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Continuing professional development in social work$
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Carmel Halton, Fred Powell, and Margaret Scanlon

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447307372

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447307372.001.0001

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Contemporary debates in social work education

Contemporary debates in social work education

(p.17) Two Contemporary debates in social work education
Continuing professional development in social work

Carmel Halton

Fred Powell

Margaret Scanlon

Policy Press

This chapter explores some of the major debates within social work education, particularly in relation to the development of two contrasting approaches to learning, broadly described as ‘reflective’ and ‘competence-based’. While proponents argue that the competency model results in clearer specifications and more transparent assessment methods, critics have dismissed it as a reductionist, ‘tick-box’ approach to education. Reflective learning and practice has come to be seen as a more responsive means of meeting the needs of service users. However, concerns have been raised that this model also tends to overlook the political context of social work, focusing instead on the individual. These are some of the debates explored in this chapter. Other issues that pertain to the development of social work education are also examined, including: higher education funding, course provision and the status of social work as an academic discipline.

Keywords:   Social work education, Competency-based learning, Reflective learning, Neo-liberalism, Higher education funding

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