SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: Summary: Members of the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) were asked to provide their definition of social work. Over 300 responses were analyzed thematically in order to determine if practitioner views corresponded to recent shifts in social work education and theory, which emphasized the importance of social change, strengths-based perspectives, and the importance of local and indigenous contexts. Findings: The findings demonstrate that while there was some recognition of social change and strengths-based perspectives in the definitions of social work provided, that those working in the field remain focused on ‘helping individuals, families, and groups’ engage in change. Respondents did not, for the most part, acknowledge local or indigenous perspectives in their definitions. Applications: Results from this study may be useful for social work professional organizations, and social work educators, students, and future researchers who are interested in the definition of social work and its scopes of practice.
Learning Objective: 1.1 Explain the differences between social work and other helping professions. Consider the Person-in-Environment Perspective.
Journal Article 1.2 Kam, P. K. (2014). Back to the “social’ of social work: Reviving the social work profession’s contribution to the promotion of social justice. International Social Work, 57(6): 723-740.
Abstract: Social changes and professionalization have moved social work away from advancing social justice and into the domination of individual therapies. This article redirects social workers’ attention to the importance of the ‘social’ in social work by presenting a six-social dimensions framework, and suggests that this refocusing helps to revive the profession’s contribution to promoting social justice.
Learning Objective: 1.3 Explain the attributes of generalist social work practice.
Abstract: To effectively prepare students for practice, macro social work educators need to keep pace with employers’ demands. This article reports findings from a survey of social work educators (n = 52) and macro practitioners (n = 184) in Texas to assess congruence in competencies perceived as necessary for macro practice. Findings reveal that both groups prioritize competencies related to interpersonal dynamics and leadership, program management, and community practice, and view financial management and public relations as least important. However, findings identify differences in practice competencies (e.g., policy practice, organizational management, and development), suggesting a need to better align educational and professional priorities.
Learning Objective: 1.5 Paraphrase the competencies common to all social workers and recall the stages of planned change.