A Constructionist Approach to the Use of Arts-Based Materials in Social Work Education: Making Connections Between Art and Life
Providing engaging, relevant, and motivating courses to teach students about interpersonal social work theories is an ongoing challenge. The educator's problem is to provide an environment in which students engage with theory in a way that enables them to apply it in practice situations and reflect critically on the ways theories are produced and interact with their own values and beliefs. This article outlines the ways arts-based materials (ABMs) might be used to these ends and discusses these in relation to social constructionism. Some student views from the course evaluation are included. Two ABMs used are presented as examples: one to explore multicultural and oppression themes and one to explore humanist theory. Last, a discussion of the tensions involved in using ABMs as representations of real-life scenarios is explored. It is concluded that social constructionism provides a useful critical perspective that proposes that ABMs elucidate certain constructed versions of reality. Because people in real life also actively constitute their realities for particular audiences in highly localized and contingent ways, the use of ABMs is no more problematic than using real case studies.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Rights Statement: Copyright © 2011 Routledge
Keywords: arts; interpersonal practice; social constructionism; theory; student perceptions; social work education; media
Research Type: Journal Article
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