Practical learning: achieving excellence in the human services

January 23-25 2008 Edinburgh International Conference Centre

The use of co-operative inquiry in developing an inter-professional model of learning

Keywords: inter-professional, collaboration, co-operative inquiry, reflective learning

Authors: Ms Valentine Scarlett (University of Dundee)

Abstract: Inter-professional learning is part of the new Social Work Education Agenda and as such has to be brought effectively into University curricula (Scottish Executive 2006 ).This paper seeks to explore how the use of co-operative inquiry enabled nursing and social work to work together in exploring the value of inter-professional teaching sessions in the area of child protection ( Reason 1999). It will demonstrate the inclusive and reflective nature of this approach that encouraged the collaboration of both tutors and students in the process. The paper will evidence the use of reflective learning (Schon1983, cited Gould and Baldwin 2004) and cycles of inquiry (Dewey 1933) thus mirroring the approach both nursing and social work encourage in their teaching methods and curriculum development. The first cycle of the study focussed on two methods of teaching: lecture style and small group work. The initial findings indicated that the latter was more productive in its outcomes. It encouraged discussion and reflection at a deeper level and is a method that those involved built upon in the next cycle of inquiry. Phase two of the study will conduct another cycle of the inquiry process incorporating the findings from the first one, building on these in a way that might evidence the co-operative and reflexive nature of the process.

Contribution: With other professionals I am continuing to explore methods of communicating and engaging with the social workers, nurses, teachers etc of the future in order to enable them to understand the value of working together. At the heart of this is the Service User who binds us all together in a partnership with themselves.

Date: Thursday 24 January 2008, 12.00-12.30

Venue: Carrick One

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Organised by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services in association with PEPE (Practical Experiences in Professional Education).