Wisdom and skills in social work education: Promoting critical relational social work through innovative learning

Authors: Parker, J.

Conference: Social Work Education: Innovations and experiences - Preparing social workers of tomorrow: tradition, challenges and new paths

Dates: 29-30 September 2016


This paper explores innovative methods in social work education with a focus on developing relational social work wisdom. (The term ‘wisdom’ is chosen alongside skills because the latter is suggestive of instrumentalism whilst wisdom conjures the human, the experiential and the relational – it is more ‘human’ (see Krill, 1990). The paper describes the development of social work education in the United Kingdom (UK) especially England; chosen especially because it is a site of exportation and reproduction and it is important to draw attention to the current trend of convergence and prescription and, allied to that, potential mistakes. Subsequently we will illustrate four potential innovations that enhance the relational and social justice element of social work whilst immersing the student within those worlds. These will be brought together under a banner of ‘pedagogy for pleasure’ which promotes agency as a powerful technology of resistance and potential change within normative organisational structures.


Source: Manual

Wisdom and skills in social work education: promoting critical relational social work through ethnographic practice.

Authors: Parker, J. and Ashencaen Crabtree, S.

Journal: Relational Social Work

Volume: 2

Issue: 1

Pages: 13-29

ISSN: 2532-3814


Taking the development of social work education in the UK as an example of some of the ways in which educational policy and practice is developing globally, techniques of resisting an increasingly technical-rational and instrumental focus are introduced. After a short historical excursus into changes in social work education and practice two innovative models drawn from the authors’ research are explored. The paper suggests that a sensitive and critical approach to international field placements and the deployment of ethnographic practices allows social work students to develop a reflexive and critical approach to social work practice that privileges the relational and humane rather than impersonal, homgenising and stultifying systems.



Source: BURO EPrints