Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 27th Jan 2022, 03:47:09am EET

Session Overview
Paper Presentation Session 16: Learning/Teaching Methods IV
Thursday, 17/June/2021:
3:30pm - 5:00pm

Session Chair: Stavros Parlalis
Location: Parallel Session 1

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An international perspective on the use of journaling to promote social work students’ transformative learning and resilience during COVID-19

Michael Wallengren-Lynch1, Marta Blanco Carrasco2, Einav Segev3, Henglien Lisa Chen4, Nishi Mitra vom Berg5, Tara Earls Larrison6, Beth Archer-Kuhn7, Rose Parkes8

1University of Malmö, Sweden; 2Complutense University of Madrid, Spain; 3School of Social Work, Sapir College, Israel; 4University of Sussex, United Kingdom; 5Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India; 6School of Social Work, University of Illinois, United States of America; 7Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; 8Department of Social Work, Highland Collage Jersey

This ongoing pedagogic research project aims to understand student’s experiences of using reflective journaling during a social work term as a part of an online and/or blended learning approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project explores student perceptions of journaling as a teaching and learning strategy that facilitates (or not) transformative learning and how journaling can help to integrate student’s current life experiences with that of their social work education. The sample consists of social work students from eight countries: Canada, India, Israel, Spain, Sweden, U.K, Jersey Island and the U.S.A. The expected sample is between 250-300 students.

The research questions are:

• How does the use of reflective journaling method with social work students promote transformative learning in the blended and/or online setting during COVID-19?

• How does the use of reflective journaling help social work students frame their life experiences during COVID-19?

• In what ways does the practice of reflective journal help to foster the student’s professional identity and development as an emerging practitioner?

The research team are using a mixed-methods design, specifically, Sequential Explanatory, as phase two, is informed by phase one (Creswell & Clarke, 2018). Phase one is a 60-question long online survey available in four languages. The second phase is four online focus group interviews with representatives from each participating university.

It is anticipated that the research team will be able to present preliminary findings from the initial data analysis phase.

This project is supported by the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW)


Irena Zemaitaityte, Raminta Bardauskiene, Jolanta Pivoriene, Agata Katkoniene

Mykolas Romeris university, Lithuania

The goal of presentation is to discuss new trends in the development of competences of future social workers needed in turbulent time during implementation of European Joint Master programme in Social work with Children and Youth (ESWOCHY).

ESWOCHY is a project (619857-EPP-1-2020-1-LT-EPPKA1-JMD-MOB) funded by Erasmus Mundus in 2020 and it is implemented by four Consortium partners: Mykolas Romeris university (LT), Riga Stradins University (LV), The Catholic University in Ruzomberok (SK) and ISTCE - University Institute of Lisbon (PT). ESWOCHY is built on three pillars: humanistic perspective, intercultural communication and digital technologies in social work. It seeks to prepare highly skilled professionals, supporting human dignity and cultural heritage, focusing on human creative power which provides leadership for service to society on national and international level. ESWOCHY learning outcomes are based on the analysis of EU documents and research data that highlights the main areas for increasing competences of social workers in working with children and youth: empowerment of children and youth, development of social and intercultural as well as digital competence. New technologies emerge rapidly. Digital literacy plays a crucial role as part of modern-day citizenship and modern life in general. There are a lot of social work practitioners who lack the digital skills or attitudes to fully benefit from the opportunities created by digital technologies for delivering quality youth work. Many social workers see digital media only as social media. Their understanding of the possibilities of digital media and technology should be widened (European Commission, 2018). EC identified a set of innovative practices in both delivering digital social work and also upskilling social workers' digital competences: using social media in sharing information, online youth counselling, supporting digital literacy, enabling participation with digital tools, supporting cultural youth work online, supporting the development of technological skills, using digital games in youth work etc. (European Commission, 2018).

The presentation shares experience and reflections of Consortium partners and discusses in depth how competences of future social workers are developed in European Joint Master in Social Work with Children and Youth.

Diaries of Social Work Students: Life In A State Of Emergency

Frank Sowa

Nuremberg Tech Georg Simon Ohm, Germany

How did social work students at the Nuremberg Tech Georg Simon Ohm experience the lockdown in the summer term 2020? This question was the subject of a spontaneously launched teaching research project. Shortly after the lockdown, students participating in the course began to write a diary for six weeks in order to put their perceptions of an extraordinary disaster on paper. The subjective records of everyday life in quarantine were written daily, as nothing is as fleeting as one's own memory. The focus was on a detailed description of everyday, interpersonal situations, subjective experiences, (self-)observations and (self-)reflections. These personal, sometimes “unfiltered” or “uncensored” protocols of reality were analyzed with the help of sequence analysis in small research teams via zoom. The application of sequence analysis showed the students that even during the pandemic there are socially recognized rules, latent structures of meaning that can be reconstructed from personal diary entries. The student analysis work revealed that the corona pandemic was accompanied by an enormous loss of security and routine. The articulated new uncertainties focused on the fear of infecting other family members, on existential worries about the future due to job loss in the family, on role conflicts (fight for gender equality), the stability of (love) relationships and the creation of a daily structure that is considered to be meaningful. The difficulties of maintaining a student identity took up a large part of the writings. In order to escape the omnipresence of the pandemic discourse and to practice a humane way of dealing with restrictions and requirements, the diary-writing students developed legal and illegal coping strategies that gave them new security. In addition to the scientific findings, students recognized that writing and interpreting the diary can be an effective coping strategy for a life in a state of emergency in order to create security, stability and a sense of community.

