in white wine) and ‘Raya al pimenton ‘(Skate with paprika). (http://www.andalucia.com/cities/huelva/restaurants.htm – 24-03-2010)

CADIZ.

The food in Cadiz like in a lot of Andalucía, is predominantly sea food based, finding amongst its coast lines, shrimp, sea-snails, squid, sea-urchins, lobster and prawns, but seafood is not the only thing people eat in Cadiz, meats such as Pork, goat, beef, game and lamb are widely consumed. Some of the nicest seafood dishes of the province are: ‘Abaja de pescado’ (Fish stew), ‘Gambas al ajillo’ (prawns fried in garlic) ‘Cazon en adobo’ (Dogfish marinated) ‘Cadillios de peros’ (Fish; stewed in orange) and as far as the meat dishes go: ‘Guiso de Rabo de Toro’ (oxtail stew) ‘Perdiz estofada’ (partridge casserole) (http://www.whatcadiz.com/spain-food-wine.html 24-03-2010)

SEVILLE.

The people of Seville are famous for being known as the people who do not eat but feed on Tapas. (http://www.andalucia.com/gastronomy/provincial.htm 26-03-2010) So a good way to get to know Sevillian food is to try as many dishes as possible from all the tapas bars, this is the way the locals eat, amongst big groups of friends eating lots of small portions from the tapas bars. Cured meats such as ‘Jamon Serrano Iberico’, prawns of sanlucar, fried fish, including ‘Gaspacho’ and fresh salads. When the Sevillian’s are not out eating at the tapas bars and taverns, they do a lot of home cooking as the people of Seville are not keen restaurant goers. The true specialities of the region are Flamenco eggs, stuffed artichokes and sautéed kidney with sherry. (http://www.aboutsevilla.com/sevilla/food-drink.asp – 26-03-2010)

CORDOBA.

Unlike the other regions I have spoke about in Andalucía and their very seafood orientation, Cordoba’s food seems to be more in-land with delicious gamey dishes and stews, quite similar to Almerian dishes. Produce such as peppers, pumpkin, purple grapes are included in the dishes and also exotic spices such as cumin and saffron. Some other popular dishes include ‘Salmorejo cordobes’ (a thicker Gaspacho style soup), ‘Morcilla’ (Blood sausage), ‘Salchichon de Pozo Blanco’ (cured sausage). (http://www.whatcordoba.com/cordoba-food.html 28-04-2010)

JAEN.

Jaen, the final province in Andalucía, a province which bases its food on olive oil and some popular dishes include ‘Espinacas Jineses’ (a style of spinach typical to Jaen) ‘Ajilmojili’ (a provincial style of potato cooked with olive oil, red peppers and vinegar). There is also an area of Jaen where fish is more widely consumed with fish dishes being more cod and herring based which are used to make the following dishes: ‘Ajoharina’ and ‘Andrajos’. Jaen is known for products such as ‘Afajores’ (macaroons), ‘Mostachones’ (a provincial sweet made with, flour, cinnamon, lemon and sugar), ‘Roscos’ (a type of donut) and a selection of local marmalades. (http://www.andalucia.com/gastronomy/provincial.htm – 29-03-2010)

I have based this project more so on Andalucían cuisine, but in the following section I will briefly state some of the dishes from Aragon comparatively to the dishes of Andalucía.

ARAGON.

Aragonese cuisine is known as the most wholesome and straight forward in Spain and with Aragon being in-land and bordering France and homing the Pyrenees, the food is simpler, warm and homely, differing from the Andalucía’s zest and vibrant seafood. In Zaragoza you find meat dishes such as Lamb and goat cooked on a spit, vegetable stew and some local favourites such as ‘huevos al salmorejo’ (eggs with asparagus sauce) and ‘Pollo a la chilindron’ (Chicken in a cured ham sauce) (http://www.zaragozatravel.com/dining.htm) 30-03-2010.)

The region also includes dishes that combine, meat, chocolate and fruit, popular dishes include partridge with chocolate, Fried Pyrenees trout (the best trout from the rivers in the region) and Serrano ham from Teruel (which are made and cured in the bitter winter months up in the mountains) and ‘Sopa aragonese’ which is made with liver and cheese; dating back to the 17th century.( http://www.iberianfoods.co.uk/Aragon.htm) 30-02-2010)

Women Opting Out Of Work

Opting out is a term most commonly understood to describe the decision of married women to voluntarily quit professional careers and remain out of the labor force for a relatively extended period of time during which they are engaged in family care giving, primarily motherhood, to the exclusion of paid employment. Women use a variety of strategies to reconcile work and family responsibilities, including time out of the labor force, opting out, by virtue of the attention given it by the media, has assumed special prominence and a distinct identity. The novelty of opting out is that the women said to be returning home to re-create the traditional family form of male breadwinners are, unlike the stay-at-home mothers of the 1950s, seasoned professionals with considerable career success who are making their decisions in an historical context that affords them a wider range of options than were available to earlier generations of women, even privileged women. Employment, when anticipated at all after marriage, was regarded as short-term and secondary. In the 1970s, educated women made a break with the past and began, in significant numbers, to combine sustained employment with motherhood. Opting out is the ability to exercise this option which is typically open only to women with a male partner whose earnings can offset the loss of their own. (Stone, 2007a)

Some women have resorted to opting out of work because they are not satisfied with their careers. They are not “choosing” to quit but rather are unable to continue, pushed out by the conditions of their jobs rather than pulled home by their children. Highly educated, elite professional women get tired of the demands of work, do not like the effects on their family lives, and opt out of the fast professional tracks of law, business, and journalism to take care of their children. Some of these women are full-time mothers; others work part-time, typically at less demanding jobs. Not all elite professional women are opting out by any means. How much of women’s decision to stay home is a choice, and how much is the result of inflexible and hostile workplaces. Suffice it to say here that the ideology of intensive mothering, combined with the rising demands of workplaces and lack of public support for children’s welfare (e.g., healthcare, daycare, maternity and paternity leave) create severe difficulties for many mothers, privileged and otherwise. (Belkin, 2003, October 26.) Their children are pure, innocent and helpless and need a selfless nurturer who will shelter them from the corrosive outside world, either by providing care herself or ensuring that alternative (although inevitably second-best) care is provided. The mother/child bond is uniquely tight, and lasting, and essential to a child’s healthy psychological development and only a mother (not a father, other family member, or paid caretaker) can provide this care. Mothers are responsible for “nurturing, listening, responding, explaining, negotiating, distracting, and searching for appropriate alternative care,” practices which are “so labor-intensive, so time-consuming, so energy-absorbing” because mothers “understand themselves as largely responsible for the way their children turn out”. Children seem happier, more rested and childlike. They get along better with siblings, and are quite creative in their uses of free time. (Hays, 1996, p. 120) Professionals who had quit their jobs and were stay-at-home mothers -opted out, as conventionally understood -which found that the large majority of these women were highly conflicted about their decision, Further challenging the prevailing explanation that their decision was primarily about motherhood. (Stone, 2007a)

Because of the high cost of living, life becomes expensive thus making women to look for work to support the demands of their families. Middle-class women can’t afford to quit their jobs without scaling back considerably. The families of working class parents are believed to flourish with large amounts of unscheduled time, and adult intervention in their activities is not considered a worthwhile use of anyone’s time. Poor and working-class parents use fewer words with their children, and although children prove quite capable of expressing opinions, adults do not actively cultivate this ability, nor do they cultivate the questioning of authorities and negotiation. Finally, discipline is a matter of rules and sometimes physical force, not reason. As a result, poor and working-class children find themselves disadvantaged vis a vis their middle-class peers, and privilege is passed down. Mothers who work full-time, for instance, often defend this choice as “better for the child in the long-run. Also importantly, mothers are held responsible by others for their children’s well-being, which means that choosing not to adopt tenets of this ideology requires a defense – which is often made in terms of the ideology itself. The accomplishment of natural growth does not, however, mesh as neatly with the procedures and expectations of schools and the workplace as does concerted cultivation, which encourages children to engage in many time management and linguistic practices that institutions expect and reward. (Lareau, 2003) Women do not quit their careers because of a preference to stay home with their children. Some professions might be more or less conducive to women’s persistence suggests that there are lessons to be learned from certain fields that might be usefully applied to others, especially the corporate sector. Although virtually all of the women in the sample were happy to have more time to spend with their children, most still identified with their professions and intended to return to work at some point in the future, although their plans are uncertain. Having a job, especially a fulfilling professional career, is more interesting than housework and child-rearing. Men don’t want housewives, Some men fantasize about having a woman running their home and doing not much more, sure. But nowadays, a lot of men prefer to marry more independent women, and would find the idea of supporting a wife intimidating. Women with children are found to have lower full-time, year-round labor force participation rates overall than male graduates or women without children, but those with advanced degrees showed a strong commitment to their careers by returning to work after only brief absences following childbirth (Stone, 2007a)

