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THE MORAL SENSITIVITY OF SOCIAL WORKERS Some preliminary research outcomes ENSACT Conference (Istanbul 18-04-2013) Ed de Jonge UAS Utrecht Netherlands.

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Presentation on theme: "THE MORAL SENSITIVITY OF SOCIAL WORKERS Some preliminary research outcomes ENSACT Conference (Istanbul 18-04-2013) Ed de Jonge UAS Utrecht Netherlands."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE MORAL SENSITIVITY OF SOCIAL WORKERS Some preliminary research outcomes ENSACT Conference (Istanbul ) Ed de Jonge UAS Utrecht Netherlands

2 CONCLUSION (cf. Socrates) Cooperation in ethical research by teachers/researchers and students/practitioners can be an excellent way of teaching and learning

3 INTRODUCTION: research Main objective: improving the moral expertise of (ambulatory) social workers, and thereby the moral quality and effectiveness of social work practice Cooperation (co-financed by SIA-RAAK): n Research group: innovation of social work; subgroup: moral decision making (UAS Utrecht Netherlands) n Six regional welfare organizations (Cumulus, Leger des Heils, LSG Rentray, Sherpa, Stade, Zonnehuizen) Duration: n 1 year of preparation ( ) n 2 years of research ( ) n NB: continuation of cooperation

4 MORAL EXPERTISE: research outset Improving moral expertise presupposes knowing what moral expertise is Main research activities n Literature search n Lots of (informal) discussions n Conceptualization Outcome: learned ignorance (cf. Socrates) n We do not know exactly just what moral expertise is, n but we are convinced that at least 5 elements are important

5 MORAL EXPERTISE: 5 elements n Identity (being): professional and personal, values and virtues, moral consciousness, self care n Motivation (wanting): inspiration, passion, calling, commitment n Sensitivity (sensing): emotions, intuitions, instincts n Frames of reference (thinking): vocabulary, notions, concepts, theories, viewpoints n Skills (doing): imagination, reflection, discussion, deciding, justifying, self management

6 MORAL SENSITIVITY Intention: developing a practice based theory (cf. Socratic midwifery) Method: cooperation of 3 researchers and 12 practitioners Activities: n Reflective writing: describing a moral issue n Reflective writing: noticing the moral dimension n Synthesizing: first draft n Reading: correct and complete? n Discussion: amendments n Etc. (version 3)

7 MORAL SENSITIVITY: reported aspects Failure of expertise (cf. professional wisdom) n Failure of judgment: good, values, rules, virtues, interests, alternatives, consequences n Failure of decision making n Failure of taking actions Emotionally being moved n Basic emotions: restlessness, discomfort, anxiety, irritation, ambivalence n Signalling emotions: worries, fear, suspicion, anger n Secondary emotions: guilt, uncertainty, failure, disappointment, sadness, pain, desperateness

8 MORAL SENSITIVITY: aspects of ethics work Professional nature of emotionally being moved n Self-consciousness n Reflection n Self directing Preconditions for moral sensitivity n Taking responsibility for the situation n Being open to the situation n Having real contact with the client(s)

9 MORAL SENSITIVITY: positive side effects of research Professionalization and empowerment of practitioners: n Becoming more aware of their own moral expertise and the complexity of it n Being able to make more consciously use of several elements of their moral expertise in their work n Being able to speak and discuss about moral issues more in connexion to themselves as professionals and as persons n Becoming a role model in their professional team

10 CONCLUSION (cf. Socrates) Cooperation in ethical research by teachers/researchers and students/practitioners can be an excellent way of teaching and learning

11 COMMERCIAL BREAK Do you believe that = 3? Have you always wanted to cooperate in ethical research? Please contact us: For sharing knowledge is multiplying knowledge!

12 SOCRATIC QUESTION Concerning moral sensitivity: Can social workers be too sensitive?


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