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Learning by Doing Within Communities: Experiences of Innovative Practice Learning in Social Work Education During the Covid-19 Pandemic

TitleLearning by Doing Within Communities: Experiences of Innovative Practice Learning in Social Work Education During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsLandi C, Limongelli P, Corradini F
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Volume14
Issue1
Pagination49-69
Date Published02/2022
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
KeywordsE-learning, Practice Learning, Social Work Disaster, social work education
Abstract

This paper refers to a practice learning method in social work education, called Unconventional Practice Placement (UPP), offered in the bachelor’s and master’s degree courses in Social Work at the Catholic University in Italy. During the UPPs, students work with a network of people (professionals from public or private organisations, service users, caregivers and members of the public) to create or implement innovative social interventions collaboratively. The health emergency and social distancing forced a significant redefinition of how UPPs are conducted. The article presents the findings from an online survey aimed at knowing how UPPs are defined and their specific characteristics, particularly, during the Covid-19 pandemic. The participants are 511 social work students. This paper focuses on a comparison between the UPPs conducted before and during the pandemic. Most of the students performed social interventions in Northern Italy, the area most affected by the first wave of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the number of people involved in social planning increased considerably compared to the previous academic years. Despite social distancing, digital tools made it possible to carry out community social work and group work. However, these tools also showed some limits, particularly about the involvement of people in vulnerable conditions. Furthermore, this paper highlights the role of social workers and local community resources in the Covid-19 pandemic, thus proving that UPPs could be a valuable model for training future social workers to cope with crises.

URLhttps://ijse.padovauniversitypress.it/2022/1/4
DOI10.14658/PUPJ-IJSE-2022-1-4