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Creating Continuous Conversation: Social Workers and Learning Organizations

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This article presents some findings on one aspect of a qualitative study of the continuing education of social workers in New Zealand. Social workers interviewed were aware of the contemporary discourses of lifelong learning and in particular, the concept of learning organizations. Analysis reveals that while practitioners are positive about the ideals of the learning organization; this is tempered by practical considerations and constraints which reflect the critique of the learning organization found in the literature. When asked to define their hopes for post-qualifying learning, participants identified intellectual refreshment, critical reflection and acknowledging successful work as priorities. Social workers clearly want 'learning workplaces' and as educators we need to support their development. Top-down models may not provide the answer and small-scale local initiatives which engender critical, reflective and inquiring 'continuous conversations' may serve practitioners better.
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Keywords: Continuing Professional Education; Learning Organizations; Social Work

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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