Project title: Innovation by supporting reflexivity and participation (INORP): Strengthening education and professionalization of social work on the border of other professions
The project is co-financed by EU funds under the Erasmus + K203-CAC1B7D2 strategic partnership for innovation for the period 2020-2023.
The project coordinator is Charles University (Czech Republic). The project partners are:
• GENT UNIVERSITY (Belgium)
• HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO (Finland)
• UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (Ireland)
• COOPERATIVA DE ENSINO SUPERIOR DE SERVIÇO SOCIAL (Portugal)
The associate partner is the Association of Educators in Social Work (ASVSP).
The team of researchers consists of social work teachers from the five universities, which are prof. Walter Lorenz, prof. Jim Campbell, prof. Rudi Roose, prof. Griet Roets, prof. Helena Blomberg (Helsinki), Christian Kroll, Sara Melo, Zuzana Havrdová, Dana Hradcová, Monika Čajko Eibicht, Pavla Povolná, Petr Vrzáček and others.
• The importance of promoting reflexivity in education, along with the emphasis on cooperation, participation and inclusion of service users, have been discussed for decades. Still, we usually do not find these concepts in Social Work educational curricula. From a cultural perspective, there are significant differences in the implementation of these concepts, and they are rarely projected in research.
• Due to the rapid changes in society, we anticipate a decline in the importance of prescribed knowledge and rapidly obsolete learning in social work. What we are, on the other hand, expecting is strengthening the ability to reflexively and participatory shape cooperation and solutions. These will be taking place in complex "frontier" situations involving several different disciplines (health and social) and groups with different identities (e.g. teachers x students, users x social workers). In this, we see a part of a possible mission of a social expert: Work in an interdisciplinary environment.
• The concepts of reflexivity and participation are ambiguous; they have many forms and levels. Moreover, participation often remains at the level of user inquiry; it is "politically" abused.
• We want to look at service practice and research in different countries, compare and describe examples of good practice in social work through the lens of curricula and publications, and together with students and teachers prepare small case studies that will be based on working together. All this will provide the basis for our practical guide that will contain examples of how to do it. Simultaneously, we will also create a modularly designed optional course.
The project aims to strengthen the skills and abilities of teachers, students, eventually other stakeholders from various group identities, including social and health, or professional and para-professional. It will focus on the know-how of participatory and inclusive approaches and reflexively based cooperation initiated by a student or teacher or social worker in various areas of social work. Examples include reflexive participatory case management, evaluation and development of a specific service, reflexively guided support for network cooperation or a reflexive and participatory research study. A meaningful subject of reflexively conceived joint research will also be the possibilities and strategies of mutual empowerment and strengthening in the field of knowledge.
As a result of the project activities including expert analyzes, educational events, case studies and good practice evaluations, a Practice Guide will be developed for students, teachers and other stakeholders (users and community service leaders) for skills development, case studies and projects based on reflective cooperation and participatory and inclusive decision-making, together with guidelines and examples of how to shape such collaboration. Furthermore, a curriculum of an elective module course will be created, which will lead the applicant to adopt participatory and inclusive approaches and reflexively based cooperation in practice and research in social work and on its border.