Essentials in professional social work


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Induction Programme (Workshop) conducted for fresh MSW students at Department of Social Work, Amritaouri Campus..

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Essentials in professional social work

  1. 1. Essentials inProfessionalSocial Work WORKSHOP FOR SEMESTER I MSW STUDENTS (BATCH 2011-13) Department of Social Work AMRITAPURI CAMPUS
  2. 2. Facilitator Essentials in Professional Social Work Workshop for Semester I MSW StudentsDr. Renjth R. Pillai, (Batch 2011-13)In-charge,AcademicsThe Dept. Team  Dept. of Social WorkMr. Rajeev M M, AMRITA Vishwa VidyapeethamMr. V S K Kurup, UniversityMr. Anand P K, Amritapuri CampusMs. Surya Krishna, Kollam-690525Mr. Sooraj P S  Prepared by: Mr. Sooraj P S 1
  3. 3. Essentials in Professional Social Work Workshop for Semester I MSW Students (Batch 2011-13)Sl: No Contents Page no 1 Context of the workshop 3 2 Methodology 3 3 The ice-breaker 4 4 The balloon game 5 5 Trust fall game and free listing 6 6 Effective Communication 9 7 Healthy Study Habits 10 8 Time Management 11 9 Social Responsibility 12 10 Importance of Social Support and Stress Management 13 11 The mirror game 14 12 Meditation and breathing exercise 15 13 Outcome of the programme 16 14 Appendix 17 2
  4. 4. Context of the workshopUnder the nurturing shade of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, one of the fastest growinguniversities in India, the Department of Social Work at Amritapuri Campus has grown-up tofind a space among the most prominent centers of Social work learning in Southern India.The enviable progress of the department owes greatly to its convergence with MataAmritanandamayi Math, the world renowned non-governmental organization. In themeantime, the department has brought forth three batches of professional social workerswho spread over various national and international organizations and institutions of higherlearning. By now, the fourth batch (2010-12) has waved to the fresher candidates enrolledfor the 5th batch (2011-13) of MSW program at the department.Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Amrita includes both theoretical and field leveltrainings. The curricula of social work here, foresee the students to be socially sensitive,responsible, empathetic and self-worthy. It is important to inculcate these elementaryqualities among the fresh aspirants right from the beginning of the course. Keeping in mindthis fact, an all-embracing induction program was organized in conjunction with thewelcoming ceremony of the batch MSW 2011-13. The program was held at the CIR room(116) in the university building on 18th August 2011.Dr. Renjith R Pillai, Assistant Professor& Academic in-charge facilitated the program with extensive backing from Mr. Rajeev MM,Vice-Chairperson and Field Work in-charge, and other faculties; Mr. V S K Kurup (Lecturer),Mr. Anand P K (Lecturer), Ms. Surya Krishna (Lecturer) and Mr. Sooraj P S (Field WorkCoordinator).MethodologyGoalTo get the fresher students acquainted among themselves and with the basic themes ofsocial work profession.Objectives • To draw out the primary objectives of social work profession for the new candidates. • To highlight the significance of team work in professional social work. • To introduce important concepts such as empathy, social responsibility, and social support. • To spotlight the importance of time management and healthy study habits for the students.The ProcessThe one-day workshop was comprised of 10 sessions each of them expected to cateroutcomes that are explicit and precise. The sessions included role-plays, games,discussions, work chart preparations, free listing and ice-breakers. The program was basedon a participatory methodology with the facilitator frequently engaged in conversation withthe participants. The ice breaker session at the beginning provided a dynamic ambience forthe rest of the sessions. Periodic slots were given for intervals and revitalizing workouts.Feed backs from the participants were gathered at the end of the day. 3
  5. 5. Session 1: The ice-breakerAimTo get the group members introduced to each other thereby creating an active platform forthe workshop.ProcessDr. Renjith initiated the session calling out for four volunteers from the 32 participants.After much hesitation, 4 volunteers came forward with wobbly movements not knowingwhat to do. Each of them was asked to throw colored soft balls at the fellow participants soas to select their desired group members. Within no time, the volunteers started smashingthe balls and the audience burst into laugh. 4 groups each with 8 members were formedwith the volunteers as team leaders. The groups were asked to sit in circles and acquaintwith each other.Later, the groupleaders disclosedthe names,degrees andfavoritepastimes of eachof the groupmembers.OutcomesThe participantscould know thenames andinterests of theirclassmates andthe strangenessin their mindswas removed toa certain extent.A sense ofbelongingness was developed among the group members. A lighthearted atmosphere,perfect for the running of other sessions was created. 4