I would agree with Ann Crittenden the Author of “The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is still the Least Valued”. This is because she portrays women as the good mother, the wise mother . . . is more important to the community than even the ablest man; her career is more worthy of honor and is more useful to the community than the career of any man, no matter how successful. A mother’s work is not just invisible; it can become a handicap. Raising children may be the most important job in the world, but you can’t put it on a résumé. The idea that time spent with one’s child is time wasted is embedded in traditional economic thinking. People who are not formally employed may create human capital, but they themselves are said to suffer a deterioration of the stuff, as if they were so many pieces of equipment left out to rust. Inflexible workplaces guarantee that many women will have to cut back on, if not quit, their employment once they have children. The result is a loss of income that produces a bigger wage gap between mothers and childless women than the wage gap between young men and women. The very definition of a mother is selfless service to another. We don’t owe Mother for her gifts; she owes us. And in return for her bounty, Mother receives no lack of veneration. Crittenden proves homemakers are essential to the economic and political success of our country and its inhabitants. She also emphasizes the contributions of the large number of educated women who have chosen to stay home and raise children.(Crittenden, February 2001)

“Opting out” is a luxury unavailable to most women and only applicable to those with high earnings/savings or wealthy partners; professional women with the option to opt out might take it because they are not given flexible options to stay in their professional jobs and parent; women in all job sectors are more affected by the recession, especially in jobs like finance where a male-dominated environment might lead to high-ranking women being axed because of the perception they aren’t tough enough; women with the ability to pretend they weren’t forced out of their jobs might do so by claiming they chose not to work to stay home and parent–such women are not included in unemployment numbers or given the attendant benefits of unemployment; and the new frontier might be the “flexibility stigma.” The only way to get rid of the “flexibility stigma” is to embrace a culture where professional men and women each take off work in equal measure to care for children or attend to household tasks. Then, we might in a world where there is a “parent stigma” but at least it won’t be borne solely by women. (Leonhard, 2010, August.)

Conclusion.

Because it does not conform to the standard conception of a profession, motherhood might seem to have no place in this issue. A woman requires no special expertise, no knowledge, skill or educational degree to become a mother. Furthermore, the work she does as a mother is unpaid, sometimes even unrecognized as work. These two features of motherood – its accessibility to any fertile girl or woman, and the fact that society provides no financial compensation to mothers for their hard work–are often lamented, though towards very different political ends. In fact, motherhood might be considered the very opposite of a profession: a status dependent upon biological, cultural and social factors, not educational ones, and involving labor done without pay or recognized steps to advancement.

The Effect of Cultural and Racial Identity on Self-Image

Many factors contribute to making up the identity of an individual, their self-image and how they portray themselves. Some of these factors include: beliefs, culture, gender, race, amongst others. Usually, people in a society tend to base their initial knowledge of other people on stereotypical generalizations that originate from these various aspects of identity. In many cases, these generalizations that hastily become the known myths do not necessarily tell the truth about a certain group of people with major similarities like cultural background or race. This ends up creating a standard that society indirectly confers on these people who in return, may or may not conform to these standards. Personally, I fall under the category of people that do not live according to what may seem like societal standards when analyzing the average Canadian teenager. My cultural and racial identity sum up the major aspects that influence my self-image because my physical characteristics causes society to not see beyond my cultural background, gender and values.

As an illustration, my cultural and racial background is physically evident because I have distinct features like my skin colour, that show I am Black. Also, when I talk my accent clearly depicts that I am a West-African, more specifically a proud Nigerian girl. This impacts my self-image tremendously because it serves as a constant reminder of my place of origin. Being a true Nigerian child comes with the training I get to enable me become a responsible lady in the nearest future. This is because I have certain responsibilities and standards to live by as a result of my upbringing as a child. For example, in my childhood the importance of working hard was constantly preached by my parents, elders at church, school and even my surroundings. House chores were seen as the primary duties of the children in the home and being the youngest of five did not really help this fact. My place in the family as the last born put me in the position of the errand person. My older ones were more like my supervisors and to them, having me assist whenever there was a need to wash clothes, cook, sweep the house and many more, made me more responsible as I grew older. Up until this point, this makes me see myself as an active role player in my life and maturation process. On the other hand, this is different from how the people around me would judge me. A recent example is when I moved into residence at York University. Being evidently African, a fellow student living on the same floor admitted she thought I would be really “ratchet”. By this, she meant her expectations of me were low. She thought I was the loud party girl that every guy knew and had sexual history with. She was surprised to find out I am actually a reserved and simple girl who is academic oriented. Her reason for thinking this way came from her encounters with few other Black girls in the past who did not act responsibly because of their issues with drugs, smoking and boys. This made her judge me before she even got to know me for who I truly am.

Secondly, being a girl influences my self-image because it is one physical aspect of my identity that speaks for me before I do. As a female child born into a patriarchal society like that of the Nigerian society, your ideal stages in life have practically been laid out for you to follow. It starts from growing up being responsible and hardworking, then working hard to make sure you are academically successful because education is very important. After this, you get your career and at the “right time”, get married when your destined husband finds you. For instance, when I was a younger child growing up, my mum always told me stories of how being a good mother or wife is not easy, but worth it. She would always encourage me to watch her whenever she was cooking, serving my dad his food or arranging the house. She constantly emphasized on the importance of being industrious as a lady and potential wife. This means that as a female in the average Nigerian home, your purpose in life seems incomplete if you do not plan on getting married and having children. In other words, after you reach a certain age as a girl, you better start expecting the whole talk about marriage, having grandchildren for your parents and being a good wife, cook and mother when you marry. I do not have a problem with this in any way because I believe that part of the fulfillment of a woman comes from her marrying her true love, having a family and raising her children at some point in her life.

Furthermore, my values which are a major component of my identity determine the kind of person I choose to be and eventually become. My main values include, my belief in Jesus Christ as my saviour, abstinence from sex, alcohol and any type of drugs. This makes me see myself as a misfit because I can hardly fit into my environment or society without having to change or compromise my beliefs a little. Most times, people see me as weird and find it hard to believe that I have never gone clubbing, smoked or at least done something “cool”. An occurrence that I do not think I will ever forget was in the summer of grade eleven which is about two years ago. I met a guy who happened to be a friend of my close friend. The three of us spent time together at the mall while the guy was trying to get to know me better by asking me questions about my school, background amongst others. I thought he was a nice person. Eventually, he asked if we could “chill” and I was not sure of what he meant. Regardless, I said no because and gave an excuse of having to go pick my nephew up from school. In all honesty, I did not feel like going out with a guy, especially someone I just met for the first time. To cut the long story short, he ended up walking halfway home with me because he claimed he lived in the same neighbourhood as me. Later on, I figured that by “chill” he meant he was sexually attracted to me and he just wanted to get something from me because he thought I was that type of girl. I could see disappointment written all over his face when I totally refused his advancements towards me. He said he had never been refused by any girl with a similar racial or cultural background as me. To say the least, I was disgusted at the fact that someone of the opposite gender would actually disregard my belief in sexual purity and abstinence then, judge me in such a disrespectful manner because of my skin color and cultural background.

All in all, I believe that my body goes beyond my physical beauty and what I look like. It encompasses everything about me, ranging from the smallest to the biggest. The way I see myself is also as a result of a combinations of all these factors like how other people see me and judge me. I cannot blame society for their judgements of me, but I can expect better because a person goes beyond his or her cover which is the body. You have to remove the cover in this sense and see every single thing is contains beneath it. As a result of this self-image continuously develops as a person grows and this is my story. I know that despite what my cultural and racial identity entails, I will continuously amaze myself with personal growth and maturity. I will reach beyond the set boundaries and expectations.

What is Churn?

