A Culturally-Based Socialization to Social Work: A Longitudinal Analysis of the Professional Preferences of Ultra-Orthodox and Secular Students in Israel
1Bar-Ilan University, Israel; 2University of Haifa, Israel
Objectives: The ultra-Orthodox society is a religious minority group, representing 9% of the adult Jewish population in Israel. It differentiates itself from the mainstream society in most private and public domains of life. However, in the past decade, there were unprecedented processes of integration of the ultra-Orthodox group in the mainstream Israeli society, mainly in the domains of employment and higher education, such as in social work. In this context, it is important to meet the needs of students from different cultural groups, in order to allow them to integrate. This research was conducted in order to examine the possible changes that may occur during the three years of academic education in schools of social work, by comparing ultra-Orthodox and secular social work students.
Method: Data was collected through a longitudinal quantitative research focusing on the professional preferences of 186 ultra-Orthodox and secular students in the B.A. level. Data was collected in 4 phases: the first two weeks of the 1st year (T1), the last two weeks of the 1st year (T2), the last two weeks of the 2nd year (T3), and the last two weeks of the 3rd year (T4).
Results: In different times, there were significant differences between ultra-Orthodox and secular students: In T1, the willingness of ultra-Orthodox students to engage in individual practice was significantly higher than its parallel among secular students. In T2, these differences diminished. In T3, the willingness of ultra-Orthodox students to engage in management and supervision roles was significantly lower. In T4, the willingness of ultra-Orthodox students to engage in community practice was significantly lower than among secular students.
Conclusions: There are differences between ultra-Orthodox social work students and their secular counterparts. However, these differences are found in different times. In addition, there are similar processes of professional socialization, in the sense that students’ attitudes changed during the B.A. studies. Among ultra-Orthodox students in particular, it is imminent that their professional preferences are becoming more “Western”, since they manifest a stronger interest in individual practice in comparison to other practices.
Professional self-conception in times of Covid-19: Opportunities and challenges for students of social work using the example of the practical phase
Catholic University of applied sciences NRW, Germany
Dealing with the corona pandemic challenges students of social work in a special way. Currently, students are not only experiencing insecurity in their private lives. During their studies they also experience changes and further developments of previously known organizational structures and teaching formats. The implementation of a central goal of the study of social work – the development of a professional self-concept of the students – is therefore no longer easily guaranteed.
In this talk we present a teaching format within the six-month practical phase of bachelor students, which contributes significantly to a transfer of theory and practice and thus accompanies a central phase in the development of a professional self-concept of students. This teaching format is characterized on the one hand by a long-term structure, which in the form of preparation, implementation and follow-up of the practical phase in a group of up to 15 students takes three semesters in the BA-program. On the other hand, the students are intensively accompanied by seminars at the university in specific fields of action. In these seminars, lecturers, students and practice instructors work closely together, and supervision is also provided by the university during the practical phase.
This teaching format, which has proven itself over a long period of time, is currently being further developed with innovative elements.
Such an innovative element is a project by lecturers in the practical phase, which will also be presented in the talk. In this project, the pandemic is used productively as an irritation so that students become aware of their own professional self-conception. This project serves to reflect on how to deal with crisis experiences and to supports students in becoming aware of the opportunities and challenges of their own skills, which they can draw on in their future practice. Thus, the project will ultimately address the question of what kind of professional self-conception (future) social workers will develop in a constantly changing world and whether established orientation variables (such as the understanding of "structured openness") can still support the development of a professional self-conception or whether other innovative orientation variables are needed.
Stimulating international and intercultural competences by using rubrics in higher education
University of Applied Science Ghent, Belgium
The UN World Declaration on Higher Education for the Twenty-first Century (UNESCO, 1998) states that “international cooperation and exchange are major avenues for advancing Higher Education throughout the world”. Studies have shown that international exchange experiences have long-lasting positive effects on students and teachers. In order to encourage international exchange and stimulate global awareness HOGENT, the University of Applied Science (UAS) in Belgium, created an international bachelor programme for future social workers.
The starting point of this programme was guided by the Horizon 2020 framework, which advices that by 2020 20% of our graduates must have acquired 10 credits abroad. Therefore, the UAS established European partnerships to build up an ‘international social work curriculum’ for incoming and Belgian students. In this programme, fundamental values of international social work, future proof skills, global awareness and international exchange are key elements. The curriculum resulted in a third year bachelor international module for Belgian students as a mobility window, offering short mobility abroad. For incoming Erasmus students the international social work curriculum was extended to one semester, including the international module together with Belgian students.