  6. 6. Session 2: The balloon gameAimTo highlight the elementary objectives of the social work profession Process Students were made to sit in a large semi-circle. From one end of the semicircle, students were asked to count, not with numbers, but by telling elephant, goat, cat and dog respectively. 4 subgroups were formed, though it was not easy for the members to find their own counterparts. For that, the students had to make the sound of the specified animals loudly and locate the similar sorts. In a little while, theroom became deafening with grunts, rumbles, meows and barks. Once the groups were set,all the participants were given balloons to blow. After, they were told to strike the balloonsup in the air not allowing them to fall down. All the students keenly took care of theirballoons, though a few were unlucky to lose the game with fallen balloons.OutcomesAfter the exercise, a few questions were thrown at the students. They were; • How many of you kept the balloons in the air till the end and how many could not? • How many of you helped the others in the exercise? • How many of you were concentrated only in your own balloons? Most of the students replied they were concerned about their own balloons only. This was illustrative of the trend followed by the contemporary society, wherein the majority finds no time to bother about the poor and the suffering. A few students tried helping others also without being distracted from their own balloons. This precisely showed what is expected from a trained professional social worker; to help others, to have care & concern for the fellow citizens, to work towards the advancement of the downtrodden and lending your hand for the fallen ones so as to retrace their lost lane of life. The primary objective of social work, viz. helping the deprived and underprivileged ones without losing ourselves was thus described to them with this demonstrative example 5
  7. 7. Session3: Trust fall game and free listingAimTo highlight the importance of team work among the studentsProcess7 boys and 7 girls were called out. One volunteer each from boys and girls were put toclimb over two benches. The other 6 members of each group stood in a queue behind themin two parallel rows. The persons in the queue were asked to clasp each other’s handsfirmly, more or less making a cradle. The remaining part was obvious for the onlookers andthey started cheering up the volunteers. The volunteers on the tables were asked to fallfreely to the “hand-cradle” behind them! Five tries were given to the group members. Later, each of the participants were asked to recall a person whom they like the most and reminisce a few good qualities in him/her. Then, they were told to recall another person whom they do not like at all along with the wicked traits in him/her. All the participants were told to pen down the good and bad traits in the chart sheets fixed on the platform. Outcome After the first exercise, the volunteers were called for to share their experiences after their five heroic attempts of free wall. Both of them told that they were scared to fall in the first try. As they fell for the second and third times, a sense of trust was growing towards the ‘cradle-makers’. Once they felt that the group members will hold them up, it was just effortless to plunge into the cradle. When in a team; we experience a sense of confidence,strength, belongingness and optimism, they added. The significance of team work andmutual trust was conveyed candidly with this exercise. As the mood of laughter and gleespread the air, the participants were getting closer to each other and they waited keenly forthe following sessions. 6
  8. 8. In the free listing exercise, students scribbled down the desirable as well as detrimentalqualities of the persons in their lives and the list went long. The facilitator added that it isimportant for every persons,especially those in the field of social work,to establish firm andeffective interpersonal relationships. It is obvious that a person with generally agreeablequalities can make friends easier, establish good affinity with people and work amidstpeople in an acceptable way. Likewise, a person with unwelcome traits may fail to createinterpersonal relationships and go disappointed while working with people. Through thisexercise,the generally agreeable and inacceptable behaviors were listed down by thestudents themselves as follows. This exercise worked as a means for self evaluation andreform above and beyond cataloging the essential and disallowed qualities for a professionalsocial worker. Desirable traits Undesirable traits Supportive nature Short-temperedness Tolerance Laziness Affection Impatience Empathy Telling lies Humor sense Rough behavior Helping nature Criticality Practical thinking Selfishness Determination Arrogance Compassion Teasing behavior Listening skills Disturbing nature Patience Ruthlessness & killing Truthfulness behavior Trust Quarrelling Loving nature Temper tantrums Leadership skills Anger Coordinating skills Cheating behavior Positive regard Irritating nature Calmness Over confidence Good personality Sensitiveness Rational nature Ego complexes Confidence Shouting nature Charismatic character Nail-biting Being understanding Egoism Responsible nature Possessiveness Being passionate Over smartness Ever smiling Autocratic nature Hardworking nature 7
  9. 9. 8
