Do Challenges to Students' Beliefs, Values and Behaviour within Social Work Education Have an Impact on Their Sense of Well-Being?
This paper draws on the findings of a unitary appreciative inquiry which aimed to illuminate the unique experiences of five student social workers approaching qualification. It identifies the impact social work education had on their whole selves, their beliefs, values and behaviour, and the impact of this learning on their sense of well-being. The findings are summarised and presented within this paper as five individual profiles including the participants' own representations of this impact. The study found that their well-being was affected significantly by changes to their sense of self, changing relationships with others and heightened awareness of oppression and injustice. Whilst all reported positive outcomes resulting from personal, academic and professional achievement, all shared examples of where their learning had impacted negatively on relationships with friends and family. This had led to internal conflict as they sought to adjust to their new ways of thinking and the implications for their behaviour past and present. The participants believed that this was best supported within social work education when values and behaviours were modelled by staff, when educators acknowledged and understood the potential impact of learning and when networks for sharing experiences, seeking support and enabling slow, developmental change were available.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2011