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To become a competent social worker it is essential to know the perspective of the service users. Therefore, service users are more and more included in field research projects and the instruction of social workers to-be. However, they are usually reduced to the role of informants and not actively taking part as co-partners. For the first time, this anthology gives an overview of courses in which service users and students share their experiences and work together on the same level using gapmending methods. The applications and evaluations of these courses in different European countries are discussed in this volume.
The theoretical background of gap mending methods are approaches of empowerment, inclusion, participation, social movements or/and service user involvement. In both English and German-speaking countries there are similar discussions but so far, the similarities and differences of the theoretical approaches as well as their strengths and limits have rarely been concise and systematically compiled. This theoretical gap is mentioned in the introduction of the anthology.
The aim of gap mending methods in social work education is in the first place to empower socially excluded groups. Secondly, the students meet service user in a situation out of their “role as social worker” on a communicative equal level. This enables a learning process that is based on exploring their needs and views. Thirdly, during the course, both service user and students of social work develop together innovative projects in the field of social work.
In several northern countries gap mending courses are very common in social work education, e.g. at the University of Lund.
However, there are fewer publications about best practice of gap mending methods and their evaluation. Therefore, the anthology presents and discusses concepts, applications and evaluations of six examples of service user involvement in courses of social work education in Europe. The authors of this anthology are all part of the international network PowerUs, developing gap mending strategies in social work education and research.
You can download this book for free (PDF) or order the print edition (paperback): 10.3224/84740507
Emanuela Chiapparini, PhD,
lecturer and senior reseacher, Institute of Childhood, Youth and Family in the School of Social Work at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences
Target groups: Teachers and scholars in Social work
Keywords: Service user involvement, Empowerment, Social Work
Subject area: Social work