Becoming a critical social work practitioner
Becoming a critical social work practitioner

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Becoming a critical social work practitioner

3.2 Analysing practice

Activity 5

1 hour 30 minutes

Read ‘Constructive first engagement: best practice in social work interviewing – keeping the child in mind’ (Cooper, 2008) [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

As you read this chapter consider ways in which you could capture and examine your interactions with service users, through similarly detailed analysis.


This reading demonstrates how even a very small extract of the dialogue and language used in practice exchanges can be analysed to draw out further meaning and insight. It also offers explanations of some of the theoretical underpinnings of a constructive social work approach.

The chapter is part of a collection of essays that illustrate a ‘critical best practice’ approach to social work. Part of this approach to social work argues that social work skills, strengths and good practices can be identified even where the overall outcome of cases may eventually appear to be poor. In other words, in your practice learning opportunity, the analysis of your action doesn't have to be tied to apparently ‘successful’ pieces of work. Using this approach, you can still argue for the good practice skills, knowledge and values that you used to make the case for your professional intervention.


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