Effective Interventions: Applying Learning Theory to School Social Work

Effective Interventions: Applying Learning Theory to School Social Work

Effective Interventions: Applying Learning Theory to School Social Work

Effective Interventions: Applying Learning Theory to School Social Work


This how-to book provides practice-based strategies for school social workers, behavior therapists, school personnel, and others wishing to provide psychological treatment to children in the school environment. It details the day-to-day functions and concerns of school social workers and provides reports of empirically validated procedures. The volume serves as a needed working tool for those involved with the lives of children, to help them overcome a range of difficulties, and to enhance their academic achievement.


The behavioral movement in social work has often been criticized for being dominated by academicians who write books and articles telling practitioners what to do. The complaint has been that behaviorally oriented academics and researchers are not familiar with the realities of practice in social work settings.

The present volume should help mute that criticism. It is the work of a social work practitioner who has used behavioral methods in her own practice. She writes from a knowledge of her practice domain -- school social work -- that is both intimate and extensive. As a practitioner who has used behavioral methods, the author brings to her work a sense of which methods are important for which purposes in daily practice.

At the same time, it is a book in the best traditions of scholarship. Her scholarship is most clearly seen in the extensive reviews of research she presents on a wide variety of approaches pertinent to school social work. At first glance these reviews seem more helpful to scholars and students than to practitioners. But some reflection suggests that practitioners themselves should benefit equally. The research presented documents effectiveness, or in some cases lack of effectiveness, of the methods presented. Those practitioners who use them have a better sense of what they are buying than is the case with the usual methods text. At the same time, users will find a rich array of up-to-date references to which they can turn for additional evidence of further detail on the practice methods.

The methods presented cover a wide variety of populations and situations dealt with by school social workers. The techniques for dealing with the most common problems presented to school social workers are outlined with clarity and detail.

Contrary to the stereotype of the behavioral practitioner as one whose vision is limited to the deviant behavior of the individual, Ginsburg takes a broad perspective of the school social worker as one who is concerned not only with the behavior of children but with the many relations that children have in school settings: to teachers, to families, and to the community. Contrary to the impression that behavioral practitioners in school settings force children . . .

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