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SALT Case Study: Reflective Journals in Social Work

Page history last edited by Chris Hall 7 years, 10 months ago
Julia Terry

Academic: Michele Raithby - College of Human and Health Science
Librarians: Elen Davies, Katrina Dalziel and Susan Glen
SALT Team: Chris Hall

 

 

 

 

The Context

ASQ102 - Social Work Services in a Diverse Society: Ethics, Values and Anti-Discriminatory Practice. This is a Level One 20 credit module with around 50 students taught in Teaching Block 1. Students on the module are from a variety of backgrounds of age and experience

This module provides an understanding of ethics and values applied to social work practice. Particular reference will be made to the social processes that lead to social exclusion in Wales and their impact on day-to-day life and service provision. It also addresses the values and provision of social work services with particular reference to the concepts of stigma, empowerment, equalities and anti-oppressive practices and legislation. The historical evolution, philosophy and application of social work ethics, values and the Care Council for Wales Code of Practice for social care workers is be considered in relation to practice application with different groups. Emphasis is placed on the development of the reflective and ethical practitioner.

 

I was keen to help students develop the skills required for reflective practice and for them to prepare for writing a reflective commentary when on placement. I wanted to create an activity where students could reflect and I could enter into a dialogue with students to support them in the growth of their reflective skills but not with a discussion board as I wanted the dialogues to be just between the Lecturer and individual students.

 

The Approach

As a result In order to achieve this private lecture and student dialogue I used the Journal tool in Blackboard, which enables you to create a private journal for each student on the module. I asked the students to reflect each week on the what they had learned from the weeks material and activities. The students were asked to think,”What was the impact and what did I learn?” As part of the teaching content of the module students explored various approaches to reflection.  These were mainly taken from work in Health Sciences (Examples?) although there was no set format for the reflection, so students could reflect on the material as they wished.  20% of the Assignment is a 1000 word reflection, which was based on the reflective journal that the students had written on placement.

 

After the students had posted their reflections to the journal the Lecturer responded to each student’s reflection. The process didn’t replace other contact but was in addition. This meant that at the time there was an increase in workload but it helped the Lecturer know how the students were doing on their placements.

 

The Outcomes

The private element of the journal really helped those who were worried about ‘saying the wrong thing’ as they were just sharing confidentially with the lecturer who could respond to the reflection accordingly.

 

There was explicit linking to other modules as the reflective journal written for the module prepares them for the reflective activities they would undertake when on practice and building up their practice learning portfolio.

 

In order to elicit feedback from the students a question about the journal was added to the module evaluation and the response was positive. There have been no negative comments from students. The students like the personalised element of the 20% assignment as it’s moulded the module to their thinking. Although a formative task there has been almost complete participation and this has increased over the 4 years. Additionally, there has been an increase in the quality of work submitted for the assignment over this 4 year period. The journal has been running for 4 years with only a few minor changes such as more explicit links to other modules but generally it has worked well so few changes have been required.

 

A small number of students preferred to keep a paper journal rather than the online journal and then complete their assignment from this. Although they have managed to complete the task they miss out on the instant dialogue element provided by the online journal

 

Further information

Adding a Journal to a Blackboard Module
https://blackboard.swan.ac.uk/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_50_1

 



 

 

 

 

 

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