Course Title: Youth Work Ethics and Professionalism

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Youth Work Ethics and Professionalism

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 1 2017

Course Coordinator: Kathy Edwards

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 8260

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 37.2.29

Course Coordinator Availability: by appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course is designed to introduce you to key elements of ethics, ethical practice and professionalism with an emphasis on working with young people in local and global contexts. It is planned to ensure that upon successful completion you will have the capacity to engage in ethical youth work practice, as well as evaluate various kinds of youth work practice and other work with young people from an ethical standpoint. In this course you will consider:

• What is ethics?
• Is there such a thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ action? Can this be influenced by cultural location?
• What is good (and bad) ethical practice in relation to working with young people?
• What are the positives and negatives of formalised codes of ethics (especially those related to youth work and other professional work with young people)?
• What are some of the main theoretical and conceptual features of the major ethical traditions and their positives and negatives for Youth Work practice and other work with young people?
• Drawing on the sociology or professions, what does it mean to be a professional?
• What are the positive and negative impacts of professionalisation and professional associations for youth work?

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:

• Critically analyse key theories and arguments relating to professionalism and professionalisation, and situate these in a youth work context
• Demonstrate an introductory knowledge of the Western canon of ethical thought by explicating key ideas from some major traditions within this canon
• Describe, identify and critically assess the tenets of contemporary codes of ethical practice related to youth work and other work with young people
• Clarify and articulate your own values as a youth work (or other) professional with respect to examples from the Western canon and contemporary codes of ethical practice related to youth work and working with young people
• Critically evaluate the treatment of young people, in policy and practice, from an ethical standpoint

You will be assessed on your development of the following program learning outcomes in this course:

• Solve problems by exercising responsibility, engaging in critical analysis and demonstrating ethical reflexivity and professional standards of practice informed by a regard for key values such as justice, equity and respect
• Articulate and practice good youth-work in the light of ideas about justice, equity, respect and democratic citizenship.
• Attend to the wide range of ethical issues regarding young people
• Accept responsibility for your own actions
• Negotiate difficult moral terrain, remaining faithful to your own value base and adopting strategies to help realize outcomes you consider good
• Act ethically and reflect on the professional standards of practice and values such as justice, equity and respect
• Exercise critical argument, reflection and responsibility in relation to ethical conduct and values
• Examine tensions between universal human rights discourses and arguments supporting more parochial or culturally specific rights
• Practice an optimistic attitude towards young people, and demonstrate commitment to improving young people’s well-being and moral and legal status
• Gather, synthesise and evaluate information that places practice within a global and local context

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be engaged in learning that involves a range of activities both face-to-face and online such as lectures, tutorials, group and class discussion, scenario analyses, group activities and individual research.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems. A list of recommended learning resources will be provided by your lecturer, which may include a course reader, books, journal articles and web resources. You will also be expected to seek further resources relevant to the focus of your own learning.


Overview of Assessment

  • You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program capabilities.
  • Assessment may include reports, essays, critical analyses, reflective writing, scenario analyses, tests, projects and presentations, individually and in groups.
  • Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.
  • If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
  • A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.
  • Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: