Learning, teaching and assessment of law in social work education

Innovation in learning, teaching and assessment of law in social work education: Introduction

In this section, a number of practical ideas will be presented. They arise both from good practice identified as part of the knowledge review and from subsequent analysis of the data. They are intended as seeds to stimulate educators’ own imagination and innovation in helping social work students learn about the law.

The presentation will follow the same sequence of five key questions that provided the framework for presentation of the data in Section 1

The resources and ideas are intended to support educators in developing content and processes that take into account the findings of the knowledge review on the key dimensions of an effective curriculum, notably:

Dimensions of the curriculum Questions for consideration
Degree of infusion To what degree is law learning integrated with other subject learning? To what degree is learning from practice an integrated part of the overall curriculum and how is law learning reinforced and assessed in placement?
Developmental strategies To what degree is learning cumulative, building through ‘learning to learn’ and ‘learning for practice’ towards final learning goals, with time for consolidation (Kearney, 2003)?
Alignment To what degree does teaching and assessment reflect the evidence that learning is enhanced when students see tasks as relevant to their future professional lives (Braye and Preston Shoot et al, 2005)?
Application To what degree does the curriculum enable students to discuss their experiences of applying the law in practice? How do they learn from their experiences of negotiating conflicting imperatives, practice dilemmas and organisational demands?
Relevance and authenticity How does the curriculum enable social workers in training to consider social work law practice from the perspectives of experts by experience?
Criticality To what extent does the curriculum enable students to engage in critical reflection on the legal framework and its application, as well as with technical knowledge? How are perspectives informed by ethics brought to bear on the legal framework and its application?
Interprofess-ionality To what degree is law learning informed by perspectives from both social work and law, and drawing widely on knowledge from other disciplines?