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Deakin Social Work Student Unit Project-Feasibility of 'SWAN-AU'
What is the Social Work Action Network (SWAN)?
The Social Work Action Network (SWAN) is a grassroots organisation of social workers, academics, students, social care workers, service users and carers. SWAN originated in the UK and now has chapters in Ireland, Greece, New Zealand and Canada. SWAN campaigns and advocates for the social work and social workers against neoliberal policies, marketisation and managerialism. It supports an alternative social work that actively promotes radical social work, social justice and human rights.
Who we are
We are a group of five Masters of Social Work students who form a remote student unit. We are situated in Victoria, NSW and Queensland, and are currently on placement from Deakin University, Geelong. Our placement consists of conducting a study as to whether a SWAN group can be initiated in Australia. We are being supervised by our Project Manager and Supervisor John Townsend (contact details for John) from the Deakin Social Work School.
Field Work Placement Assessment Task 3:
Critical Incident Reflection Report
Word limit: 2500 words
A critical learning event is one that you believe or feel was crucial to your learning or practice as a Social Worker or had a significant effect on it. It is an incident that is critical to your development as a Social Worker on placement. It may mark a turning point, or, in a particular way, a change in your thinking or acting.
A critical learning event may be an incident which: went unusually well; did not happen as planned; was ordinary and typical; captured the essential nature of social work; was particularly demanding; raised conflicts or doubts; caused you to reflect on the nature of social work or your role as a Social Worker.
Note: Students need to be very mindful of the relevant privacy legislation in your state and confidentiality requirements to sufficiently de-identify any material referred to in the report.
Any work you submit may be checked by electronic or other means for the purposes of detecting collusion and/or plagiarism.
You need to address the following in your critical reflection assignment:
– Social work as a profession e.g. values, roles, skills, ethics, code of conduct.
– Social work theory, practice and skills
– Yourself as a social work professional.
– Yourself as a learner
Discuss what aspects of your theoretical assumptions (e.g. about social work, causes of human behaviour, styles of intervention) were reflected and challenged in this incident; and how your learning from this event has changed your thinking and your practice. This analysis needs to demonstrate appropriate use of relevant theory as drawn from social work units of study.
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The Social Work Action Network (SWAN) is a grassroots' organization of social workers, academics, students, social care workers, service users, and carers. SWAN originated in the UK and now has chapters in Ireland, Greece, New Zealand, and Canada. SWAN campaigns and advocates for social work and social workers against neoliberal policies, marketization, and managerialism. It supports an alternative social work that actively promotes radical social work, social justice, and human rights.
We are a group of five Masters of Social Work students who form a remote student unit. We are situated in Victoria, NSW, and Queensland, and are currently on placement from Deakin University, Geelong. Our placement consists of conducting a study as to whether a SWAN group can be initiated in Australia. We are being supervised by our Project Manager and Supervisor John Townsend from the Deakin Social Work School.
In this report, we shall begin with an understanding of the historical and cultural backdrop of the critical incident in question. Next, we shall discuss our critical incident which is the issue of discrimination and obstacles faced by the immigrant communities particularly from third world countries in Australia. In the context of multi-cultural society such as Australia, it is essential that we, as social work practitioners, figure out how and why such immigrants are being marginalized and their legitimate concerns regarding culture trivialized. This will be followed by our analysis of the importance of public opinion and how it affects the cause of immigrants in terms of influencing our perceptions with regard to them. We shall then consider this entire issue in two important theoretical frameworks, i.e. the psychosocial theory and the anti-oppressive practice. We shall see how our theoretical assumptions can sometimes preclude us from better understanding the grassroots' concerns in the field of social work practice. Finally, we shall evaluate whether a SWAN – Australia chapter would be feasible. We shall also outline the probable trajectory and issues that SWAN can take up in Australia.
Before discussing the critical incident, it is important to look into the historical and social background of Australia. Since SWAN is considering spreading its wings in the country, it makes sense to interrogate whether SWAN's approach, practice, and ideology would fit in and enhance the social service sector within Australia.
Let us consider the social composition of contemporary Australian society. Historically, the indigenous peoples of Australia, the Aboriginals, inhabited the continent until European settlers arrived in the 17th century. Ever since then, the country has witnessed successive waves of immigration.
'Since the First Fleet dropped anchor in 1788, close to 10 million settlers have moved from across the world to start a new life in Australia. They have arrived in waves, encouraged by developments like the 1850s gold rushes, or to escape adverse conditions at home such as the Industrial Revolution's social upheavals in 19th-century Britain, the two world wars and the aftermath of the Vietnam War in the 1970s. Collectively, these migrants have helped shape a unique British-based and now multi-cultural society on the perimeter of Asia.' (Australia’s Immigration History n.d.)
Only now, the ethnic profile of the immigrants is no longer restricted to the first world. We see a diverse range of ethnicities ranging from South Asian, Chinese, South-East Asian to African and Middle-eastern. (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2015). Although, over the past couple of years, the immigration criteria have been narrowed down to allow only those who are skilled workers due to fears of over-population. Such attempts by the Australian government, while well-intentioned, happen to have serious consequences for the immigrants. The immigrants could be on the receiving end of hostility from locals due to lack of proper information and public opinion that is coloured by the media. It is in this context that we shall study our critical incident. Immigrants, particularly coming from third world countries, face a lot of issues when they attempt to access social services. Let us see how such a scenario might play out in Australia.