An Introduction to Constructivism for Social Workers

An Introduction to Constructivism for Social Workers

An Introduction to Constructivism for Social Workers

An Introduction to Constructivism for Social Workers

Synopsis

Constructivism is based on the principle that our personalities, behavior, and society are organized by the ways in which we attribute meanings to events, and act upon those meanings. In this volume, Fisher introduces social workers to constructivism, a perspective that is becoming increasingly popular in the social sciences, and that has already been embraced by clinical psychologists, communication researchers, and cyberneticians. Fisher explains constructivism as an epistemology and demonstrates the ethical appropriateness and practice relevance of constructivism for social work.

Excerpt

In 1989, after graduating from the undergraduate social work program at the University of Calgary, five of us decided to join together to form a group intended to continue a process of self-education, professional development and personal support. As each of us moved into the "real" world of social work practice, ranging in focus from social planning to administration to direct clinical service, we recognized the importance of maintaining a formal means of furthering our understanding of traditional and nontraditional social work theory and method, especially as it now applied to our own work. Therefore, when David Fisher approached us with a request to review and critique his manuscript on constructivism, we accepted it as an opportunity to fulfill our own learning goals and simultaneously to contribute directly to the knowledge base of social work.

Since this book is intended for social workers, and primarily for social work students, our position seemed ideal. As recent graduates ourselves, we were well aware of the present educational content of the social work program. As fledgling practitioners, we also became aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the program, particularly in terms of its ability to realistically prepare students for their future work. Consequently, we felt that our dual experiences offered a useful framework from which to discuss the relevance of constructivism to both social work education and its practice. Working together on the manuscript has been one piece of our own transition from students to practitioners and, in some cases, back to students again.

Our experience has been that as social workers, we often proclaim the importance of self-determination and of valuing the individual. We are less likely, however, to examine the implications of this stance. David Fisher . . .

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