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Home arrow Sociology arrow Holistic engagement : transformative social work education in the 21st century


In this chapter, I introduced social pedagogy as a profession and the CHS as an educational model that can serve as an inspiration to social workers and social work educators. Given the fact that research on professional socialization is inconclusive, it is essential that educators develop deliberate content and pedagogical approaches to prepare social work students for the challenges they face upon graduation. The CSWE, with its EPAS, has presented educators with very clear expectations to the content of the education—the explicit curriculum. The inclusion of the implicit curriculum in the EPAS is what I term a beginning discussion of the hidden curriculum; this chapter on the hidden curriculum expands the concept of the implicit curriculum. I believe that Bowles and Gintis (1976) are correct when they posit that it is the form of socialization rather than the content of the formal curriculum that becomes the vehicle for inculcating the dispositions and skills expected for their corresponding places in the workforce. Educators must consequently become aware of the dynamics of a hidden curriculum and the subsequent socializing agents so that they can act accordingly.

How educators treat students and what they actually do with students have consequences in terms ofparallel processes: Student-educator interactions mirror service participant-social worker interactions. By implementing a Freirian approach, educators and students can create an educational process together that is transformative as opposed to merely transmission of content. I do not mean to imply that it is easy to go against the currents of the traditional educational system and structures. Educators face real challenges in terms of their own and their students' anticipatory socialization. They also face limitations in time and space, and possibly most important, many educators and students have limited exposure to alternative educational models such as the ones presented in this chapter.

This chapter presented several pedagogical approaches and modalities, such as the structure and main features of the CHS and the Common Third. These examples are part of holistic engagement. They enrich the learning environment for students and educators and challenge both to get out of their comfort zones and expand their knowledge of alternative ways of approaching education. As when working with service participants, doing can be a vehicle to move outside the comfort zone and experiment with new ways of approaching the challenges we all face in the process of preparing the next generation of both social workers and social work educators. As Claire Cameron (2004) observes about social pedagogical practice, “[T]he social relations of everyday living are seen as sources for individual, joint, and group reflections, growth, and change” (p. 149). And the social relations are well captured through doing the Common Third.

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