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The purpose of this assignment is to:
Recognise and reflect on the ways your positioning (at a personal, cultural and structural level) may influence and inform the way you address issues of violence and abuse with clients and team members. Demonstrate an understanding of the reflective process and a developed awareness of how the Unit content and assessments have informed or influenced personal belief and values and your practice approach. Identify biases, values or beliefs that you feel may be problematic to your practice in addressing violence and abuse and identification of strategies you can put in place to ensure best practice. Drawing on theory and literature when engaging in critical reflection.
The assignment is relevant to social work practice because:
Critical reflexivity is an important practice for social workers aiming to develop their social work praxis
Recongising positionality supports us to first recognise others and to begin a dialogue with ourselves about how to step aside from our positionality in order to hear and respond to others experiences.
As a social worker your lived experience is real and important. Understanding how this informs your sense of self and your professional identity can be illuminating, exciting and a way to experience authenticity.
A note about the Marking Criteria:
Have a look at the rubric. It will give you an idea of how to unpack your critical reflection. Remember that critical reflection supports you to make sense of yourself. Demonstrate that you are consciously engaging in reflection. Demonstrate that you are aware of how your positionality informs your thinking, your actions and your interactions. Articulate your personal values and beliefs and how these inform practice approaches. Try to identify personal biases, values and beliefs locating this to your positionality.
Questions that I find helpful:
What ideas have shifted and changed? What assumptions have been challenged? How and why have these assumptions been challenged? Is power a part of my story? What have I become aware of that has struck me as important and/or moving? How do I want to position myself as a social worker in relation to working with violence and abuse? What stands out as important? Why is this subject important to me? How do I understand critical social work's potential to respond to violence and abuse in society?
Draw on literature about critical reflection. There are a lot of articles and books about social work and
critical reflection. You should have sought these out already.
This assignment is about grounding your critically reflexive process in a theoretical framework.
It is imperative to consider one's positionality in order to ensure the effective practice of critical social work, negating which results in prejudice. At a structural, cultural and personal level, one's beliefs and values influence the way social work is practised. With regard to the intervention in Evelyn's case study, the responses to the issues of violence and abuse were determined by my context as an educated, urban, economically privileged individual. This is, therefore, a critically self-reflective account of how my ideas about victim abuse and violence have changed in light of social theories and lived experiences.
The need for a self-reflexive exercise provides an ethical dimension to the praxis of social work. The need for ethical practices was emphasised by scholars such as Donald Schon and others. Schon's work is especially important as he defines two approaches to social work- 'knowing-in-action' and 'reflection-in-action' (Schon, 1983). It is through this work that professionalism and the ethical standpoint both became essential elements of critical social work. As a profession, such a line of work demands self-realization as a part and parcel of critical social work. His work was seminal to the development of a Code of Ethics developed by the National Association of Social Workers.
The commonplace understanding that victims of violence and abuse are rehabilitated only through temporary counselling is a misconception that was debunked through Evelyn's story. Although Evelyn was assigned a case worker to deal with her issues of violence and abuse, what she needed was consistency and productivity in her everyday life. Getting a job or a house is made impossible by the stigma of her ex-convict identity. The relevance of halfway houses and rehabilitation centres for just-out-of-jail women is an immediate requirement
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