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Social Work Practice on a Community Level - Preparing Social Work Students to Become Active Agents in the Building of Sustainable Societies

Conference contribution
Authors Anna Bengtsson Ryan
Zulmir Becevic
Ann Simmeborn Fleisher
Lasse Fryk
Lars Lilled
Jörgen Lundälv
Michael Lynch
Katarina Hollertz
Susanne Fransson
Maria Wallin
Charlotta Thodelius
Published in Oral presentation at the Joint World Conference on Social Work Education and Social Development 2016, June 27-30 2016, Coex, Seoul, Korea
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Social Work
Language en
Links swsd2016.org/swsd2016_final/html/ho...
Keywords Social Work Education, Community Level, Integration Theory and Practice, Sustainability, Critical
Subject categories Sociology, Social Work

Abstract

The entrenchment of the welfare state and increasing inequalities, are challenges social workers in Sweden (and elsewhere) have to respond to. Within the BA social work programme at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, one course specifically aims to equip students with knowledge and skills to meet the demands of local and global communities and to become active agents in the shaping of a sustainable society. The course is offered third year students; each semester approximately 120 students take the 3-week full time course. The course builds on three parts: 1) Acquisition and practical application of relevant theoretical positions through a series of lectures with experts in the field of social work, human rights, media & communication, community work and urban development. 2) Building an insight into the processes of social work at a community level and promoting participation in wider public debates through study visits (such as community based youth work field visits, participation in directly broadcasted TV-debates, work-shops in urban planning). 3) Developing skills (such as critical thinking, community advocacy & ecological awareness) to become active agents in the shaping of a sustainable society through student led workshops and seminars. The content of the course responds to a world in constant flux by integrating up to date issues and challenges relevant for social work. While an underlying structure frames the course, these current issues and challenges determine the content of the lectures and focus in workshops and seminars. Collective learning processes are central elements to the course. The course is an unique example of how social work education can meet the challenges of integrating theory and practice, correspond to needs of communities and equip social workers with theoretical and practical skills to become active agents in the work towards a more sustainable and equal society.

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