I have always been the type to learn through action, from riding a bike to doing a clinical assessment. I never understood until the task was there in front of me. The Praxis is a large part of what drew me to social work. I started at the School of Social Work knowing this service learning to be my strength and thought I could continue floating by on this learning style alone. However, I soon found myself struggling with frameworks and concepts in class.
My immediate reaction was to dismiss frameworks and conceptualizations as impractical and just “academic work written for other academics”. Much to my surprise, my peers (tactfully) refuted my claims and supported their stance with points. Concepts give us a common language to speak about the work we do. Frameworks can be investigated and tested to determine their effectiveness. What good is action without evidence that it works? Still stubborn, I persisted that evidence based practice is good and all, however action research is what is ethical. Everything is situational.
What I have learned this semester is that both conceptualizations and practical models of social work are useful. There is little in this world that is dichotomous and models of social work practice are not exempt.
I owe my field supervisor and field instructor greatly for helping me bridge the actions I was taking in field and the concepts I was learning in class. In my evaluation, I embarrassingly stumbled on the sections of the learning agreement that asked about assessment and intervention. My field instructor, Theresa, was able to show me how the stories I had shared from my practice fit into these concepts.
I am grateful that the School of Social Work has challenged me and forced me to connect the classroom and field.