Social Work Practice

A Summary of my Understanding of Critical Contemplation with Social Work Practice


Brooding societal work pattern is a cardinal acquisition and development procedure in societal work classs which enable societal work trainees to use theories and theoretical accounts in critical and ambitious state of affairss in pattern to heighten professional developments ( Scragg and Knott, 2007 ) . Great accent is placed on developing accomplishments of critical contemplation about, in and on pattern and this has developed over many old ages in societal work. Reflecting approximately, in and on your pattern is non merely of import during pattern acquisition and instruction to go a societal worker, but it is considered a key to continued professional development.

Social work is a profession that acknowledges life-long acquisition as a manner of maintaining up to day of the month, guaranting that research informs pattern and endeavoring continually to better accomplishments and values for pattern ( Parker, 2004 ) . Contemporary societal work pedagogues and practicians are progressively stressing the value of brooding pattern as a rich beginning of societal work theories and skill development that conceptualize formal acquisition theory ( D’Cruz et al, 2007 ) .This essay will research my apprehension of brooding societal work pattern and the application of cardinal theories and theoretical accounts of contemplation to advance best societal work pattern. Schon ( 1993 ) considers critical brooding pattern to affect thoughtfully sing one ‘s ain experiences in using cognition to pattern while being coached by professionals in the subject ( Ferraro, 2000 ) . In order to set this into position, I will get down this essay by looking at the development and nature of critical reflective pattern followed by my apprehension of critical contemplation and its application within societal work. Besides I will look at the virtues and demerits of critical reflective pattern in societal work. The following subdivision will affect a critical history of my development of brooding pattern in my pattern larning chance ( PLO ) .

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Zhao ( 2003 ) defines brooding pattern as ‘aNability toreflect on experiences, to use conceptual models, and to associate these to similar and dissimilar contexts so as to inform and better hereafter pattern.Kondrat ( 1992 ) explained that contemplation on pattern in societal work has been associated with efforts by practicians to distance themselves from their experiences and thereby accomplish a more nonsubjective position of their pattern ( cited in D’Cruz et al 2007 ) . However harmonizing to Fook ( 2002 ) critical contemplation topographic points more accent and importance on understanding how a brooding stance uncovers power dealingss, and how constructions of domination are created and maintained ( /MA PLO inductionsession.html ) [ accessed on 22/09/2009 ] .

Besides critical contemplation, as an attack to pattern and the coevals of cognition, values the pattern wisdom of practicians and seeks to bring forth theory from pattern experience inductively ( D’Cruz et al 2007 ) . As a pattern accomplishment, critical contemplation has been developed as a procedure that is taught to practicians and pupils to enable them to heighten and research their pattern ( Fook, 1999, 2002 ) .


A reappraisal of development of brooding pattern in modern-day times indicates a significant cognition base. The believing approximately critical contemplation and brooding pattern has evolved over many old ages, through carefully constructed theories, research and application. Dewey ( 1938 ) suggested that people merely begin to reflect when they identify an issue as a job to be overcome and acknowledge that this can make an air of uncertainness about the result ( Parker, 2004 ) . Schon ( 1987 ) is widely credited with the extended development of brooding pattern and thereby increasing the popularity of brooding pattern in societal work pattern.

His work was built on the thoughts proposed by John Dewey, where he describes the procedure of alteration and apprehension in professional acquisition and development from a ‘technical- rational ‘ attack to an attack based on reflection-in-action ‘ ( ) [ accessed 20/09/2009 ] . He asks societal work practicians to prosecute in a ‘reflective conversation ‘ where they could intermix theoretical cognition with their ain personal experience to derive a greater apprehension of a specific state of affairs.Schon is of the impression that existent life pattern state of affairss could be mussy, involve uncertainness, and may dispute our prepossessions and beliefs. It is clear that Schon ‘s thought of a brooding practician requires honesty and openness to prosecute in a critical ‘reflective conversation ‘ to better societal work pattern. However, he admits that this degree of openness may on occasion be debatable if pupils are required to portion their contemplations with supervisors or fellow pupils due to power instabilities within the pattern ( www. ) [ accessed 20/09/2009 ] . Schon ( 1984 ) and Kolb ( 1983 ) separate plants have given critical reflective pattern the credibleness in modern-day societal work pattern, where they have employed basic rule of reflecting on experience to better action and professional pattern ( Saltiel 2006 ) .