Churn is the phenomenon where a customer switches from one service to a competitor’s service (Tsai & Chen, 2009:2). There are two main types of churn, namely voluntary churn and involuntary churn. Voluntary churn is when the customer initiated the service termination. Involuntary churn means the company suspended the customer’s service and this is usually because of non-payment or service abuse.

Companies, in various industries, have recently started to realise that their client set is their most valuable asset. Retaining the existing clients is the best marketing strategy. Numerous studies have confirmed this by showing that it is more profitable to keep your existing clients satisfied than to constantly attract new clients (Van Den Poel & Larivière, 2004:197; Coussement & Van Den Poel, 2008:313).

According to Van Den Poel and Larivi¨re (2004:197) successful customer retention has more than just financial benefits:

Successful customer retention programs free the organisation to focus on existing customers’ needs and the building of relationships.
It lowers the need to find new customers with uncertain levels of risk.
Long term customers tend to buy more and provide positive advertising through word-of-mouth.
The company has better knowledge of long term customers and they are less expensive with lower uncertainty and risk.
Customers with longer tenures are less likely to be influenced by competitive marketing strategies.
Sales may decrease if customers churn, due to lost opportunities. These customers also need to be replaced, which can cost five to six times more than simply retaining the customer.
1.1.GROWTH IN FIXED-LINE MARKETS
According to Agrawal (2009) the high growth phase in the telecommunications market is over. In the future, wealth in the industry will be split between the companies. Revenues (of telecommunication companies) are declining around the world. Figure 2 shows Telkom’s fixed-line customer base and customer growth rate for the previous seven years. The number of lines is used as an estimate for the number of fixed-line customers.

Figure 2-Telkom’s fixed-line annual customer base (Idea adopted from Ahn, Han & Lee (2006:554))

With the lower customer growth worldwide, it is becoming vital to prevent customers from churning.

1.2.PREVENTING CUSTOMER CHURN
The two basic approaches to churn management are divided into untargeted and targeted approaches. Untargeted approaches rely on superior products and mass advertising to decrease churn (Neslin, Gupta, Kamakura, Lu & Mason, 2004:3).

Targeted approaches rely on identifying customers who are likely to churn and then customising a service plan or incentive to prevent it from happening. Targeted approaches can be further divided into proactive and reactive approaches.

With a proactive approach the company identifies customers who are likely to churn at a future date. These customers are then targeted with incentives or special programs to attempt to retain them.

In a reactive targeted approach the company waits until the customer cancels the account and then offers the customer an incentive (Neslin et al., 2004:4).

A proactive targeted approach has the advantage of lower incentive costs (because the customer is not “bribed” at the last minute to stay with the company). It also prevents a culture where customers threaten to churn in order to negotiate a better deal with the company (Neslin et al., 2004:4).

The proactive, targeted approach is dependent on a predictive statistical technique to predict churners with a high accuracy. Otherwise the company’s funds may be wasted on unnecessary programs that incorrectly identified customers.

1.3.MAIN CHURN PREDICTORS
According to Chu, Tsai and Ho (2007:704) the main contributors to churn in the telecommunications industry are; price, coverage, quality and customer service. Their contributions to churn can be seen from Figure 3.

Figure 3 indicates that the primary reason for churn is price related (47% of the sample). The customer churns because a cheaper service or product is available, through no fault of the company. This means that a perfect retention strategy, based on customer satisfaction, can only prevent 53% of the churners (Chu et al., 2007:704).

1.4.CHURN MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK
Datta, Masand, Mani and Li (2001:486) proposed a five stage framework for customer churn management (Figure 4).

The first stage is to identify suitable data for the modelling process. The quality of this data is extremely important. Poor data quality can cause large losses in money, time and opportunities (Olson, 2003:1). It is also important to determine if all the available historical data, or only the most recent data, is going to be used.

The second stage consists of the data semantics problem. It has a direct link with the first stage. In order to complete the first stage successfully, a complete understanding of the data and the variables’ information are required. Data quality issues are linked to data semantics because it often influences data interpretation directly. It frequently leads to data misinterpretation (Dasu & Johnson, 2003:100).

Stage three handles feature selection. Cios, Pedrycz, Swiniarski and Kurgan (2007:207) define feature selection as “a process of finding a subset of features, from the original set of features forming patterns in a given data set…”. It is important to select a sufficient number of diverse features for the modelling phase. Section 5.5.3 discusses some of the most important features found in the literature.

Stage four is the predictive model development stage. There are many alternative methods available. Figure 5 shows the number of times a statistical technique was mentioned in the papers the author read. These methods are discussed in detail in Section 6.

The final stage is the model validation process. The goal of this stage is to ensure that the model delivers accurate predictions.

5.5.1STAGE ONE – IDENTIFY DATA
Usually a churn indicator flag must be derived in order to define churners. Currently, there exists no standard accepted definition for churn (Attaa, 2009). One of the popular definitions state that a customer is considered churned if the customer had no active products for three consecutive months (Attaa, 2009; Virgin Media, 2009; Orascom Telecom, 2008). Once a target variable is derived, the set of best features (variables) can be determined.

5.5.2STAGE TWO – DATA SEMANTICS
Data semantics is the process of understanding the context of the data. Certain variables are difficult to interpret and must be carefully studied. It is also important to use consistent data definitions in the database. Datta, et al. (2001) claims that this phase is extremely important.

5.5.3STAGE THREE – FEATURE SELECTION
Feature selection is another important stage. The variables selected here are used in the modelling stage. It consists of two phases. Firstly, an initial feature subset is determined. Secondly, the subset is evaluated based on a certain criterion.

Ahn et al. (2006:554) describe four main types of determinants in churn. These determinants should be included in the initial feature subset.

Customer dissatisfaction is the first determinant of churn mentioned. It is driven by network and call quality. Service failures have also been identified as “triggers” that accelerate churn. Customers who are unhappy can have an extended negative influence on a company. They can spread negative word-of-month and also appeal to third-party consumer affair bodies (Ahn et al., 2006:555).

Cost of switching is the second main determinant. Customers maintain their relationships with a company based on one of two reasons: they “have to” stay (constraint) or they “want to” stay (loyalty). Companies can use loyalty programs or membership cards to encourage their customers to “want to” stay (Ahn et al., 2006:556).

Service usage is the third main determinant. A customer’s service usage can broadly be described with minutes of use, frequency of use and total number of distinct numbers used. Service usage is one of the most popular predictors in churn models. It is still unclear if the correlation between churn and service usage is positive or negative (Ahn et al., 2006:556).

The final main determinant is customer status. According to Ahn et al. (2006:556), customers seldom churn suddenly from a service provider. Customers are usually suspended for a while due to payment issues, or they decide not to use the service for a while, before they churn.

Wei and Chiu (2002:105) use length of service and payment method as further possible predictors of churn. Customers with a longer service history are less likely to churn. Customers who authorise direct payment from their bank accounts are also expected to be less likely to churn.

Qi, Zhang, Shu, Li and Ge (2004?:2) derived different growth rates and number of abnormal fluctuation variables to model churn. Customers with growing usage are less likely to churn and customers with a high abnormal fluctuation are more likely to churn.

5.5.4STAGE FOUR – MODEL DEVELOPMENT
It is clear from Figure 5 that decision tree models are the most frequently used models. The second most popular technique is logistic regression, followed closely by neural networks and survival analysis. The technique that featured in the least number of papers is discriminant analysis.

Discriminant analysis is a multivariate technique that classifies observations into existing categories. A mathematical function is derived from a set of continuous variables that best discriminates among the set of categories (Meilgaard, Civille & Carr, 1999:323).

According to Cohen and Cohen (2002:485) discriminant analysis makes stronger modelling assumptions than logistic regression. These include that the predictor variables must be multivariate normally distributed and the within-group covariance matrix must be homogeneous. These assumptions are rarely met in practice.

According to Harrell (2001:217) even if these assumptions are met, the results obtained from logistic regression are still as accurate as those obtained from discrimination analysis. Discriminant analysis will, therefore, not be considered.

A neural network is a parallel data processing structure that possesses the ability to learn. The concept is roughly based on the human brain (Hadden, Tiwari, Roy & Ruta, 2006:2). Most neural networks are based on the perceptron architecture where a weighted linear combination of inputs is sent through a nonlinear function.

According to de Waal and du Toit (2006:1) neural networks have been known to offer accurate predictions with difficult interpretations. Understanding the drivers of churn is one of the main goals of churn modelling and, unfortunately, traditional neural networks provide limited understanding of the model.

