Update on the development of the key situations in social work research

adi_staempfiAdi Staempfli (Lecturer in Social Work) updates us on the progress made in his project supported by TaLIC’s Fellowship (now Awards) scheme in 2017.

In my research I am developing the Key Situation reflective learning model for English social work education and continuous professional development.  It is a situation-based pedagogical approach (Ghisla, Boldrini and Bausch, 2014) that organises learning and artefacts around typical recurring professional situations (Tov, Kunz and Staempfli, 2016).  The concept of ‘situation’ is thus a tool for capturing and describing practice that allows reflexive learning and knowledge management that is rooted in practice.  To adopt the model for English social work I have started a participatory research process with experienced social workers to describe English social work key situations.

Funding, obtained through Goldsmiths’ Teaching and Learning Fellowship, enabled me to offer participants vouchers for their participation in a one-day research workshop.  I have successfully recruited 13 participants who took part in one of two workshops.  The social workers represented both adult, children and families and independent social work fields and came from far and wide, from both urban and rural areas of England.  I was humbled by the willingness of these practitioners to give up at least a day of their time to participate.

The participants identified over 180 tasks, processes and practice situations that were visualised, discussed, analysed and clustered into 16 areas of responsibilities.


Participants started to name key situations, such as ‘Having an initial conversation’; ‘Gather information to plan next steps’; ‘Dealing with a crisis situation’ and ‘Having a first meeting’ and around 40 draft situations have been named.

Following these workshops, I will review the situations and analyse whether any important fields or practice areas have been left out.  After this, participants will be invited to join a Wiki page on the key situation platform to further develop the key situations.  In a last round I am planning to invite others to join the online discussion and to review the whole title list as part of an external before opening the new Key Situations in English Social Work platform to the profession.

If you are interested in contributing to the review and validation of key situations, please contact me by email: adi.staempfli@keysituations.net.

Adi Staempfli, Lecturer in Social Work, Programme Convener MA in Advanced Social Work (Practice Education) and Co-president of the Association Network Key Situations in Social Work


Selected publications

Ghisla, Gianni; Bausch Elena and Boldrini, Luca (2014) Bausch SiD –Situation-based Didactics. A guide for teachers in vocational training. Lugano and Zollikofen: Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training SFIVET.

Staempfli, Adi; Tov, Eva; Kunz, Regula, Tschopp, Dominik & Eugster-Stamm, Stefan (2016). Improving professionalism through reflection and discourse in communities of practice: The key situations in social work model and project. Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 14(2), 59-79.

Staempfli, Adi; Kunz, Regula & Tov, Eva (2012). Creating a bridge between theory and practice: working with key situations. European Journal of Social Education, 22/23, 60-78

Tov, E., Kunz, R., & Stämpfli, A. (2016). Schlüsselsituationen der Sozialen Arbeit. Professionalität durch Wissen, Reflexion und Diskurs in Communities of Practice. 2. Auflage


Storytelling for film making

Account of a creative learning resource for learn.gold, devised by Mark Aitken, supported by TaLIC Goldsmiths Teaching Fellowship, awarded 2014-15.


This is a creative learning resource for producing original storytelling for film making. The model is used on the BA Screen Fiction UG courses in Media & Communications and the Goldsmiths’ Short Course, Storytelling for film making.  It is hoped that staff and students alike will make use of this resource for film making, although it may also easily be adapted for other creative endeavours.



Fiction films need scripts. Some scripts are original and some are adapted from books or plays. However, good scripts take time to write and require much skill, practice and patience. It can be notoriously difficult to complete the elusive final draft.

Scriptwriting in a learning environment has its own specifics. Students on production courses seldom have the tools or experience and time to write accomplished scripts. Courses can end before a script is complete. The struggle is at best precarious or even worse, both the student and teacher feel dissatisfied and sense failure.

We all need to feel productive and build confidence.  Of course, making mistakes is the cornerstone of learning but if we are to fail better there are other ways to approach the challenges of developing ideas for film making.  We need to facilitate a foundation to work from that offers a sense of security for both students and teachers.    Ideas, stories and scripts can be derived and developed from studying other films.  Critical analysis of a film can break a story down to its components. These story elements can then be transferred to develop a new idea, story and script.  This transference combines analysis with creative practice. Critical analysis can be viewed as a kind of storytelling. In this context, it is storytelling for film making.


