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Klas-Göran Olsson, Jönköping University Professionalism as individual development. Presentation at the conference Listening – the essence of social work.

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Presentation on theme: "Klas-Göran Olsson, Jönköping University Professionalism as individual development. Presentation at the conference Listening – the essence of social work."— Presentation transcript:

1 Klas-Göran Olsson, Jönköping University Professionalism as individual development. Presentation at the conference Listening – the essence of social work and care Göteborg 25 – 27 April 2007

2 Klas-Göran Olsson, Jönköping University Professionalism in Social Work and Education of Social Workers in a cross cultural perspective Comparison between Sweden and Germany A chapter in the 3:rd EUSW book; Changing Social Work Education in Europe. Released in summer Authors: Carsten Otte, Germany Klas-Göran Olsson, Sweden

3 Klas-Göran Olsson, Jönköping University What is a profession (Müller, 2002) The activity : has to deal with central aspects of human life influences the very individual areas of other people includes risks and “danger to be hurt” for the target groups

4 Klas-Göran Olsson, Jönköping University Pre-conditions for professional social work. (Müller, 2002) longer and intensive education on academic level, regulations regarding the admission and examination admittance to the profession, regulated and controlled by the state control of professional standards not by the state, but by professional bodies independence from instructions from non-professionals regarding professional aspects professional ethical standards, controlled by professional associations, and legally based limitations to have the professional practice as a business.

5 Klas-Göran Olsson, Jönköping University Developing professionalism Takes time, 3 – 4 years education not enough The development of professionalism can be illustrated as a wandering through different stages (levels) A suggestion: - the everday life level - the ”professional level” - the critical level - the developmental level

6 Klas-Göran Olsson, Jönköping University Everyday life level Social work is about peoples everday life such as - economic problems - to much alcohol consumption - disagreements in families - neglected children - elderly in need - etc, etc Common situations there also the SW has private experiences; without an professional perspective; private moral and private attitudes could influence the assessments and the decisions

7 Klas-Göran Olsson, Jönköping University ”Professional level” Move up to the professional level ”move up to the attic to se the situation from above This level contains professional tools, such as - theories - experiences reflected experiences - ethics and values, constitutional laws - self-awerness - social laws, other laws - instructions - etc

8 Klas-Göran Olsson, Jönköping University The critical level Develope a critically reflective practice where the social workers systematically refelct and value - what they are doing in their duties - what are the outcomes - does the activities help people/groups in need - how do the clients find the help - what part of job/methods are working well - etc This requires a continuos evaluation, seen as natural part of social work, this is a prerequisite for the next level, the developmental level

9 Klas-Göran Olsson, Jönköping University The developmental level By experiences and findings from the other levels - strengthen methods that are working well - develop new methods - development of new methods can also lead to new theory

10 Klas-Göran Olsson, Jönköping University The influence of the organisation on the process of professionalisation not enough with a strong will from social workers, support from the formal structure is needed the inner structure and policy are poverful factors to influence individual development the organisation itself must has a selfconcept as professional organisation style of leadership cooperation and atmosphere which support development of professional competences critical attitudes are allowed and accepted the attitudes to client experiences encouraging longlife learning

11 Klas-Göran Olsson, Jönköping University Summary social work in Sweden and Germany has reached a high level of professionalisation regarding, education, qualification, certification and ethical and professional standards professional development on individual level is a process that takes time this process has to be maintained by the social worker himself as well as by the employer a critical approach from the social worker is an important prerequiste to reach a high level of professionalism


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