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Home arrow Sociology arrow Holistic engagement : transformative social work education in the 21st century
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EMPIRICAL FOUNDATIONS OF PEDAGOGIES OF HOLISTIC ENGAGEMENT

The premise of holistic engagement, in practice and in the classroom, is supported through findings in scholarly research. Current scientific research on the topics of mindfulness and neuroplasticity; environment and lifestyle-based health; and empathy, attention, and professional self-care point to the opportunity for social work educators to utilize these findings within the classroom as they prepare students to employ them in practice (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Turner, 2009). Infusing such scientific advances into the complexities of the current global context, educators have a transformative role to play in preparing professionals to practice in an integrative way. This requires an evolution beyond a modernist epistemology grounded in cognition and instead requires that educators affirm diverse ways of knowing that embrace the whole self. In turn, social workers become capable of bridging differences and adapting to changing environments in a dynamic manner. Transformative social work practice requires this kind ofadaptive capability. Epstein (2003) describes the difference between competence and capability: Competence is what individuals know or are able to do in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitude, whereas capability is the extent to which an individual can adapt to changes, generate new knowledge, and continue to improve his or her performance.

 
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