Enabling Learners to Think for Themselves: Reflections on a Community Placement

This source preferred by Mel Hughes

Authors: Hughes, M.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2012.734803

Journal: International Journal of Social Work Education

Volume: 32

Issue: 2

Pages: 213-229

Publisher: Routledge

This paper provides reflections on the organisation, delivery, challenges and effectiveness of a community placement undertaken by first-year students in an undergraduate social work qualifying programme. The placement aims to foster transformative learning, autonomous thought, critical reflection, professional competence and evidence-based practice which is attuned to the values of the profession. Working in small groups, students are encouraged to immerse themselves in a particular topic and to explore and gain insight from the perspectives of those with first-hand experience. Evaluations demonstrate that when presented with a range of experiences, conflicts, dilemmas and real-life situations, students critically question their assimilated and taken-for-granted beliefs and evaluate their developing knowledge of legislation, policies, theories and models of intervention. They have the opportunity to practise a range of social work skills including research, interviewing and self-managed group working within real settings. This provides useful skill development and preparation before undertaking a social work role in subsequent practice learning opportunities. As such, it is suggested as a model of skill development to meet the current demands of the profession, such as the recommendations for skill development by the Social Work Reform Board in England and Wales.

This data was imported from Scopus:

Authors: Hughes, M.

Journal: Social Work Education

Volume: 32

Issue: 2

Pages: 213-229

eISSN: 1470-1227

ISSN: 0261-5479

DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2012.734803

This paper provides reflections on the organisation, delivery, challenges and effectiveness of a community placement undertaken by first-year students in an undergraduate social work qualifying programme. The placement aims to foster transformative learning, autonomous thought, critical reflection, professional competence and evidence-based practice which is attuned to the values of the profession. Working in small groups, students are encouraged to immerse themselves in a particular topic and to explore and gain insight from the perspectives of those with first-hand experience. Evaluations demonstrate that when presented with a range of experiences, conflicts, dilemmas and real-life situations, students critically question their assimilated and taken-for-granted beliefs and evaluate their developing knowledge of legislation, policies, theories and models of intervention. They have the opportunity to practise a range of social work skills including research, interviewing and self-managed group working within real settings. This provides useful skill development and preparation before undertaking a social work role in subsequent practice learning opportunities. As such, it is suggested as a model of skill development to meet the current demands of the profession, such as the recommendations for skill development by the Social Work Reform Board in England and Wales. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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