Yang and Chiu (2007:319) confirm this by stating that neural networks use an internal weight scheme that doesn’t provide any insight into why the solution is valid. It is often called a black-box methodology and neural networks are, therefore, also not considered in this study.

The statistical methodologies used in this study are decision trees, logistic regression and survival analysis. Decision tree modelling is discussed in Section 6.1, logistic regression in Sections 6.2 and 6.3 and survival analysis is discussed in Section 6.4.

5.5.5STAGE FIVE – VALIDATION OF RESULTS
Each modelling technique has its own, specific validation method. To compare the models, accuracy will be used. However, a high accuracy on the training and validation data sets does not automatically result in accurate predictions on the population dataset. It is important to take the impact of oversampling into account. Section 5.6 discusses oversampling and the adjustments that need to be made.

1.5.ADJUSTMENTS FOR TARGET LEVEL IMBALANCES
From Telkom’s data it is clear that churn is a rare event of great interest and great value (Gupta, Hanssens, Hardie, Kahn, Kumar, Lin & Sriram, 2006:152).

If the event is rare, using a sample with the same proportion of events and non-events as the population is not ideal. Assume a decision tree is developed from such a sample and the event rate (x%) is very low. A prediction model could obtain a high accuracy (1-x%) by simply assigning all the cases to the majority level (e.g. predict all customers are non-churners) (Wei & Chiu, 2002:106). A sample with more balanced levels of the target is required.

Basic sampling methods to decrease the level of class imbalances include under-sampling and over-sampling. Under-sampling eliminates some of the majority-class cases by randomly selecting a lower percentage of them for the sample. Over-sampling duplicates minority-class cases by including a randomly selected case more than once (Burez & Van Den Poel, 2009:4630).

Under-sampling has the drawback that potentially useful information is unused. Over-sampling has the drawback that it might lead to over-fitting because cases are duplicated. Studies have shown that over-sampling is ineffective at improving the recognition of the minority class (Drummond & Holte, 2003:8). According to Chen, Liaw & Breiman, (2004:2) under-sampling has an edge over over-sampling.

However, if the probability of an event (target variable equals one) in the population differs from the probability of an event in the sample, it is necessary to make adjustments for the prior probabilities. Otherwise the probability of the event will be overestimated. This will lead to score graphs and statistics that are inaccurate or misleading (Georges, 2007:456).

Therefore, decision-based statistics based on accuracy (or misclassification) misrepresent the model performance on the population. A model developed on this sample will identify more churners than there actually are (high false alarm rate). Without an adjustment for prior probabilities, the estimates for the event will be overestimated.

According to Potts (2001:72) the accuracy can be adjusted with equation 1. It takes prior probabilities into account.

With:

: the population proportion of non-churners

: the population proportion of churners

: the sample proportion of non-churners

: the sample proportion of churners

: the number of true negatives (number of correctly predicted non-

churners)

: the number of true positives (number of correctly predicted churners)

: the number of instances in the sample

However, accuracy as a model efficiency measure trained on an under-sampled dataset is dependent on the threshold. This threshold is influenced by the class imbalance between the sample and the population (Burez & Van Den Poel, 2009:4626).

Young Parenthood And Teen Fathers

Much of the researches available on young parenthood have focused on the experiences of teenage mothers and mainly those separated from the young fathers. Subsequently, efforts have been made to ascertain the proportional involvement of fathers in various aspects of parenting and the distinctive contributions of fathers (knight et. Al, 2006). There are significant gaps in the provision of service for teenage fathers (Cater et al 2006). Practitioners wishing to offer support for the young fathers face a number of barriers such as the difficultly in finding young fathers, the lack of adequate support for young fathers when they are identified, complicated family issues, educational difficulties and the negative attitudes of individual professionals.

Despite the growing research on young fathers, there remains a dearth of research that recognises the wide diversity of young fatherhood and the different needs young fathers may have (e.g. young fathers in care, young fathers in prison, non-resident fathers, young fathers from ethnic minority groups). Young fathers are invisible as a group, yet they are more likely to require support services and be affected by unemployment, poor housing, and a lack of education (Speak et al., 1997). It is therefore not surprising that little is known about the expectations and experiences of young fathers in accessing support and the barriers they face.

The study arose from the observation that there is limited information available in current research on the views and experiences of young fathers in Outer London Borough. Much of the research that is available on young parents focuses on the experiences of young mothers. This study sought to establish, from the perspective of young fathers and the organisations that worked with them their expectations and experiences in accessing support and the effectiveness of the support available.

Research questions

How accessible and effective are the support available to young fathers in meeting their socio-economic needs in Outer London Borough?

Aims

The aims of my research are:

to identify which organisations are offering support to young fathers and how they worked with them;

to explore young fathers’ view of support available to them and the obstacles they face in accessing it;

to establish, from the view point of young fathers and the organisations that worked with them the effectiveness of the support.

Research methodology

The qualitative paradigm aims to understand the social world from the viewpoint of respondents, through detailed descriptions of their cognitive and symbolic actions, and through the richness of meaning associated with observable behavior (Wildemuth, 1993).

The research would be undertaken using the following qualitative research techniques:

Desk scoping.

Structured interviews with young fathers and service providers.

Case study review of projects and initiatives that provide practical support to young fathers.

 

Desk Scoping

Desk Scoping focused on investigating into the existing evidence. This included searching the following sources:

An extensive search was made of all relevant databases, libraries and journals for literature sources pertaining to the project issue. In addition a comprehensive review of internet based literature and resources were made. Using the London South Bank University library online resources via http://library.lsbu.ac.uk, ASSIA (Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts), an electronic resource, was searched, 51 results were found using the term young parenthood (search was from 2001 to current), 33 results were found using the term teenage father (search was from 2002 to current to reduce the search result to a manageable number) and 9 results were found using the terms young father and support. ASSIA covers English language journals in applied social sciences and includes health, economics, social issues & social policy, organisational behaviour and communication.

Relevant governmental organisations’ websites were searched for information gathering.

As relevant reports were identified through these avenues, the references within these reports were followed as a way of further identifying relevant research reports.

Interviews

The most common forms of collecting qualitative data are participant observation and in-depth interviewing (Kenworth, Snowley & Gilling 2004). Cohen & Manion (1993) interviews are initiated by the reviewer for the specific purpose of obtaining research-relevant information and focused by (her or) him on content specified by research objectives of systematic description, prediction or explanation.

7 semi-structured interviews will be conducted with service delivery personnel from those organisations offering specialist support to young fathers (social services, connexions, parenting support, parentingUK, first housing, health agency, and employment support). These interviews would be conducted by telephone to identify common/different support practices and to evaluate their perceived effectiveness.

In addition to the interviews, local service providers would take part in informal meetings. Some would be interviewed at the start of the study and provide information on the local context. Others would provide ongoing dialogue during the time of the study, particularly those from maternity services in the study localities. A roundtable dissemination event would be held towards the end of the study to discuss findings and their relevance for local practice and policy.

A minimum of 10 semi-structured interviews would be held with young fathers (young fathers in care, young fathers in prison, non-resident fathers and young fathers from ethnic minority groups) who have either received or not received support. Due to the delicate nature of these interviews and the potential vulnerability of the participants, an appropriate qualified researcher, following the strictest ethical guidelines, will sensitively conduct interview. Prior to any interviews, the researcher will update their Child Protection Training to ensure that s/he is fully aware of current relevant issues.

The core themes to be explored through the structured interviews are:

identifying the support needs of young fathers;

local services available to young fathers, both practical and emotional;

partnership working among agencies that provide young fathers with support;

opportunities and challenges to providing practical support to young fathers.

Interview will be conducted in the participants’ homes and supported by adult family member or friend. Parental/guardian consent will be confirmed prior to the interview and all interviews will be recorded digitally. Data will be held in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Their names and other identifying information would be anonymised in the presentation of finding. The young people taking part would be assured in writing and verbally that the narratives they shared would be treated in confidence and that confidentiality would be breached only in the event of disclosure or child protection concerns being revealed regarding issues not already known to the relevant agencies.

A semi-structured interview will be used by the same researcher to ensure consistency; all interviews will be digitally recorded with consent and lasted between 20 and 60 minutes. Digital recording the interviews would enhance the reliability of the interview. Using semi-structured interviews in this study enables the interviewer to be guided by the participant who should be encouraged to talk freely, even though the interviewer may have certain points to cover.

