Innovative teaching methods in social work education at Birmingham are praised in Guardian article

Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2013

In an article in the Guardian newspaper today (16 October), 'Social work courses: seeking to master professional training', the University of Birmingham's social work education was highlighted for its innovative teaching methods. 

An example was Birmingham's close working relationships with service users – a key plank of recent social-work reforms. In what is seen as a gold standard for other universities, "survivors" – who include care-leavers, users of mental health or drug and alcohol services, people with physical and learning disabilities, and carers – are involved in all aspects of the course, from admissions to roleplay, assessments and presentations at conferences and workshops.

"Dawn River, Admissions Tutor said "We have championed the voice of service users for over two decades and are way ahead of legislation and leading the way in Europe. Some higher education institutions might tick the box on this, but we are completely committed. Our Survivor Arts [programme] allows survivors to share their stories through art and lead workshops."

The use of social media and digital technology is also a standout feature of the course: it is integrated into inquiry-based blended learning to teach child protection. Before starting the course, students are taught about personal and professional boundaries on social media, and are shown how to use it appropriately while recognising its potential for collaborative learning.

Tarsem Singh Cooner, a teaching fellow at Birmingham who is behind the programme , has also developed a social-work app, designed for use by trainees on placement, which students can use to check their knowledge.

Read the full Guardian article 'Social Work courses: seeking to master professional training'