Practical learning: achieving excellence in the human services

January 23-25 2008 Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Ending the oppression of marginalized populations: the critical link between training and practice

Keywords: oppression, practice learning, social justice, discrimination

Author: Prof Jaimie Page (The University of Texas at Arlington)

Social service practitioners often serve individuals and families who are faced with some form of discrimination and/or oppression. Those who live with discrimination and oppression often experience financial and social difficulties, health/mental health issues and disparities, and difficulty obtaining accessible and culturally competent services. However, there is little educational training about the dynamics and effects of discrimination and oppression for social service practitioners. Additionally, there is little attention given to these issues in social service organizations in terms of training and on-going service evaluation. In some cases, organizations can even contribute to the discrimination and oppression of the clients it seeks to serve, and practitioners are often unaware of the role they may play in the process. In this session, participants will learn how to teach students/practitioners the social construction of differences, the various forms of discrimination and oppression, practitioner and organizational roles in the process of oppression, and ways to address oppression both in client sessions and within the organization. Further, participants will learn how to teach broader social strategies to help clients who experience discrimination or oppression. Emphasis will be placed on how to help students/practitioners integrate this knowledge in their practice on an on-going basis.

The topic is expected to be of keen interest to social service practitioners because they often work with people who experience discrimination and oppression: those living in poverty, mental illness, addiction, immigrants, ex-offenders, etc. Educational programs often discuss these issues, but not to the degree that is needed. Furthermore, there is usually very little attention given to the integration of the knowledge gained to daily practice and program administration. Rather, the information tends to remain at an abstract theoretical level.

Date: Friday 25 January 2008, 2.30-3.00

Venue: Carrick Two

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