Post qualifying specialist awards: approaches to enabling work-based learning in social work
This source preferred by Lynne Rutter
Authors: Rutter, L. and Williams, S.
Start date: 23 January 2008
All post-qualifying social work specialist awards are required to include ‘enabling the learning of others’, so that specialist social workers can provide basic support to learners in the workplace (GSCC 2006). This paper reports on a new programme unit we have designed at Bournemouth University.
Our overall approach encompasses the necessary competences, but also provides for a more holistic and flexible outcome – capability. We follow the ideas of authors such as Lester (1995), Fook et al. (2000), and Barnett & Coate (2005) who show that professional development is more concerned with approaches and processes rather than fixed knowledge and outcomes. They place importance on practitioners developing the ability to identify and interpret the multifaceted nature of situations whilst considering a range of alternative options, in order to deal with the complexity and uncertainty of practice. The type of practice learning required to develop such skills, abilities and attributes is also necessarily rich in complexity. As Cheetham and Chivers (2001) point out there is no single theory of learning in the workplace and there is danger in placing too much reliance on a single approach.
In accordance with the ideas above we advocate a mindset of continuing learning through critically reflective practice and collaboration with others. The presentation will discuss our learning materials and pedagogy, which aim to not only encourage and develop active, experiential, and critically reflective learning but also allow for the constructive and creative methods for the enabling of such learning. In this way we believe social workers may be educated to fully develop the professional capability or dynamic competence (Doel et al. 2002) that will enable themselves and others to function effectively in the complex world of practice. The specially written book for this unit will be distributed free to participants at the workshop.