Participant will be recruited in the following way:

Young fathers who have used organisations offering specialist (social services, connexions, parenting support, parentingUK, first housing, health agency, and employment support) support will be contacted via a list to be provided by the agencies and invited to join the study only after securing the young person’s agreement and parental/guardian consent. For others who have not used specialist services, would be recruited through their children’s mothers or via local contacts and word of mouth.

Young fathers will be encouraged to participate in the study, through awarding a £10 ASDA voucher to all participants. Should sufficient participants be identified, selection through criteria including age, gender and ethnicity type will be made to ensure a broad representation of demographic groups.

Case Study

To explore in more depth the experiences of young fathers and to understand more fully the practice of those organisations offering activities to young fathers, three case studies were reviewed. These case studies are examples of projects or initiatives that provide practical support to young fathers. The aim of the review was to explore the range of approaches that have been developed to support the practical needs of young fathers, highlighting successes, challenges faced and lessons learned.

The findings reported here centre mainly on the experiences of becoming and being a father from the viewpoints of the young men involved in the case studies. Additionally the report includes some young women’s perspectives on the young men as fathers.

Research design

It is anticipated that in order to complement existing longitudinal survey data, the current study will employ primarily qualitative methods to explore the young fathers expectations and experiences in accessing support and the effectiveness of the support they receive. The aim of a qualitative researcher is to explore people’s experiences, feelings and beliefs so that statements about how people interpret and structure their lives can be made (Holloway & Wheeler 1996).

The Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach would be used for this study and will provide an insight and understanding of young fathers expectations and experiences in accessing support and the effectiveness of the support. IPA was chosen over the ‘Grounded Theory’ approach (Glaser & Strauss 1967), as we do not want to develop a theory but to understand and explore how the participants understood their personal and social environment and what experiences and events meant for them.

It is envisage that a retrospective, life-history approach, including a range of groups (e.g. young fathers in care, young fathers in prison, non-resident fathers, young fathers from ethnic minority groups and practitioners) will give insights into young fathers’ expectations and experiences in accessing support and the effectiveness of the support they receive. I expect the sample to reflect a sufficient range of potentially significant variables such as gender, age, ethnicity and social background.

The ethical committee within the London South Bank University (LSBU) would consider the study for approval. All participants would be given information sheets explaining the procedure. Before giving signed consent, participants would be advised that they were free to leave at any time. Pilot studies would be done of the questions being asked to check the clarity of the language.

Beck & Hungler (2001) suggest that four ethical principles must be considered when participating in research: (1) the right not to be harmed, (2) the right to be fully informed on all aspects of the study, (3) the right to decide to take part or not (and the right to withdraw at any time) and (4) the right to privacy, anonymity and confidentiality.

Qualitative research commences during the process of data collection. While the researcher processes the information patterns are then looked for during the interview and then select a theme to follow. The data analysis continues throughout the interviews and also once data is collected. Two researchers will independently undertake the analysis and checked and re-checked with each other for emergent themes.

Diversity within the sample would allow for the exploration of young fathers’ experiences across a range of circumstances relating to their age, locality, education and employment, living arrangements, relationships with their partner, support from family and friends, contact with formal services, etc.

Social work and qualitative research share the mutual goals of dealing with subjectivity, describing the complexity of lived experience, and appreciating realities where intuition is valued. Qualitative methodology is, therefore, in my view a suitable method to be employed in researching the expectations and experiences of young fathers in accessing support.

Researchers would take necessary steps not to introduce bias by accidentally reporting their interpretation of participants’ feelings. At the beginning of the study researchers would declare and record their feelings. The researchers would also ensure that the level of subjectivity remains at a relatively neutral level.

Ethical issues are important and would be considered at every step of the research process. This is not just about obtaining ‘ethical approval’ for a study but also ensuring the rights of participants are not violated. When reporting the findings of the research, participants’ anonymity and confidentiality would not be breached.

The role of the interviewer is to encourage participants to discuss their experiences of the phenomenon. It is possible that in the cause of the interview participants could inadvertently discuss personal information that they had not planned to reveal, or that may rekindle tragic or uncomfortable experiences related to this study. Researchers would continue to negotiate with participants to ascertain whether they wish to continue with the interview or not. Psychological support would be in place to manage any emotional distress that may result from the interview. Everything would be done in the course of the study to protect the rights of vulnerable respondents.

The researchers would not make any exaggerated claims as to the significance of the research and implications for practice, and further research would be located in the study’s findings. Moreover, the researcher would relate the findings of the study back to the original research purpose, and illustrate whether or not it has been adequately addressed (Thorne et al., 2005). The researchers would conclude by placing the findings in a context that indicates how this new information is of interest, and its implications for social work. These conclusions would reflect the study’s findings and ideally would offer recommendations as to how they may be developed.

The most common criteria used to evaluate qualitative research studies are credibility, dependability, transferability and confirmability (Lincoln et al., 1985). It is therefore important that the readers are able to identify the criteria used and are able to clearly follow each step of the research process.

To ensure the credibility of the study process, the study would address the issue of whether there is consistency between the participants’ views and the researcher’s representation of them. The participants would be consulted at every stage of the study and they would be allowed to read and discuss the study findings. The researcher would also describe and interpret his experience as a researcher.

The study would provide evidence of a decision trail at each stage of the research process. Future researchers would clearly be able to follow the trail used by the researchers and potentially arrive at the same or comparable conclusions. The researchers would demonstrate how conclusions and interpretations have been derived from the data. It’s hoped that the findings would be transferable to other context outside the study situation and people who were not involved in the research study would find the results meaningful.

One of the shortcomings of a qualitative research based study of this nature is their lack of objectivity and generalisation of their findings. The study has been designed to seek answers to how persons or groups make sense of their experiences. In my view small qualitative studies can gain a more personal understanding of the phenomenon and the results can potentially contribute valuable knowledge to the community. Hamilton (1980) asserts that the value of a study is established by reference to the phenomena it seeks to comprehend and the understandings it aspires to develop. Stake (1980) suggests that using qualitative methodology in this type of study may be in conceptual harmony with the service users’ experience and thus be a natural basis for generalization.

Liiicolii Y, Cuba E (1985) Nainrnlisik /nijiiir)’. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA

Koch T (2l)06 Establishing rigour in qualitative research: the decision trail.

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improving the craft of qualitative health research. Quality Health Research 15(8):

1105-13

Myers, M. (2000). Qualitative research and the generalizability question: Standing firm with Proteus. The Qualitative Report, 4(3/4).  http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR4-3/myers.html

Teaching Creativity in Primary Schools

Creativity Arts Primary

“The philosophical foundation for teaching integrated arts in the primary school is based on the belief that aesthetic and creative education is the entitlement of every child and that the nature and quality of the provisions determines the distinctiveness of cultural life and academic performance in school.”(Bloomfield,2000,pg1).

For this essay I am going to be talking about why teaching creativity in the arts in primary school is an essential part of childrenÂ’s learning and what children gain from the lessons. I will be reflecting on my own learning experiences in this module as I feel this justifies why creative arts should be taught. I will be explaining how I can use what I have learnt, from this module, in school and talk about the creative lessons I have planned for in school.

“ChildrenÂ’s natural enthusiasm for the arts, as major and valid sources of knowledge, is nurtured from the first day at school and their motivation and commitment is maintained throughout their primary years.” (Bloomfield,2000,pg1).

Creative arts is an essential part of school life as it includes practical engagement of all children as they learn how to paint, compose music, write or to dance, and as they progress through the school year their knowledge of each art form deepens. When children discover social, cultural or historical aspects of the arts they are able to increase their knowledge of the topic by referring to books, articles, artefacts, CDs, recordings and videos. This also gives the children a deeper understanding of their work. (Bloomfield,2000). Creative arts also develop the use of children’s imagination, the way that they respond to their own life experiences and the way they express and communicate their ideas. This can also help their physical development which includes performing confidently, imaginably and good use of space for themselves and others while performing. (Moyles,2002). Creative arts also involves children with different learning needs, audio, visual and kinaesthetic. The lessons are designed to include all children and allow children to achieve their goals.

Each creative area helps develop different skills for learning. I am going to talk about how drama, music and art can aid childrenÂ’s learning in school.

