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Practice placement in social workInnovative approaches for effective teaching and learning$
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Avril Bellinger and Deirdre Ford

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781447318606

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447318606.001.0001

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Getting our hands dirty: reconnecting social work education as if the earth matters

Getting our hands dirty: reconnecting social work education as if the earth matters

(p.103) Seven Getting our hands dirty: reconnecting social work education as if the earth matters
Practice placement in social work

Andrew Whiteford

Policy Press

As our degraded and depleted natural environment increasingly impacts on social relationships, individual opportunity and personal well-being, social work education needs to create structures for embedding environmental justice alongside social justice in its teaching and learning strategies. This chapter, whilst reflecting the author’s own transformative learning experience as a social work educator, will report on an experiential, transformative approach to learning about, and for environmental social work. Transforming their perceptions of the interdependence between people and the natural environment, students are directly involved in a range of community development based projects. These work to improve access to green space, increase engagement with food production, provide reparation opportunities and offer therapeutic benefit in outdoor environments. The aim is to reveal to them the benefits for social work of a closer alliance with the natural environment, encouraging them to develop approaches they may apply to their future practice.

Keywords:   transformative learning, experiential learning, environmental social work, social justice

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