In recent old ages the constructs of reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action have become widely influential, in professional instruction and preparation where a broad scope of learning methods have been developed to promote pupils to reflect on their pattern and incorporate theory with action ( Saltiel, 2006 ) . Schon ( 1983 ) gaining the hazard reflection-in-action could make in the hereafter as it become accustomed and routinised, advocated for a much more formalistic methods of contemplation known as reflection-on-action. This is a contemplation after an event has occurred by revisiting old opinions in a more analytical manner designed to do silent cognition explicit ( Taylor, 2006 ) .A


Brooding pattern is split into two interconnected constituents, pattern and contemplation, which are clearly non merely every bit simple as making and believing. Practice, is an event which is normally, but non ever, discernible, which Michael Eraut ( 1994 ) calls ‘practice public presentation ‘ . It includes cognitive and affectional facets every bit good as the behavioural.

On the manus contemplation, impliesa figure of procedures which are mostly linked to the pattern event ( ) [ accessed 19/09/2009 ] .Calderhead ( 1989 ) defined contemplation loosely ; ‘as an acquisition of attitudes and accomplishments in thought.It is a procedure of going aware of the influence of societal and ideological premises, particularly ethical and moral beliefs, behind professional pattern ‘ .

The two constituents are clearly non distinct since good pattern will, for illustration, consist of the practician arousing the client ‘s or serve user ‘s contemplations on the pattern.The assorted procedures of contemplation as outlined peculiarly by Schon ( 1987 ) can be summarised as the analysis, synthesis, rating and feeling. However, critical contemplation transforms pattern by disputing bing societal, political and cultural conditions ( Cliftet Al. , 1990 ) . It involves ethical and moral unfavorable judgment and opinions ( www.leeds. ) [ accessed 19/09/2009 ] .My pattern larning experience at Age concern has challenge my cognition and values in working with my supervisors, co-workers and service users and more significantly my experience acquired from FASU in my PLO1.A At Age Concern the environment was rather friendly but intimidating and the work load was demanding every bit much was expected of me.A However, by deploying brooding techniques such as ego and peer appraisal, brooding conversation, prosecuting in collaborative treatments with my squad members ‘ and critically reflecting on my pattern and professional development I got clasp with the pattern.

I ever engage in a ‘reflective conversation ‘ with my supervisors and equals where I blend my theoretical cognition acquired from formal larning with my ain personal experience to derive a greater apprehension of state of affairss.Schon ( 1987 ) is of the position that existent life pattern state of affairss can be mussy, involve uncertainness, and may dispute our prepossessions and beliefs. It is clear from Schon ‘s thought that a brooding practician requires honesty and openness to prosecute in a critical ‘reflective conversation ‘ . However, this degree of openness may on occasion be debatable if pupils are required to portion their contemplations with supervisors or fellow pupils ( ) [ accessed 20/09/2009 ] .

Working with service users who are 50 old ages and above and sing societal inequalities and want in different fortunes was really ambitious. My openness and honorable attitude towards my service users helped me to enter events in the right positions.Thereafter by critically reflecting on the actions taken during pattern transforms my apprehension of the theories and theoretical accounts and how to better my societal work pattern.

Harmonizing to Fook ( 2002 ) critical contemplation topographic points accent and importance on an apprehension of how a brooding stance uncovers power dealingss, and how constructions of domination are created and maintained ( PLO initiation session.html ) [ accessed on 22/09/2009 ] .

My apprehension of critical contemplation coupled with a supportive acquisition environment at Age Concern, made me to appreciate better how theoretical cognition and accomplishments are critical to outdo societal work pattern. It seems to me that critical reflective pattern offers a extremely ambitious paradigm of larning. It is more of inductive acquisition than a deductive acquisition as the instance may be in formal larning contexts such as Higher Education Institutions.


