Adapted from Paquin, G. (2006) and Sax, P. (2006) this assessment invites students to apply a narrative theoretical approach to reflection of their learning journey in considering the personal story of their preferred social worker identity and its relationship to the past, present and future.
ROLE OF STUDENT
You are yourself a 4th year social work student. Students are encouraged to approach this task with a sense of curiosity, engaging with reflective narrative questions to uncover their preferred social work identity.
ASSESSMENT PRODUCT - Reflective Practice
Students will engage in reflective practice using a narrative theoretical approach. In an essay format using the following questions as a guide, author the story of your preferred social work identity.
Reflect on an 'experience you had where you acted exactly the way you wanted to as a social worker' (Paquin 2006, p.136). What did you notice about what you were doing and how it aligned with your preferred view of yourself as a social worker? What name would you give to your preferred social work identity?
Looking back, consider events, experiences and/or inspirational people that influenced your commitment to become a social worker and develop your preferred way of working? As a result of these experiences what was your growing understanding of your preferred values, purpose and intentions? How are these values and purpose aligned with social work values and aims, and reflected in your preferred way of working with people?
What learning experiences helped you acquire the knowledges, skills and ability to perform this preferred way of working (Panquin 2006, p.136)? What are these knowledges, skills and qualities? What experiences or persons supported you to navigate the unfamiliar territory of your learning journey? What qualities did those people recognise about you then?
What name do you give to those internal and/or external 'something/s' (Abel & Abel 2001, p.176) that tried to undermine your preferred social work identity? What did you discover to be the special features and tricks of this 'something'? What are the prefect conditions for this 'something' to thrive? What effects did it have on you and your preferred way of working with people?
Describe the qualities, skills and knowledge that you possess that challenged the authority of this 'something' and helped to restore and strengthen your preferred social work identity? What strategies will you use to recall these qualities, skills, and knowledge in your future practice?
Discuss the theoretical approaches and social work values and ethics that support your preferred way of working with others? How does this happen?
Imagine you are able to have a conversation with yourself the social worker in 5 years time (Slocombe, 2002). How will you be able to recognise that you are continuing to work from your preferred social work identity? What might your colleagues and the people you work with tell you about their experiences of working with you? What would be the greatest compliment they could give you? What advice might this future social work version of yourself give you as you begin your social work career?
Discuss your experience of this narrative reflective exercise, how it differs from other approaches you have used in the past, and the limitations and potential of this approach for facilitating your reflection.
Abels, P. & Abels, S. 2001, Understanding Narrative Therapy: A Guidebook for the Social Worker, Springer Publisher Company, Inc., NY.
Paquin, G. 2006, "Including Narrative Concepts in Social Work Practice Classes: Teaching to Client Strengths". Journal of Teaching in Social Work, Vol. 26, pp. 127 - 144.
Sax, P. 2006, "Developing Preferred Stories of Identity as Reflective Practitioners". Journal of Systemic Therapies, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 59-72.
Slocombe, P. 2002, Narrative Solutions: Bringing out the best in individuals, couples & families through helpful conversations, Centacare Corporate Inc., Perth.
700 to 1000 words. It must remain within this range (maximum 1% of the mark will be deducted for every 100 words over or under this range).