Building general competencies of social work students through experiential learning process

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Collection:
Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Straipsnis / Article
Language:
Anglų kalba / English
Title:
Building general competencies of social work students through experiential learning process
In the Journal:
Keywords:
LT
Apmąstymai; Bendroji kompetencija; Bendrosios kompetencijos; Patirtinis mokymasis; Refleksijos; Socialinės problemos; Visuomenė.
EN
Experiential learning; General competency; Reflection; Social problems; Society.
Summary / Abstract:

ENSocial work is characterized by constant challenges, difficult self-solutions, enormous tension and this causes many difficulties, especially for beginners. The systematic reflection of previous experience in decisions that may have both positive and negative consequences can facilitate selfdetermination by making better choices. Self-reflection is a meaningful way of teaching that provides the right conditions for improving one’s personal and professional development in a practical context. Analysing experience increases the professional growth and competencies of a person, and the quality of social work is increasing in the course of this process. Therefore, the training of social workers must take care of the learning process of the future specialists, so that future specialists would be able to overcome the difficulties that have arisen. One of the best solutions for making education more vibrant, intense and effective is to use experiential learning as an educational process booster. The article deals with the building of general competencies of social work students during the process of experiential learning. The research involved 11 students from Social Work study programme of Šiauliai State College who participated in the experiential learning activities for one week at the beginning of their studies. Method of structured written reflection was used to collect data for a qualitative study. Reflection questions were drawn up on the basis of planned activities and theoretical analysis, research object and aim. The qualitative study was based on the interpretive paradigm. Student written reflections were analyzed finding meaningful and critical units, which were categorised into subcategories and categories that were interpreted afterwards, presenting examples of confirmatory statements.The article reveal which instrumental, interpersonal and systemic competencies of social work students were built while participating in the experiential learning activities for one week. The use of experiential learning in the process of preparing social work professionals has two important aspects: first of all, the appropriate conditions for the reflection of personal and professional identity are needed during the course of studies, i.e. so that the students’ acquired experience interacts with the necessary competencies, knowledge, theory, skills as well as values in social work; secondly, to enable the student to independently, actively analyse the practical activities and identify, understand and solve emerging problems. Qualitative research results revealed several instrumental competencies which were developed during the experiential learning process. Social work study program students emphasize that they have developed skills to communicate in native language both orally and in writing, to identify, understand and solve problems, to plan and make good use of time, to search, process and analyze information from various sources and to create future visions. Teamwork skills, skills to be self-critical, to act, based on ethical principles, to be critical when evaluating teamwork, to be critical in terms of activities, to be socially responsible and to be critical in evaluating the behavior of others were recognized by the students as interpersonal competencies, which were developed during experiential activities.The experiential learning activities contributed to the development of instrumental and interpersonal competencies, and that was a base for the development of systemic competencies such as the skill to adapt in a new situation and withstand environmental pressures, to be proactive, to cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurial and intellectual curiosity, to apply theoretical knowledge in practice, to generate new ideas and to create and implement projects. [From the publication]

ISSN:
2029-7424
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https://www.lituanistika.lt/content/85761
Updated:
2020-10-21 22:06:32
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