Practical learning: achieving excellence in the human services

January 23-25 2008 Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Service users and carers as co-educators of social work students

Keywords: Involving service users & carers in the classroom, using personal narratives to promote integration of theory and practice

Author: Robert Mackay (Robert Gordon University)

There is a requirement by the Scottish Social Service Council (SSSC) and the Scottish Executive that service users and carers are partners and stakeholders in social work education. This requirement is one of many that are used by the SSSC in the approval of Scottish Universities to deliver social work courses.
This workshop will firstly explain and reflect on the experiences of including service users and carers as co-educators in the planning and delivery of one module at the Robert Gordon University (RGU).
It will examine the issues and questions around the process of involving service users and carers with the education of social work students and it will also evaluate the outcomes for one cohort of students. Lastly it will explore the broader implications for partnership working in relation to the education and training of students for professional practice. This workshop highlights the valued role that service users and carers can make as co-educators in two respects. Firstly through the use of life stories, best practice is illustrated in the classroom and secondly there is evidence that students' learning is enhanced not only in the short-term but up to a year after the teaching take place.

At a time when public services are making a shift towards more person orientated approaches it is crucial that the professionals of tomorrow are trained in approaches that places the individual citizen at the centre of the whole enterprise. This workshop illustrates an evaluated educational approach that draws in service users and carers as partners in the training of student social workers. The key learning and issues are transferrable to other professional groups.

Date: Friday 25 January 2008, 1.30-3.00

Venue: Ochil 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).