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Outside In: Finding ways of making reflective practice accessible to student social workers.

Maggie Jackson

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Social workers are expected to be reflective about their work (however we may define that) and so the process of learning how to make sense of this notion of “being reflective” starts when they embark on an undergraduate course in social work. At Teesside we have designed a core module which runs throughout the three-year course (and alongside students’ practice experience) to help develop skills in “being reflective”.
     Connecting the personal, academic and practice worlds is a complex task which we have tried to carry out as creatively as possible. Here I wish to look at how disposable cameras were used as a way of capturing the learning journey of both the individual student and then the group. The paper will discuss the way image was used to enhance and develop reflective skills and will consider ways in which this work will be added to in subsequent years.
     Moving away from the spoken or written word to make sense of an event has helped the students to share common experiences and has allowed them to enhance their understanding. Issues of interpretation are also made more explicit – as we do have to move back to using the spoken or written word to share with others ? but this process has then allowed us to consider how often in spoken or written communications we make assumptions about a shared understanding and fail to take notice of the meaning intended.

Author Bio(s)

Maggie Jackson worked as a specialist social worker and senior practitioner for the psychological service in Cleveland for ten years mostly using play therapy as a means of communicating and working with children. Now lectures in social work at the University of Teesside where her particular interests are creative methods of communication and death education. Has written and published on the subject of death education.