To evaluate the learning outcomes in our international module and curriculum, we conducted a pilot study in one of the courses for Belgian and incoming students. Rubrics were used to assess learning outcomes in a formative and summative way. Rubrics have the potential to evaluate and teach students, but also to identify the need for improvements in courses and programmes (Reddy & Andrade, 2010). The learning outcomes were integrated with a set of international and intercultural competences (ICOMs) developed by the University of Leuven and associated university colleges (2012) to evaluate the impact of this course in stimulating global awareness and engagement for future social workers.
The outcomes were overall positive and gave us interesting information to start evaluating our international module, but also to increase and stimulate the development of ICOM’s in all years of our Social Work programme.
Cross-national comparative research in social work
Catholic University of Applied Sciences, Munich, Germany
Human beings around the globe are confronting different threats to their well-being. Furthermore, further global pandemics similar to that caused by COVID-19 might intensify existing problematic situations. Therefore, it is valuable to compare certain ways of dealing with similar social problems in different countries to identify similarities and differences, to investigate country-specific context factors contributing to these similarities and differences and to develop recommendations for the countries involved. This lecture provides an introduction to cross-national comparative research in social work. Cross-national comparative studies in social work remain rare to this day, and a lack of knowledge regarding this area of work persists. This lecture will clarify the central questions within cross-national comparative research, namely, why, how and what to compare, as well as the necessity of contextualising research findings to avoid misinterpretations. Cross-national comparative research aims to identify the nature of a phenomenon in one country and to transfer elements assessed positively to another country. Thus, it is possible to learn about others and obtain knowledge about a phenomenon in another country. In addition, alternative social work practices can be recognised that can lead to improvements in one’s own practice. This lecture is interactive and comprises lectures and discussions.
Performative methods for courses of study
FH Dresden, Germany
Performative methods from theatre pedagogy might be widely common for so called “warm ups” or “energizers” to start seminars or to fill the gaps between two theoretical inputs. But, can we use them as serious means of education as well?
Like the profession, the scientific discipline of social work is inevitably entangled in normative questions relating to social conditions. Studying social work therefore requires an alert attitude to the state of the world and an open mindedness for a utopian change in it. Thinking about social power relations requires continuous self-reflection and self-transformation as it cannot be carried out from an objective external point of view, since one's own attitude arose within the criticised social conditions and will be further influenced by them.
To give space for such personal development in courses of studies, a Socratic or "maeutic" approach to strengthen progressive ideas or practice that have already been set up can be helpful. However, it is also possible to try out alternative forms of practice in a politically creative and performative way, which have yet to be normatively examined, but which already question the existing power relations (Schrödter, 2006).
Several rationales from philosophy and the social sciences refer to the various opportunities that emerge out of the “magic circle” of a playful as-if-situation. We can find these traces in post-structuralist theories or in Paulo Freire’s (1971) Pedagogy of the Oppressed or in the sociological concept of resonance as well (Rosa, 2017). Coming from this theoretical basis, methods have been developed to question given power relations playfully, most famously Augusto Boal’s (2018) Theatre of the Oppressed. This presentation gives a theoretical introduction into the meaning of play and performative methods for courses of study.
Boal, A. (2018). Übungen und Spiele für Schauspieler und Nicht-Schauspieler. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp.
Freire, P. (1971). Pädagogik der Unterdrückten. Stuttgart.
Rosa, H. (2017). Resonanz. Eine Soziologie der Weltbeziehung. Berlin: Suhrkamp.
Schrödter, M. (2006). Die beiden Sozialpädagogen: Habermas, der Geburtshelfer und Foucault, der Narr. Widersprüche. Zeitschrift für sozialistische Politik im Bildungs-, Gesundheits- und Sozialbereich, 26 (2), 93-101.
The importance of preparatory programs for refugees to access higher education
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands, The
In this presentation, we argue why preparatory programs are essential for refugees to have proper access to higher education and what the essential elements are of such programs. In this explorative study, we analyzed four of these programs in the Netherlands. Lecturers and (previous) participants were interviewed about the added value of the program for their studies and how the program could be bettered.
Pre-programs prepare refugee-students for studying in higher education by focusing on learning Dutch, academic skills, learning about the Dutch educational system and by providing information on study directions. Guidance and support is also provided, as these students often struggle with complex issues. Pre-programs can create social binding with the institution, if provided at the same institution. Challenges are that pre-programs are often general and do not prepare for certain specialistic directions (for example, certain jargon used).
We recommend that the pre-programs focus on strengthening social networks of refugees. This can be done by linking participants, organizing social activities and by matching participants with enrolled students (buddies). Furthermore, lecturers and students from the regular courses should be more connected to these programs. These social linkages help to create a more inclusive learning environment, provides students with a sense of belonging and provides much needed emotional support for distressed refugee-students. Furthermore, peer-mentoring not only helps new students, it equips mentor-students with new skills. Peer-mentoring is about mutual sharing and learning, and both mentor and mentee benefit from such relationships.