Saturday, January 19, 2019: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Golden Gate 6, Lobby Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Research on Social Work Education (RSWE)
Toula Kourgiantakis, PhD, University of Toronto
In 2008, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) adopted a competency-based framework outlined in its Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS). A competency-based framework focuses on student outcomes and "ensures that students are able to demonstrate the integration and application of the competencies in practice" (CSWE, 2015, p.6). In its 2015 version EPAS introduced a holistic view of social work practice competence and this "consists of nine interrelated competencies and component behaviors that are comprised of knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes" (CSWE, 2015, p.6). Social work practice competencies have a longstanding history of being taught and assessed in the field. There has been a call for schools of social work to assume a greater role in teaching and assessing social work competence and in doing so students may be more adequately prepared for field education. Teaching within this competency-based framework calls for direct practice activities that closely resemble real social work practice and this can pose a challenge for classroom educators. Simulation-based learning is an exemplar method for teaching holistic competence in a classroom or field setting. It provides students with an opportunity to interact with standardized clients in well-designed scenarios that replicate real social worker-client encounters. This is a valuable experiential teaching and assessment method for several reasons. Simulation provides students with practice opportunities that they may not necessarily have at practicum. Trained actors can simulate clients in an authentic way and portray a suitable degree of emotional intensity. Simulation-based learning provides students with opportunities to enhance knowledge, skills, values, as well as awareness and regulation of cognitive and affective processes. It is an effective method of teaching specialized competencies in areas such as child welfare, mental health, addictions, and domestic violence. The use of simulation in social work education is emerging, with limited research on holistic competence development and the mechanisms of learning that take place within this innovative teaching method. Not having enough research on best practices poses challenges for schools of social work that are required to integrate holistic competence in the curriculum. In this symposium, we will present three research studies that focus on simulation-based learning in social work education. The first presenter will discuss the results of a scoping review that examined studies using simulation in teaching and assessment in social work education. This review highlights gaps in research and education and it also illuminates best practices in simulation-based learning in social work education. The second presenter will discuss the results of a study exploring students' awareness of affective and cognitive processes during a simulated assessment with a standardized client. The final paper of this symposium will present the results of a study that explored student awareness of culture and diversity factors affecting a social worker-client relationship within a simulated interview. The contribution of these studies to the emerging literature related to simulation-based learning in social work education will be highlighted along with implications for education, research, and practice.
* noted as presenting author
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