Reflective Review of Learning
In this assignment I will be exploring all aspects of my own experiences that I feel have contributed to my current level of understanding of social work theory and practice. I will take into account aspects of my personal life, work life, and my experience so far within the university environment and how this has shaped my learning whilst in level one of the social work degree. I will consider my personal values and how they have developed alongside my learning. I will then evaluate my learning over level one and outline my learning needs for level two. I am married with three children, white british and from a middle class educated background. I feel I have been lucky in my life and although I have experienced some difficult times (divorce, raising children alone) I have also enjoyed many privileges including a good education; I now enjoy a relaxed and happy family life and I have a supportive network of friends and family. During the communications unit of level one I have reflected on my life so far and the privileges I have experienced and considered how these experiences have impacted on my values and how they have contributed to my social work skills. I have explored the notion that personal difficulties and adversity are not experiences a person has to have encountered to become a good social worker. A competent practitioner will combine a theoretical and legal knowledge base with good communication skills and an ability to reflect constructively on their experiences and their own value base. A good social worker will recognise difference and diversity and understand the individual’s story is unique and must be understood within the context of their social categories (Thompson, 2006). I have worked within childrens services for 5 years, I am currently a social services assistant in a front line children in need team, although I am at present on maternity leave. The legal framework underpinning my work is the Children Act 1989 and the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (DOH, 2000). During the course of my working life I have witnessed some inspirational social work; practice that is child focused, creative, based on theoretical and legislative knowledge and research which empowers families to make their own positive changes. I have unfortunately also witnessed some poor practice; social work that compounds families difficulties by being judgmental and oppressive. My own working experience has allowed me to understand the pressures facing social workers with regards to caseloads and working hours. Level one of this degree has allowed me to believe that the only way to approach social work practice is to attempt to achieve your best at all times; to assess comprehensively, meet timescales, communicate effectively with service users, other agencies and colleagues, and challenge and advocate for others regardless of the pressures on your time. My values have been shaped by my work and personal experiences, they have been reinforced and formalised by my learning over level on of this course. My values are reflected in the British Association of Social Workers’ definition: “Social work practice should both promote respect for human dignity and pursue social justice, through, service to humanity, integrity and competence.” (BASW, 2001, pg. 2) I believe that each individual is the expert on their own experiences and current situation, their voice, needs and aspirations need to be heard and be the prime focus of social work. What I have learned, though, is that values are fluid, and only constant critical reflection enables me to make sure I am adhering to them (Banks, 2006). Over this year I have heard from service users and carers who shared their experiences with us. I have been encouraged and astounded by people’s resilience and coping mechanisms when faced with difficulties in their lives. These sessions increased my feelings about...
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