Social workers’ ethical challenges on foster care practices during pandemic

Stavros Parlalis, Demetris Chatzicharalambous

Frederick University

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s daily life all around the world. Under these conditions, social workers’ work has also been affected to a certain extent. In first place, social distance measures did not allow social workers to meet their clients face-to-face. Meetings, interviews, home visits, counseling sessions, supervision sessions and other activities had to be modified according to the health protocols and official procedures. Moreover, social workers faced many challenges in order to adapt their work towards the new standards, whilst ethical challenges were the most common between them. As it was reported by IFSW (2020), the main ethical challenges were the creation of trust and empathic relationship, the prioritization of service users’ needs and demands, the balancing service users’ rights, the use of “inappropriate” policies and handling emotions under difficult conditions. These challenges will be further explored and discussed regarding their adaptation into the Cypriot context of foster care policies and procedures. In brief, social workers lost their contact with service users, postponed all of their arranged activities for a period of four months (meetings, supervisions, prospective foster care parents’ trainings, etc.) and literally their work stopped. Social workers had to face these new circumstances and find new ways of working such as by using new technologies, make assessments via phone or internet and handling difficult situations through phone. Special references will be provided on how social workers managed to overcome the ethical challenges raised by these conditions and how they could be prepared for similar challenges in the future.

‘People are struggling daily to survive’: What can we learn from social workers’ experiences of volunteering with refugees overseas and how can this impact on our practice with unaccompanied minors in the UK?

Kirstie Louise Baughan

Central Bedfordshire Council, United Kingdom


Unaccompanied minors have often experienced challenging and traumatic journeys from their home countries, with heavy reliance on Non-Governmental Organisations to survive (UNHCR, 2018; Chiarenza et al, 2019; Doidge & Sandri, 2019). The media can often dehumanise these experiences, which can influence society views those seeking asylum (Bhatia et al, 2018). Significant learning can be gained from the experiences of volunteers who have worked on the frontline with asylum seekers, on the borders of France and Belgium. This study investigates the experiences of social workers who have volunteered with refugees overseas. The aim is to share volunteer experiences with social workers, to increase their knowledge of asylum seekers’ journeys through Europe in order to enhance their practice with unaccompanied minors


Three semi-structured interviews were undertaken with social workers employed within children’s services in the UK. Each of these social workers also had experience of volunteering with refugees and asylum seekers overseas, in Europe. Though the small sample size has some limitations, it has enabled me to gather rich and meaningful data, which has been analysed using a grounded theory approach.


This paper summaries the key experiences of unaccompanied minors prior to arrival in the UK, the barriers they face within the UK and learning for social workers in their practice. The key areas include poor living conditions for asylum seekers in France, negative interactions with authority forces, feelings of isolation and lack of access to mental health services. For social workers, the key messages are to react to issues of power, remain empathetic and to expand knowledge of this topic, away from the media, in order to effectively advocate for a marginalised group. Each of these areas will be explores in greater depth as part of my presentation.


This study concludes that it is of great importance that social workers understand the experiences of unaccompanied minors prior to arrival in the UK and acknowledge the barriers for them upon arrival. It is also fundamental that social workers continue to educate themselves on these experiences, whilst remaining reflective and strongly advocating the need for anti-oppressive practice.

Different types of supervision in social work

Florina Pascu

Babes-Bolyai University, Romania

Social workers are one of the professional categories subject to the risk of high levels of professional stress due to the specifics of the activity. In crisis situations, such as the one experienced with the 2020 pandemic, there is a legitimate need to protect social work practitioners and provide them with effective ways to manage post-traumatic stress.

A well-established way to approach post-traumatic stress is to provide support in the context of professional supervision meetings. Starting from the fact that supervision is a function performed mainly by people in managerial positions of an organization, the question arises of their availability to provide support and achieve supervision, given that crisis situations require them in the role of leadership.

What to do when managers are also overworked in crisis situations? How and in what way can be provided the necessary support to social assistance practitioners? This paper purpose is to highlight a review of the literature about the many ways in which supervision can be performed. It aims to offer more options to classical supervision by changing the one-to-one approach with group supervision. In a group process, the presence of a supervisor is not required and can be carried out in the form of offering mutual support by social workers in similar positions in the organization or employees who face similar traumatic situations (peer supervision).

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