Sketch: Using LEGO® to Explore ‘Professional Love’ as an Element of Youth Work Practice—Opportunities and Obstacles

  • Martin E. PurcellEmail author


This sketch details how dialogical and transformational learning is enhanced when LEGO® is used to facilitate classroom-based discussions with undergraduate students about critical aspects of their professional practice. It details how students can use modelling to represent their sense of identity as youth and community work practitioners, and to facilitate discussions about their professional practice. Particular attention is paid to how students use LEGO® to demonstrate ‘professional love’ as an aspect of practice with children and young people. Students’ use of metaphors is discussed, highlighting the benefit of using LEGO® to facilitate dialogue in the classroom. This alternative approach to discussing practice is shown to impact on students’ behaviour in class, suggesting that the use of LEGO® potentially opens up different neural networks.


LEGO® Youth Work Dialogic learning Professional identity Professional love 


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  2. Page, J. (2014). Developing ‘Professional Love’ in Early Childhood Settings. In L. Harrison & J. Sumsion (Eds.), Lived Spaces of Infant-Toddler Education and Care—Exploring Diverse Perspectives on Theory, Research, Practice and Policy (1st ed., pp. 119–130). London: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Purcell, M. E. (2018). Investigating the Transformational Potential of ‘Professional Love’ in Work with Young People. Radical Community Work Journal, 3(1), 14pp. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HuddersfieldHuddersfieldUK

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