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Human behavior theories sample essay

Working as a community facilitator is all about empowering and facilitating change within individuals and communities. As their practice facilitators need to identify any challenges and work with the communities to look at ways of solving these problems together. This then requires first for the facilitator to find out why these challenges or problems come about in the first place. Theories are designed to understand human development, identity and approaches to practice. They help turn complicated human, behavioural and social singularities into ideas that are more accessible.

It can be said then that theories provide a basis for understanding and reflecting on what we do which then helps us help communities on a micro, mezzo and macro levels. This essay will look at two of the human behaviour theories and how they help us understand and work with our communities (that we as facilitators serve) better. 2. DEFINITION OF TERMS 2. 1. Theory According to (Body, 2014) “A theory is a logical system of concepts that helps to explain why something happens in a particular way and to predict outcomes”.

This means that by preparing their practice on theory, this leads a facilitator to get a better understanding of his/her own task, do some goal planning and also anticipate whatever outcomes there may be. 2. 2. Community Communities are unique with regard to the people in them, place, interaction meaning. According to (Heaven, 2014) “While we traditionally think of a community as the people in a given geographical location, the word can really refer to any group sharing something in common”. This could also mean any small geographical areas from e. g. a neighbourhood, housing project or development to any community with a large geographically-defined community. 3. HUMAN BEHAVIOR THEORIESю

3. 1. Social Construction Social construction is influential in changing grounded theory. As a way of trying to understand the social world, social construction views knowledge as being 2 constructed (as the name suggests) instead of being created. In this theory communities are seen as alternating between both subjective and objective reality. Past theorists believed that knowledge is beliefs in which people have rational confidence, a common sense of understanding and consensual notion as to what is knowledge. Social construction came about as a way to deal with the nature of reality.

It has its origins in sociology and has been linked with the modern era of qualitative research. Reality is it may be something that we are not even aware of. Things like segregation according to what gender, race and class you are a just basic examples of social construction. These things only have meaning because society gives them meaning. According to Tom Andrews (2014) “Constructionists view knowledge and truth as created not discovered by the mind and supports the view that being a realist is not inconsistent with being a constructionist”.

A person can believe that concepts are constructed other than being discovered yet relate to something in the real world. This is consistent with an idea that was put out that reality is socially defined but this one referred to the subjective experience of everyday life as opposed to the objective reality of the natural world.

As Steedman (2000) said, “most of what is known and most of the knowing that is done is concerned with trying to make sense of what it is to be human, as opposed to scientific knowledge”. Individuals or communities decide or rather create this reality one may then ask how this reality or knowledge emerges or how it comes to have significance for society to which social constructionists may answer as they view knowledge as being created by the interactions of individuals within society which is at the centre of social construction as a theory.

Andrews (2014) believes that subjective reality is brought about by the interaction of people with their social world and with this social world influencing them it results to routines and habits. That is to say that any regularly repeated action becomes a pattern which at some point can be done without much effort needed. With time this forms a sort of store of knowledge which is passed on to future generations which is then subjective reality. 3 Society gives you and identity from birth.

Our identities as people come not from the inside but from the social sphere. Conversation is the main way of maintaining, modifying and reconstructing subjective reality. It compromises notions that are shared unproblematically between the communities so much so that these notions need not be defined each time they are used in conversation and come to assume reality. 3. 2. Examples of Social Construction The most common of all social constructions is that of men and women.

Men are required (by society) to have qualities such as control, efficiency, toughness and coolness under emotional distress whilst women on the other hand are said to be the fragile amongst the two with qualities such as inefficiency, emotional expressiveness, caring and mutuality. This is what society has deemed as normal over the years which is what gives the battle of Patriarchy versus Matriarchy in this modern generation. Women today believe that they are more than able to do whatever the “men” can do and sometimes do it even better. It is clear though that in society’s opinion of gender that men should hold all the power.


Flores (2012) is quoted as saying “Power looks sexy on men, not on women”. But this could be seen as having a double meaning. Other than the obvious meaning we get, it could also mean that women are seen as unable to learn the skills or unable to do whatever a man can do as well. Feminists have been fighting hard battles in order to change this thinking and they have succeeded in changing some people’s minds but the in the traditional societies, mostly in the rural areas this social construction of men and women is still very much evident.

Men still go out to provide for the family while the women is expected to stay behind and take care of the children and the home. One other example one could use is that of the social construction of gender. This is slightly different from the previous example used. When a baby is brought into the world the first thing that the doctor will look at is the baby’s sexual category (whether they are male or female) and this is where this social construction begins. Immediately after they are classified as boy or girl the parents then fall into this shared mechanism by dressing them in colours that are “appropriate” for their gender.

Flores says “the “normal” thing to do in this case would be for the 4 baby girl to be dressed in pink and the baby boys to be dressed in blue”. You don’t want to be seen as weird for dressing your baby girl in blue or your baby boy in pink, right? Society has put aside colours as some of the symbols that differentiate between boys and girls. Children will then grow like this and then start to try to be like the people who are the same gender as them, “girls should start acting like their mommy and boys act like their daddy”. Each one will be expected to dress or act in a certain way (as in the first example) but such things are what leads to stereotypes.

