Suitability for professional practice: assessing and developing moral character in social work education

Holmström, Cath (2014) Suitability for professional practice: assessing and developing moral character in social work education. Social Work Education, 33 (4). pp. 451-468. ISSN 0261-5479

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This article considers the importance of an explicit focus upon the ‘character’ of social work applicants and students in debates regarding suitability for professional education and practice. Drawing upon the growing body of literature concerning gate-keeping decisions and the literature exploring the relevance of virtue ethics for social work, this article examines the benefits of an approach that foregrounds the assessment and development of moral character. The discussion is located within the context of the most recent reforms to social work education within England, whilst recognising the international relevance of these debates. It is argued that incorporating an approach informed by virtue ethics has the potential to bridge traditional fault-lines within selection debates that have focused upon the tensions between a widening access perspective and a focus upon academic ability. Crucially, this article examines the curriculum and pedagogic issues arising from a commitment to provide opportunities to develop moral character and virtue. The article argues that a dual focus upon selection and pedagogic issues, with an explicit focus upon character throughout, is critical to the development of wise, effective and virtuous social workers who are able to exercise sound judgment and wisdom across a range of practice contexts.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Admission, Selection, Suitability, Moral Character, Virtue, Social Work, Social Work Student
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0040 Social service. Social work. Charity organization and practice Including social case work, private and public relief, institutional care, rural social work, work relief
Depositing User: Michael Davy
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2013 14:35
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 05:27

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