Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Social workers - who are we?

It is evident, to me any way, that many of us struggle to articulate who we are, what we do and what makes us different from other professions. I wonder why this is so difficult. For a number of years I have been supervising University Students who are on placement and am amazed how many of them are unable to explain any of the above. It is somewhat disturbing that a fourth year student is unable to articulate not only what social work is but why they chose to spend four years towards a degree in the first place. What sort of Social Workers are we producing if they are unable to express what the profession is about and how they practice social work. It is no wonder that the public and other professions have a skewed and misunderstood of what social worker is. A worker for a large federal government department viewed social workers as people who hand out bus tickets to those who can't afford them. For some social workers that may be the total limit of their skill set.

The universities don't seem to value the profession. You don't need a very high TER to make it into university. Not that I see that as bad thing but just think for a moment how the profession would be viewed if we limited places and the TER was say 95? Would a high TER add value to the profession? Would this also mean that we would take more notice of what the profession meant? We would probably become elitist academics who had no idea of equity and fairness.

So what is it that prohibits the inability to articulate the great virtues of this great profession. It could be that no one models them. Perhaps those doing the modeling, back to teachers and supervisors, don't get it either.

No comments:

Post a Comment