Starting with a full page

The work process consists of introducing completed films to students that may then be remade for their own productions. Producing original work by remaking a film is paradoxically rich with invention and possibility. We are focused on assessment of work (the film) so as to produce more work (student films), i.e: assessment for learning.

The primary outcomes of this practice are as follows:

  • To gain positive critical awareness of how and why a film works.    
  • To introduce an appreciation of universal archetypes in scriptwriting and film making.
  • To gain confidence through the production of coherent work.
  • To appreciate film practice as being inter-related to a much larger ongoing canon of work.


Making a template for creative practice

The arc of the learning model is acknowledged in stages and discussed with students week by week as the course progresses:

  • Selection of film to be remade.
  • Critical analysis of film to be remade.
  • Identification of key elements in the film.
  • Constructing a template of key storytelling elements.

The key elements are everything from characters, location, period, genre, narrative tension – all the ingredients of the film that account for the storytelling. The primary key element being what the film is actually about. What affected you?  The core theme of the film. This should ideally be honed down to one single word.


For the purpose of this account we are going to cite one example of a graduation film made in 2015/16 on the BA Screen Fiction module over two terms. The students viewed a short film called, Adeline for Leaves by Jessica Sarah Rinland. Then they created a new storytelling template derived from critical analysis. For example, Adeline for Leaves features an old man and a girl, a knowledge of history, a theme of time passing. These key elements were transferred to the new work. This transference offered a secure circular mechanism for developing ideas for the new film. The security lying in the opportunity to return to Adeline for Leaves for reference and in turn, gain a greater appreciation of how and why the film works.

The process follows:

  • Initial transference of key storytelling elements.
  • Adding or subtracting of elements.
  • Ownership of new work.
  • Reflection on the creative process.

Student Writer/Director Ella Brolly utilised Adeline for Leaves to derive key elements for her film Automaton. An automaton being a moving mechanical device made in imitation of a human being.

Here is a sample of Ella’s transference of storytelling elements:

Adeline for Leaves                                      Automaton

Theme of life/death Theme of life/death
Adeline (child) Eva (woman)
The old man Eva’s Father
Horticulture         Automata
The circle of life/rebirth in plants and humans The human & machine – capacity to love and connect


Narrative centres around a personal quest The narrative is based upon a relationship


Man’s recordings are addressed to Adeline Father’s recordings are a personal venture

As you can see, changes were made. Over the development period before production, the consequences of these changes sometimes caused difficulty. Ella then returned to Adeline as her reference point so as to learn by example.


Automaton can be viewed here:


PW: goldie


The origin of this research came from a student who was overwhelmed with the task of producing an original screenplay while studying on the film production course. He was offered opportunity to remake an existing film.  Now this model for learning is being used by the course as a whole. The outcome has been extremely positive and productive. Rather than students depending on tutors for answers and solutions, they are empowered to learn via their own critical analysis of films. This analysis and transference of ideas is to all intents and purposes a dialogue with other film makers and offers a sense of inclusivity and a meaningful connection to creative practice beyond the institution.

The process has also assisted reflection on my own teaching practice – we are all learning within a culture of ideas. Critical analysis is of most value when it informs practice. Theory and practice are interdependent and the relationship is circular rather than hierarchical.


Here is a short clip of Writer/Director Ella Brolly reflecting on her creative practice:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/170137786 Ella Brolly interview

Password: Automaton

Creating the first ROCC (a Recorded Online Careers Course)

Dr Geogina Hosang and Vanessa Freeman, Department of Psychology and Careers respectively, outline the Teaching Fellowship project being undertaken this academic year (2015-16):

We had an idea to create the first ROCC (a Recorded Online Careers Course) as a collaborative project between the Department of Psychology and the Careers Service.  The problem was having the time and resources to put it together!  The TaLIC funding enabled us to secure additional hours and to pay a project fee to a Goldsmiths Media and Communications student to help with the filming and editing.

We realised that we were both spending a lot of time with students individually, answering similar career-related queries and wondered if there was a better way to help.  We are creating a new e-learning psychology (e.g. interactive videos) employability resource for postgraduate students.   Our psychology postgraduates come to us with different needs and levels of experience and ROCC will allow them to access suitable support at the time they need it most.

