Embedding critical reflection across the curriculum

Authored by: Fiona Gardner

The Routledge Handbook of Critical Social Work

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138578432
eBook ISBN: 9781351264402
Adobe ISBN:


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The inclusion of critical reflection in social work education has become an expectation but there is not always clarity about what this means or how to include critical reflection effectively (Harms, 2015; Pawar and Anscombe, 2015). Western social culture does not encourage a reflective attitude to life, and particularly not one that questions existing systems. Macfarlane (2016: 326) suggests that ‘neoliberal discourses, currently predominant in Western societies like Australia, have the potential to reduce social work education to acquiring competency-based skills rather than critically reflective transformative learning’. Students are likely then to come to social work interested in how they will learn to practice, rather than expecting to question their experience, their assumptions and the context they live in. Integrating critical reflection into the curriculum means providing both the theoretical concepts for a critical and reflective attitude to social work education in general as well as specific, key opportunities for learning processes to be critically reflective.

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