“Art and design stimulates creativity and imagination. It provides visual tactile and sensory experiences and a unique way of understanding the world.”(DfEE,1999,pg116).

Art artefacts can be found anywhere, all that is needed is imagination to use these artefacts effectively and this can then bring any classroom activity to life. All artefacts that are found can be used to teach the programmes of study in the National Curriculum. “Art is fashioned from world resources, and the natural environment has provided the stimulus for wide ranging art activities both as the stimulus for the design and in the way in which the properties of its material has determined the form of the art object”. (Bloomfield,2000,pg88).

During art sessions children acquire a range of skills which include visual and manual skills, skills to use a wide range of materials and media and problem solving skills. These skills then enable children to formulate their ideas and use materials and artefacts to create their own artefacts in 2D and 3D form. The use of these skills enhance children’s practical knowledge of art making. Children become critically aware during art sessions. They are able to discuss and write about their experiences of art making and develop a metalanguage to discuss their experiences of visual art and design. (Bloomfield,2000).

“Children build up their powers of discussion; they incorporate a vocabulary that has meaning for them from their own creative participation as well as in critical discussion.” (Moyles,2002,pg40).

During a school topic where art is a key focus it is essential to present childrenÂ’s work either in a portfolio or a class display as this allows the class to reflect on the work they have produced and the value of the process and allows children to comment constructively on each others work. (Bloomfield,2000).

“Music is a powerful, unique form of communication that can change the way pupils feel, think and act. It brings together intellect and feeling and enables personal expression, reflection and emotional development.” (DfEE,1999,pg122).

Music sessions in school provide vital skills for children to progress through their primary and secondary years. Music lessons enhance childrenÂ’s listening skills. Â“Listening is fundamental both in forms of the sounds independently produced and also the collective responses of groups.” Music also enhances group work as it aids inclusion because children, whatever their background or aptitude, have the ability to express themselves successfully in the classroom. Mutual respect and self-discipline is acquired during these sessions as children develop good relationships with each other. (Bloomfield,2000).

“Participation in music and its integration with other art forms provides a rich social environment for children. Performance and presentational work develops a close working relationship within the peer group.” (Bloomfield,2000,pg76).

Music is also looked at as a form of communication. Many professional song writers write songs to deploy meaning and get messages out to the greater world. Musical understanding through singing songs helps children use their voices in an eloquent and effective manner. Children in school are encouraged to adapt music as a form of communication asmusic offers a unique mode of experience where children can receive and express ideas and feelings. This also encourages children to use descriptive language to describe why they have chosen a particular sound to represent their emotions mood or feelings. Music also develops children’s speech as children with musical training have a greater capability to process all sounds, including speech. (Bloomfield,2000).

“ICT is a powerful and necessary tool for the children which both enhances and informs their music, whether as creators, performers, or as investigators.” (Bloomfield,2000,pg87).

Children can use music to find out about the world. There are many links that can be made with music and the celebration of diversity. Children can be encouraged to make music CDs to share with different schools in different communities and countries. Music which the children relate to or which is related to the topic may create different feelings. These feelings can be compared within the group or between different schools. As with music there is no right or wrong answer and it would be interesting to see how other people interpret their ideas and this celebrates diversity. (Bloomfield,2000). When children have recorded their piece it is possible for them to use it as backing music to a performance associated with their topic, this then uses music to enhance and intensify the other creative arts.

Drama can be split into two sections, drama and dance. “Dance education provides children with an artistic language of actions which, linked with their intellectual and physical growth, is transformed into a significant and meaningful mode of communication.” (Bloomfield,2000,pg46). Dance sessions gain children techniques in coordinating movements, inventing movements, remembering movements and then transferring the movements into a dance routine. During these sessions children are encouraged to use their whole body to do this. Dance can be linked to Literacy sessions as children are “using their bodies to express metaphors and symbols through the formulation and organisation of movement patterns that capture and convey meaning.” (Bloomfield,2000,pg 45). This is also a good way to introduce poetry to children, as they are comparing themselves to something different. Children may be encouraged to show how they are feeling as dance has a semantic structure which provides the basis of how children can think, feel and express ideas through movement. Drama and dance can be used to enhance descriptive work of characters the children are portraying. Drama links with literacy development and understanding as it enables children with the pronunciation of words and recitation from stories and poems. (Bloomfield,2000). Pie Corbett believes that children should story map to remember plots in their stories. This is to help them when they are reciting stories to the class. He believes that this way helps develop a childÂ’s memory as they only need their own interpretation of a picture to tell a story. Dance and music linked together is a way for children to express their understanding of themselves and the world as they perceive it. This can encourage children to research different dances and music from different countries of the world. When children participate in these lessons they are including themselves in the coordination of the group. Once children have been given an initial stimulus they are in control of their group. This then develops their skills in working collectively and harmoniously together because a group who can not function this way will have no hope in producing a final piece of work.

Drama can be linked with music as this can provide an effective atmosphere matching the mood for a production. Art can be used to create wall displays, props and set designs for a drama production.

During this module I can honestly say I have felt lost at times. The reason for this was due to my own experiences that involved creative arts at school. During art lessons I was always under the impression that I could not draw. I would always feel embarrassed about my work. The art teacher gave me no confidence in the lessons. It was a case of turning up, doing the work and then be given no constructive feedback. I took this negativity into my first art seminar. I did not feel comfortable doing the tasks that were set but I carried on. I then had a very long discussion with Catherine about my finished products. She then told me that I was concentrating on the negatives factors of my art work and I should look closely at the positives. Even though I believe she was cross with my attitude towards art, she took the time to teach me a valuable lesson. This I will never forget and I can use effectively in my own art lesson. By making me see the positives in my work I was able to achieve more because I felt confident in what I was doing. I was praised effectively but not over praised as I would have thought she was patronising me. This is the correct attitude to have in the classroom whilst teaching. Children know when they have been given false or too much praise and then the praise is not effective. “Praise can alienate pupils because every response is being judged by the praise it receives.”(Cockburn,2006,pg105).

During my time in school I have planned individual drama and music lessons. For the music lesson the class was split into three groups. Each group was given a number of instruments that made sounds related to Christmas. I gave each group a starting point and this was Christmas Eve, Christmas day morning and Christmas day afternoon. I asked each group to compile a composition relating to the starting point. The children knew that this was their first draft of a composition and they would have time to “practise, rehearse and perform” ,(DfEE,1999,pg126), as the teacher was going to use my idea in further music lessons. The children had to note the pattern of their music using symbols; this was going to make it easier for them to improve the composition. The children were left in control of their own compositions as I did not want any of my own personal input involved in their work. Children are far more creative and adventurous when they are left to their own devices and they will learn more about their work. (Bloomfield,2000).

“Tell me and I forget, show me and I may remember, let me do it and I will learn.”(DfEE,1999,pg90).

It is important when using the creative arts that the children have an end product to show for their work. It was therefore essential that our group was able to show off our work on the ‘Railway lines through the snow’ painting. This gave us a sense of achievement and finalised all our hard work. As a group we all developed through the module especially our concert performance. I had to listen to my peers and they had to listen to me. We had to stay harmonised and focused otherwise the concert would have been a disaster. Each member of the group had different personal strengths and we had to use each others strengths to aid our concert performance. I developed all the skills that I have spoken about which children develop during creative arts sessions and I understand if we did not have these skills we would not progress, and achieve our end goal.

“The creative arts permit individual children to conceptualise and understand their strength areas to compensate or overcome weakness in other areas. It also has the impact of motivating children, sustaining their interest and improving their self-esteem. It provides in-depth study and develops all round skills.”(Bloomfield,2000,pg108).

Experience in the creative arts is therefore an essential part of a child’s learning.

References

Bloomfield. A. (2000). Teaching Integrated Arts in the Primary School. London:David Fulton Publishers.

Cockburn A. Handscomb G. (2006). Teaching children 3-11, a students guide. 2nd ed. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.

DfES., (1999). The National Curriculum. London:DfES

Moyes, J. (2002). Beginning Teaching:Beginning Learning in Primary Education. Second edition. Buckingham: Open University.

Palmer, S.(2003) Literacy: What works? London: Nelson Thornes.