So far we have had two days of filming – the first covering clinical psychology careers featuring one of our alumni, Isaac Akande, who has been successful in getting onto this competitive doctorate.  We also filmed Caoimhe McAnena who, as well as teaching on the Masters here, is a practising clinical psychologist. Psychology students were enlisted to pose questions to our contributors.

It was great to have Julia dos Santos on board (our director, camera person and editor).  She has the technical expertise that we lack and was able to advise on lighting, sound and background.  She creates a sense of calm when the camera is rolling.  We were also really lucky to get an employer’s perspective on the CV and applications content.    One of the best aspects of the project has been the chance to collaborate with students, academic staff and employers.  It has been hard work but we’ve also had a lot of fun.

An added bonus is that we are developing new skills. There have been many decisions we’ve had make around the process and format of the project.  What bits do we film and who should film them?  Should some content be via webinars and what platform should we use? How can we get the best from Moodle? How do we build in interactivity?

With the development of a toolkit we hope that the project will also be a chance to share good practice College-wide. We are now in the editing phase and putting together the accompanying VLE materials.  ROCC will be available on learn.gold Summer 2016.



Learning Analytics at Goldsmiths: social learning, prediction and swarm intelligence 

Report by Mohammad Al-Rifaie and Matthew Yee King, Computing outlining the Teaching Fellowship project being undertaken this academic year (2015-16):

Learning Analytics

Learning analytics is an increasingly growing applied research with the main goal of utilising various computer science techniques in order to extract useful information from the digital footprint of the online learners.

The attractiveness of learning analytics lies in its potential applicability to the following areas:

  • detecting students who are likely to fail at the early stages of the course
  • finding patterns that indicate strong performance and enhancing systems to support such patterns
  • improving the design and the interface of the online learning systems based on the findings of the learning analytics tools
  • demonstrating the role of social interaction in learning

The benefit of the above-mentioned applications reaches both the students and the instructors. And with the increasing popularity and demand for online learning platforms, the importance of developing learning analytics tools to work as adjunct to the limited human time and resources is undeniable.

In our work, we pay a particular attention to social learning (i.e. how students interact with each other) and its impact on the students performance using the ground truth of whether they pass or fail at the end of the course.

We have recently considered a range of social learning behaviours supported in our recently designed and implemented collaborative learning system which supports students giving and receiving feedback on each other’s developing work and practice. The course was delivered to several thousand students on Coursera during which students were directed onto our social learning environment to take part in group work and assessment activities.

The aim was to argues that the results obtained using the our swarm intelligence algorithm (as a learning analytics tool) indicate the promising potential of predicting students performance based on their social behaviours. This work has a number of potential benefits including designing better social learning systems, designing more effective social learning and assessment exercises, and encouraging disengaged students.

In addition, this work is an important step in addressing our long term goal of evidencing how critical student learning takes place as they give and receive feedback to and from each other on work in progress.

Flipping lectures

‘Flipping’ lectures

Most psychology students hate statistics. For some it’s a necessary evil, for a few it can feel like an insurmountable hurdle. A lot of technical knowledge is required, which can make lectures seem dense, dry, and overwhelming.

I’ve been looking for ways to make statistics teaching more effective, and this led to the lecture flipping project. The aim was to increase student engagement, and improve student learning. I put together a series of short videos, covering the core material (for students to watch in their own time), and then used the lecture slot for more interactive teaching. I’ve been working with interactive quizzes, which gets the students involved, and allows me to check their understanding each week (rather than right at the end in exams, when it can be too late). I can recommend http://www.socrative.com for quizzes, it’s very simple and very effective.

This project has been a definite success, and something to build on. I got a very positive response to the videos, students found this approach made the material more accessible. It means that they can go at their own pace, and go back when they need to.

The interactive quizzes were also popular. One student told me they preferred it because “it was much more engaging and it enabled us to actually test our knowledge; not just sit there gawping at a screen”.

We want students to be able to apply their knowledge. This approach allowed them to do this every week, rather than simply sitting passively and (maybe) taking notes.

Top tips:

  • Keep videos short – 10 minutes is about right
  • Keep the focus clear – just one or two key points
  • Try to make them visually interesting (colours, images)
  • A supporting handout is useful
  • Give yourself plenty of time – recording and editing takes longer than you think!