3. 3. Asset Based Community Approach 3. 3. 1. What is Asset Based Community Approach (ABCD)? Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is an approach for sustainable community development. The basis of ABCD is that it believes that communities can develop themselves by recognizing and using existing but often hidden assets to create economic opportunities. It builds those already existing assets in the community and gets individuals, associations and institutions to band together to build on their assets instead of focusing on their needs. It is a naturally positive approach.

A large amount of time is spent in trying to identify the assets within a particular community whether it be from individuals, institutions and associations before they are then organised to build on them to the benefit of the community as a whole. The basic key as mentioned above is to use what is already in the community. The ABC approach aims to change people’s view that their needs can only be met by an outsider (professional). When it comes to working with the community, a facilitator who applies the ABCD approach should be adamant about stepping back and letting the community figure things out for themselves.

They enlist the help of associations that are within the community in terms of the community development approach and additional support. However Community driven development is mostly done by outside agencies instead of networks that exist in the community already. 3. 3. 2. Discussion on ABCD ABCD pulls out the strengths and weaknesses within a community’s shared history as a starting point for change. Out of all the assets that a community may 5 have ABCD focuses on the assets that are deep rooted in social relationships and sees them as being both evident in both formal and informal networks and associations.

It believes that everyone in the community has something to offer and that no one can be said to unimportant. ABCD view individuals as being as being at the centre of it all. The residents of the community has gifts and skills which they can out on the table. These need to be recognized and noted as in community development you can’t do anything with people’s needs but only their assets. Needs are only valuable to institutions. Institutions are groups of people (usually professionals) who share a common interest out of their own choice.

These could be agencies or schools etc. these institutions help the community get resources and that in turn gives them a sense of civic responsibility. In terms of assets one could include physical assets such as land, space, funds etc. as they also could be used. 3. 3. 3. How is it facilitated in communities? As mentioned above ABCD is the development of self-mobilisation for change. This development has been implemented in many communities. The task for any agency that comes into a community such as NGO’s is how to put in place this development in other communities without creating a sense of dependency.

There are different methods that are facilitated by NGO’s in communities for ABCD. Methods such as Collecting stories whereby they build confidence, informal discussions and interview that also have the goal of drawing out people’s experiences. Success in this will also enable them to uncover any gifts, skills, talents and assets that people in the community may have. Mapping the capacities and assets of individuals, associations and local institutions. Mapping is more than just gathering data on the community.

It is of importance that you let the community and institutions d the mapping for themselves as they build new relationships, learn more about help and talents of other community members and also see any connections between different assets. 6 CONCLUSION Understanding a community is crucial to being able to work in it. Failing to understand it will deny you credibility and make it difficult for you both to connect with community members and to negotiate the twists and turns of starting and implementing a community initiative or intervention. Social constructionism places great emphasis on everyday interactions between people and how they use language to construct their reality.

It regards the social practices people engage in as the focus of enquiry.

This is very similar to the focus of grounded theory but without the emphasis on language. Social constructionism that views society as existing both as objective and subjective reality is fully compatible with classical grounded theory, unlike constructionist grounded theory which takes a relativist position. The ABCD is a substitute the more known needs-based approach. Instead of focusing on what the communities do not have, ABCD looks at what they have to offer. It not only creates a chance for the community to play a part in but they also lead the community planning process.

The ABCD is always successful in getting individual participation in the projects in brings to their communities. 7 REFERENCE LIST Andrews, T (2012). What is social constructionism? [ONLINE] Available at: http://groundedtheoryreview. com/2012/06/01/what-is-social-constructionism/ . [Last Accessed 26 August 2014]. Body, A. (n. d. ). Theories Used in Social Work Practice. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www. socialworkdegree. net/theories-used-in-social-work-practice/ . [Last Accessed 26 August 2014]. Cunningham, G and Mathie, A. (2002).

Asset Based Community Development- An Overview. [ONLINE]. Available at: http://www. htm . [Last Accessed 26 August 2014]. Flores, L (2012). What is social construction? [ONLINE] Available at: http://oakes. ucsc. edu/academics/Core %20Course/oakes-core-awards-2012/laura-flores. html .

[Last Accessed 26 August 2014]. Hampton, C and Heaven C (n. d. ). Section 2. Understanding and Describing the Community. [ONLINE] Available at: http://ctb. ku. edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/assessing-community-needs-a nd-resources/describe-the-community/main . [Last Accessed 26 August 2014]. Simmons staff. (n. d. ). Theories Used in Social Work Practice. [ONLINE] Available at: http://socialwork.simmons. edu/theories-used-social-work-practice/ . [Last Accessed 26 August 2014]. Steedman, P. (2000).

On the relations between seeing, interpreting and knowing. London: Sage. Suttles G, D. (1972). The social construction of communities. 1st ed. Illinois: University of Chicago Press. Vance S. C. (1989). Social construction theory: problems in the history of sexuality. 1st ed. Amsterdam: An Dekker. 8 Varien M, D Potter, M. J, (2008). The Social Construction of Communities: Agency, Structure, and Identity in the Prehispanic Southwest (Archaeology in Society). 1st Ed. New York: Rowman and Littlefield publishers.

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