The Negative Effects of Technology

Technology is everywhere. It is a tool that certainly changes the world and how it operates. Many people today are familiar with the technology and its use; it might become extremely important in aspects of our life also evolved in over the past decades and even now made our life simpler, easier, convenient and more comfortable. This notion of the technological development and obvious human capability could cause a massive impact on how the world operates. Unfortunately, nowadays, technologies possibly play both positive and negative rules; depending on how can we invest it. Furthermore, if technology invested and used in useful and positive ways then it might give us a good influence whereas, if it used in negative ways, it will probably cause us a negative influence. In my opinion, it seems that technologies have had a great effect on today’s lifestyle. On the other hand, there are many people omit to believe about some negative effects that related to the use of technologies. This essay will focus on the extent to which negative and positive influence of the technology on some areas of the humanÂ’s lifestyle.

HT Media Ltd (2014) argues that the characteristics of technology certainly provide unlimited belongings while their negative influence on personal relationship may be examined methodically also it could take too long time to recognize the problem, so we should re-study the function of the technology impact on our lifestyle. A part from this, it sometimes makes us restive and confused. These harmful impacts might produce serious problems that we should deal with. Thus, it may be observed that the principle accessibility of technology may reduce the distance between us in order to the growth of the social relationships, and then we might need much more technologies to keeping and strengthening our personal relationships.

It could also possible say that the personal relationships possibly changed significantly. Several people might become used for intelligent and modern devices such as computers, laptops and phones. Thus, they could browse the Internet and will may use the most common social networking applications like Twitter, Skype, Facebook, WeChat, WhatsApp, etc. The communication technology and social sites certainly provided interaction smother and easier with each other, whereas, also have certainly provided public separated from another people because that it could reduce the demand to make communication face-to-face conversation. As a result, it is fair to say that the impacts of those social networking sites are very obvious not only on our personal relationships, but also on many parts of our routine such as privacy, freedom, personÂ’s independent and education (HT Media Ltd, 2014).

The relationship between the students and their families and friends could have a massive effect not just on the health such mental and physical problems. In recent years, many people spend a long time of their day in front of the systems and electronic devices, which might lead to obesity and lastly a great threat to the health, but also on the education. What is more, the family probably support student to achieve the aim of their studies, and may help them to reduce the harmful impacts of stressful life actions due to; there are some students could live a lone which might make them more socially separated, and they may become more relay on the modern electronic devices to getting on engagement and social support. Thus, students certainly use the Internet to communicate frequently with friends and family by emails and text messages being the favourites instruments and technology devices (Weber, 2003).

Certainly, some technological developments might cause populaces to be distracted, too worried, and gradually out-of-the-way also many people may be tangled in many numbers of societies with the technologies today however; the property of these relationships might make people feeling qualitatively empty. Clearly, technology has had a reflective impact on what it means to be social Robert (2014). In figure (1) shows communities, social networking sites, and todayÂ’s communication tools that use it students. This study of students and technology observed that 97 percent of students graphed used social networking sites to stay in touch with their friends. As a result, technology might have strongly affected to students on their personal relationship.

Source: Robert (2014).

Pew Internet & American Life Project (2002) suggests that nowadays, generation of the learners that attend to the institutions of study like universities, colleges and schools could be have unprotected to technology so early and they have been more familiar with it. In the same way, Anderson (2001) states that about twenty percent of the learners attend to schools are used modern electronic devices, when they were between 5 and 8 years old and all these children certainly activated using the computers whenever they increased using it as well. In one sense, there are many reasons for huge uses of the Internet and the technology could be connecting with family, classmate, and friends. It seems that some communication applications and sites like Email, MySpace Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WeChat, LinkedIn, Tango and scores of others by these all sites we could contact each other in any position on over all the world easily and smoothly. Lickerman (2010) mentions that it appears that these fantastic ways and interconnectedness might be solution of our problems. In fact, it may be too expensive.

Furthermore, there is a strong connection between technologies and education. Technology may rapidly blossom in the last twenty years. It would become not just a familiar tool, whereas also certainly improved the knowledge and our skills of the research as an educator. Moreover, it would engage us to study since it could be easy to access and able to share learning materials. Educational technology could be a study and moral training for facilitating teaching and improving performance also it in education may be just an additional chance to achieve education, if we do not time or opportunities to do it another way. In that case, then it could result in the good changes of pedagogy and teaching ways all over the world in order to we could observe the advantages that educational technology and also might create educational chances for students and teachers. On the other hand, it might have a negative effect on students at classroom, which causes no controlling device use, distractions, the risk of cyber-bullring and limiting face-to-face communication due to the difference in available a wonderful technology and preparation needed for operating technologies in teaching could also discover various disadvantages (Sosnowski, 2014).

Above all, there is no universal argument in the legal society about organization of the computer crime, probably just one reason for that which certainly the rapidly developing state of computer technologies day by day. In 1979, U.S. Department of Justice Publication, divided computer crime into three main parts: First of all, Computer abuse “Â…the broad range of international acts involving a computer where one or more perpetrators made or could have made gain and one or victims suffered or could have suffered a loss” .In the Second part, Computer crime “Â…Illegal computer abuse implies direct involvement of computers in committing a crime. In the last part, computer related crimes “Â…any illegal act for which a knowledge of computer technology is essential for successful prosecution”.

In short, these definitions of these parts possibly become cleared by the massive production of computers and electronic devices related products over a few years ago. Thus, the development of effective computer network security law and public policy could not be accomplished without co-operation between the technical and legal communities. Unfortunately, in many countries there are no substances of laws that could protect a person’s privacy when they browse the Internet. The rules that try to set a standard of privacy are substances of the laws beginning with the constitution and remaining down to local laws. These laws are not geared for the Internet. These laws may be to protect a person’s informational privacy.

In the other way, privacy might be one of the most conditions where technology effects significantly signs both the real and the practical landscape. There are a number of demands where in order to increase personal privacy sources, especially in the private areas, demand a great deal of personal information. So the information in the right sides makes the chances for a huge convenience, allowing people access and share information more methodically associated to them. In contrast, the incorrect sides, this information might cause confusion on individual in the shape of financial damage, or identity stealing. Some agencies sector might be going as far as to secure the information and the law enforcement (Hale, 2005).

Hale (2005) states in report explaining identity hazards that face recognition technology (FRT) might lead to a full investigation personal freedom prohibiting privacy as organization might use it to detect people at anytime and location. Clearly, it might lead to eliminate not just peopleÂ’s freedom, but also their independence as well.

To sum up, the usages of technologies on various areas of the humanÂ’s lifestyle could be has both positive and negative consequences. Great site by the way, the connecting technologies in the educational process might makes education enjoyable and more comfortable for the educators and the learners as well and also helps to combine connection education and employment. The technology should be used when it completely benefits us also when it is needed as well and people should try to communicate with each other by meeting in order to improve their society. In contrast, it is not possible to reverse the negative effects of technologies; people should try to avoid it in order to get benefited which helps us in money saving and use it more comfortable and securable. The larger our sense of the freedom and independency as human, we continually try to free ourselves from the limits forced by nature, society, and a new technologies which may lead to more control on our lifestyle. It appears that the use of these technologies probably increasing annually that let us nowadays to look at it more critically.

References:

1)- Anderson, K. J. (2001). Internet use among college students: An exploratory study. Journal of American College Health, 50 (1), 21–26.

2) – HT Media Ltd, (2014) Technology and Social Relationship. The Financial Express, 1 Mar. Available at: .

3) -Hale, B. (2005). Ethics, Place, and Environment. Rutledge Publishing. 8(2).

4)- Robert, J. (2014). Dimensions Of Leisure For Life. Human Kinetics. Available at: [Accessed 24 Aug 2014].

5)- LaRose, R., Eastin, M. S., & Gregg, J. (2001). Reformulating the Internet paradox: Social cognitive explanations of Internet use and depression. Retrieved April 2, 2005, from: v1n2/paradox.html.

6)- Likerman, A. (2010) The Effect of Technology on Relationships. Happiness in this world. Available at: [Accessed 20 Aug 2014].

7) – Pew Internet & American Life Project. (2002). The Internet goes to college. Washington, DC: Author.

8) Sosnowski, J., (2014) Advantages and Disadvantages of Technology in Education. Ehow contributor. Available at: [Accessed 16 Aug 2014].

9)- United States Department of Justice (1979). Computer Crime, Criminal Justice Resource Manual.[online].Retrieved October 1999,from: [Accessed 19 Aug 2014].