Under appropriate environmental conditions, critical reflective pattern can assist single societal workers and pupils to heighten their personal and professional development in pattern. Appropriate conditions include: a supportive environment, societal workers ‘ preparedness to undergo self-reflection, single infinite for single workers to undergo critical reflective pattern, workers ‘ ain brooding pattern and consciousness of one ‘s bounds and interrupting point ( Yip, 2006 ) . A supportive environment does non merely connote a supportive organisational context, including co-workers and supervisors but how it encourages empathetic resonance that is important for constructive self-reflection in brooding pattern ( Calderhead, 1989 ) .

It is obvious that common support and unfastened sharing among co-workers is the best genteelness land for constructive critical self-reflection. Notwithstanding the supportive environment, the single societal worker ‘s open-mindedness is critical for self-generated and critical self-reflection in brooding pattern ( Atkins and Murphy, 1993 ) .Furthermore, harmonizing to Fisher ( 1997 ) critical reflective pattern is larning tool for societal work pupils that provide solutions to a broad scope of pattern theories and theoretical accounts available and enables practitioner-learners to speculate their pattern pulling on cognition embedded in pattern. The technique of critically reflecting on old pattern purpose to advance the development of practicians ‘ abilities to bring forth apprehension of their pattern, their theories of action and the values they hold.

Another attractive force of brooding pattern is the hope that it seems to keep out for personal professional development and transportation of larning from one puting to another ( Yip, 2006 ) . Martyn ( 2001 ) argues that contemplation can assist people to do sense of the fortunes presented to societal workers in complex state of affairss, associating them to bureau demands ( Payne, 2001 ) . Critical brooding pattern can be a rewarding experience ensuing in self-enhancement in both personal and professional development.Perversely, unsupportive scene can largely be destructive to many societal work pupils ‘ ego and professional development. Such unsupportive conditions include an oppressive societal environment, extremely demanding working environment, societal workers ‘ unsolved yesteryear experiences from old larning arrangements every bit good as supervisors- pupils relationships. An oppressive environment implies a scene where there is an instability of power that is oppressive to the single worker and detering professional development ( Miehls and Moffatt, 2000 ) . Sometimes it may be a extremely critical supervisor, apathetic co-workers, a working squad full of oppressive political relations and kineticss, or insecurity and uncertainness in the societal worker ‘s employment.

In an oppressive environment, societal workers may be obliged to unwrap their failings and defects or their unpleasant pattern experiences to supervisors within the bureau ; such revelation may so be used against the worker as an alibi to mistreat, to work, to sabotage and even to disregard them ( Yip, 2006 ) .Second, critical self-reflection in brooding pattern demands that societal workers subject their interior infinite and liberty to soul-searching and self-evaluation ( Boyd and Fales, 1983 ) .Self-observation and self-dialogue besides demand brooding distance that originates from the societal worker ‘s ain enterprise and preparedness ( Voegelin, 2000 cited in Yip, 2006 ) . However, a demanding work load in footings of a many caseloads, diverseness of work, disputing clients may do exhaustion and emphasis.

This makes critical self-reflection in such scenes a existent incubus and may be more of an extra load instead than to help the societal worker or pupil.


In decision, this essay is an effort to summarize my apprehension of critical brooding societal work pattern and how it impact on my professional development as a societal worker. My pattern larning at Age Concern shows that related parties, such as supervisors, bureau decision makers, societal work co-workers or societal workers need to make appropriate conditions and relationships for societal workers ‘ in preparation to develop their accomplishments and cognition on critical reflective pattern. When societal work pupils ‘ critically reflect on disputing issues in their arrangement, they develop the necessity accomplishments and cognition which could impact positively on the lives of service users. In brooding pattern, societal work pupils are to be encouraged to undergo self-reflection to develop theoretical accounts and theories that would heighten their societal work pattern.On the other manus, related parties should besides be careful to avoid inappropriate conditions that may make possible restrictions to the professional and self-development of societal workers. Furthermore, other researches emphasize on how different conditions affect the self-reflection procedure of societal work pupils in brooding societal work pattern. In drumhead under appropriate conditions, societal workers ‘ critical self-reflection can be really constructive, ensuing in self-enhancement, taking to betterment in societal work pattern and enables pupils to be after and concentrate on what they need to make to better societal instability in society.


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