10)- Weber, L. (2003).Relationships Among Spirituality, Social Support and Childhood Maltreatment in University Students. Counselling and Values. 47 (2), pp.82–9

Service brokerage: Learning disability services

“Explore the role of models of commissioning such as service brokerage and direct payments in the provision of services for people with a learning difficulty/disability”

This essay will discuss how service brokerage helps in the provision of services for people with a learning disability, by starting with commissioning in relation to services. Followed by an explain on how personalisation is about giving people the power and responsibility to choose what services they want and control over how they are delivered. Subsequently describing service brokerage and how it would help people with learning disabilities.

The term “Commissioning” is described as a process of assessing how a persons need is to be met, through priorities and choices, and allocation of resources. Once this stage has been achieved decisions are made on how services will be delivered, planned and developed by monitoring and evaluating the delivery and effectiveness of services. All the stages in the commissioning process are interlinked and dependent on each other to ensure the best outcome for people.

In recent years, the Government has publicised a number of initiatives that would change the way that services for learning disabled people are planned, commissioned and provided, to ensure that learning disabled people have greater choice and control over their lives through personalisation.

Personalisation is a moderately new term and has generated different thoughts on what it will mean and how it will work in practice. The idea of personalisation has become central to the Government’s policy on social care reform in helping people to become empowered by shaping their own lives and the services they receive (Cabinet Office, 2007, Building on Progress: Public Services).The Government White Paper ‘Our health, our care, our say’ (2006) gives details of the Governments vision to create real changes, by allowing people more choice and greater access to both health and social care services. This transformation of social care and the personalisation agenda is reinforced in the Government’s strategy ‘Putting People First’ (Department of Health White Paper, 2007).

Personalisation reinforces the idea the individual knows best what they need and how those needs can be best met. This allows people to be responsible for themselves and can make their own decisions about what they require, but that they should also have information and support to enable them to do so. In this way services should respond to the individual instead of the person having to fit with the service. Brokerage is a way in which people with learning disabilities can be helped to navigate the social care system. Support planning and brokerage is likely to be of benefit to anyone who receives social care funding, those people who privately pay for their own care, people who are looking for unpaid informal support as well as people who use other sources of funding to assist with leading their lives the way they want to

‘Brokers provide information, advice and technical assistance to develop, cost, negotiate, implement and mediate PLANS as required by individuals.’

 

SALISBURY B. AND WEBB P. (2003)

Service brokerage was developed in 1978 in British Columbia, by The Woodlands Parents Group, a body of parents who were concerned about the lack of quality of life their children were experiencing in an institutionalized setting. They established a voluntary, community-based brokerage agency called the Community Living Society (CLS). The society was authorised to act as a planning and linkage medium, enabling individuals with learning disabilities (and their families) to navigate what seemed to be a difficult system; to empower decision-making control in identifying and acquiring services that would enable them to live more dignified and self-determining lives in their own communities.

It has since been developed and refined and adopted by projects in the United States and a few in the UK, as service brokerage in Britain has until now been the interest of a select few policy makers and academics. However, some schemes do not entirely follow the Canadian model; and, equally, some schemes which are not called service brokerage may integrate the main features. Whilst the language of brokerage may appear new, the functions of brokerage are not and many people will have been receiving this sort of support as part of their existing support arrangements. Therefore this can make Service brokerage a term that can be used to mean many different things to many different people.

The role of the broker is: an intermediary who arranges a contract between a purchaser and provider of services. However, in the term of provision of services to people with learning disabilities, the role of the broker has developed to have a wider scope. While the role has been accepted in principle by the government, the details remain undecided in policy, and the cause of much debate and confusion. In that various functions of brokerage could be carried out by a variety of different personal supporters to the individual, as support staff employed by service providers, local authorities can perform brokerage tasks. Because of the roles that support brokers play, the decisions that they make on behalf of the individuals they support can lead to conflicts of interest.

Therefore, ideally an independent professional should be the best option to provide support brokerage to people with learning disabilities, i.e. free from accountability or loyalties to the council authorities or service providers, so that they are able to focus on the requirements of the person they are assisting. The independent broker would be directed by the ‘customer’ and accountable to him/her and working only for their best interests. The broker may also have to work with the family or personal circle of supporters, whilst recognising that the family especially may have conflicting interests to those of the individual. As a broker s/he should remain focused on the aims of the individual and work to their direction; at the same time, it will be important to maintain respectful contact with others concerned and to mediate and negotiate resolution of any conflict.

Freedom from conflict of interest and accountability to the individual establishes a good basis for trust. The broker’s ethical standards must ensure that they operate within the limits agreed by the individual and within appropriate boundaries of the role and that the relationship is free of any exploitation or abuse. Although working independently, the broker will be able to be more effective if seen by all as competent and trustworthy.

“People who become brokers (or offer brokerage support) will need to become expert information gatherers and interpreters” (CSIP. 2007:11)

A support broker is trained to co-ordinate the process of organizing and maintaining a support package for an individual, By supporting individuals make informed choices about their care needs and choosing what services & support that best fits those needs, including arranging complex care packages, service finding, service arranging, short term enabling community support and signposting Brokerage can be provided by people who are specifically trained and employed as brokers or by members of the individual’s family or friends who may not be paid to undertake the role.

The National Brokerage Network promotes a training package, which includes reflective practice and an ongoing commitment from the broker that continual self development is expected. In addition to this a mentoring and supervision programme is also promoted. The National Brokerage Network an authoritative voice for the development of brokerage in the UK, will take a lead role in lobbying politicians and policy makers with the views of the support broker movement and hopes to provide strong leadership and guidance in the development of the growing network.

However service brokerage does have its limitations, in that service users have never heard of it. This is mainly due to organisations that represented service users, not being made aware of brokerage or being provided inadequate information about how it worked. Meaning most organisations did not see it as a priority. Service brokerage was meant to increase empowerment for service users, however the lack of promotion in the United Kingdom has left service users excluded and not empowered. Yet other organisations that represent people with learning disabilities are opposed to service brokerage, viewing it as foreign import that has no place in the United Kingdom or in the plans for helping people with disabilities lead an independent life. There is a danger that professionals will take over the role of broker in brokerage, employed by service providers or local authorities, this can lead to a conflict of interests when planning for people with learning disabilities.

Brokerage does have good points when it comes to helping in the provision of services for people with learning disabilities, in that a broker is directed by the person with learning disabilities to carry out the tasks necessary for greater control and choice in their lives. In situations where a person may have no informal network of support, a broker can provide the support to carry out the brokerage tasks. An independent broker who is not employed by a service provider or by local authority is outside of the perceived conflict of interests i.e. connection to resources and or the provision of services, and therefore in a better position to give advice, support and implement plans. Brokers are in a good to position to navigate the provider market and see what is available, how the services can be provided and developed and respond to the individuals requirements. The development of brokers can lead to a wealth of local expertise of both support services and/or community resources

If brokerage is to achieve its aims, the following key points will require attention or further exploration: brokerage needs to be clearly defined and explained so that the function is understood by people who may need to use brokerage services. Brokerage needs to be advertised to the general public as well as to people with learning disabilities, as many people have never heard of service brokerage or know of its existence.

Brokerage allows for personalisation of services for someone with a learning disability, as the person can choose what services they want and how they would like them, this helps the learning disabled person have control over their life and chose how they would like to live their life from day to day. This allows people to be responsible for themselves and can make their own decisions about what they require, the broker provides the information and support to enable them to do. Brokerage is a way in which people with learning disabilities can be helped to navigate the social care system.As Support Brokerage is a key element that enables Personal Budgets and Self Directed Support to work.

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REFERENCES

Salisbury B. and Webb P. (2003) ‘Service brokers – parameters of best practice’ San Diego.

commissioning

http://www.doncaster.gov.uk/about/chamber/default.asp?Nav=Report&ReportID=9195

http://www.thecbf.org.uk/planning-future/england/knowhelp.htm

Self-Directed Support: The role of Support Brokerage within Individual Budgets. Jan 2007. CSIP. Accessed on 23 February 2010 from

www.networks.csip.org.uk/personalisationbrokerageadviceandinformationsupport

http://www.nationalbrokeragenetwork.org.uk/information.html

http://moneycarer.org.uk/articles/articles/29/1/Support-Brokerage-For-Care-Services/Page1.html

http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/core.nsf/a/socserv_adultcommld