  10. 10. Session 4: Effective CommunicationAimTo demonstrate the importance of effective communicationProcessThree volunteers were asked to tell the names of actors of their choice. South sirensMohanlal, and Mammootty came up instantly along with Govinda, the actor-politician. Theclass was split to three groups with these names respectively and each of the groups wasgiven separate themes to perform on stage. The themes were as follows: • Group Mohanlal: Dilemma of a student who is being fantasized by his/her friends to go for the chartbuster movie recently released in town; on the eve of exam. • Group Mammootty: Plight of a youngster who is being forced by the peers to take a drink. • Group Govinda: the dilemma of a fresh graduate who yearn for joining MSW, but is sandwiched against parent’s pressures to go for MBA or MCA.Each of the groups had to play these themes in three different ways, viz. the aggressiveresponse, assertive response, passive response and their consequent impacts. After a heated discussion for 5 minutes, the groups turned up with their role-plays ready! Outcomes After the role plays, a discussion was carried out by the facilitator on the ideas conveyed by each of the sets of plays. The role plays presented a scenic representation of the ambience created by aggressive, assertive and passive responses.Aggressive reactions resulted in violent behavior, hostility, wretchedness andembarrassment, while passive responses caused submission, remorse and unfavorableconsequences. Assertive and firm reactions yielded dignity, reconciliation, concord andauthority over the situation. Assertive responses foster healthier, long-lasting and trustworthy relationships while other modes of reactions induce frail and unhealthyrelationships. 9
  11. 11. Session 5: Healthy Study HabitsAimTo discuss the different ways to develop healthy learning habitsProcess The participants were divided into three groups and asked to sit as three circles. Every group was given a case vignette containing two instances. The first case was about Krishna, a gifted boy who happens to fail in his exam, whereas the second case was about Raji, a girl who used to forget everything that she learns by-heart. At the end of the vignette, 10 questions were given for the students to be discussed on and presented. Chart papers were provided to every group to point out their vital arguments and opinions.Group leaders presented the nicely highlighted charts at the end of the exercise.OutcomesThe participants pointed out that the given monograph discussed two situations that arefound so common among adolescents nowadays. In the first case, though Krishna wasbrilliant in his studies, he got distracted due to his newly bought Walkman. He startedreading the books with headphones in his ears and thought that he had learned everything.Parent’s supervision was also inadequate. While in the second case, Raji was not at allinterested in her studies. All she did was to replicate the notes and learn them by rote.These two cases were proven ill-habits of students at Schools. The participants came outwith valuable strategies to modify unhealthy study habits. Some of the opinions evolved inthe discussion are given below: • Prioritizing the stuffs to study and allotting ample time to each will reduce the work load. • Adequate parental supervision is essential. • Developing a positive attitude towards learning is important. • Setting small, specific and realistic goals will work. • Study with your heart, not by heart. • Balance work with fun, don’t mix them up. 10
  12. 12. Session 6: Time ManagementAimTo discuss the importance of effective time managementProcessThe class was split to 4 groups with the names of animals of their own choice. Theygrumbled, groaned and creaked to find the analogous pairs and formed their groups. Eachof the groups was given matrix sheets with day and time slots preset on it. The studentswere told to classify their daily chores into social, familial, work-related and personalspheres. The students had to color the matrix with 4 distinct colors so as to show the timethey distribute for each of the 4 spheres.(yellow=social;red=work-related;green=familial;violet=personal).OutcomesThe session provided a means for self-evaluation for all the students. They could analyzeand comprehend the time they devote for each of the 4 important realms in one’s dailyliving. The facilitator told that a rule of one third is considered ideal by the behavioralscientists in this 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work and the remaining 8 hoursequally devoted for familial, personal and social commitments. 11
  13. 13. Session 7: Social ResponsibilityAimTo introduce and discuss the concept of social responsibilityProcessThe groups were given sheets with peculiar shapes drawn on it. The figures were markedwith numbers from 0 to 9. Then, the students were asked to visualize the most severehealth concerns in the region they live and rank their severity in a scale of 10. The healthissues should be written across the parallel lines in the diagram and should be joined eachother using a pencil resulting in a closed loop. They were also made to think of the effortsthey have put to reduce or exterminate it and rank the extent of their efforts in a scale of10. The efforts-loop should be drawn below the distress-loop. Within a while, all theparticipants came out with their distress and effort loops most of them matchlesslycontrasting in sizes.OutcomesThe session was an eye opener for the participants. The diagram illustrated the extent ofthe serious nature of the social issues whilst the efforts taken by the members of thesociety towards resolving it. Firstly, It is the responsibility of the citizens to act against thesocial issues rather than grumbling on the authorities or the governing system. The conceptof social responsibility was thus brought together. 12
  14. 14. Session 8: Importance of Social Support and Stress ManagementAimTo discuss regarding effective stress management and to highlight the relevance of socialsupport in stressful situationsProcessTwo volunteers were called out for. One was told to play a starving lion and the other, atricky goat. The rest of the class stood in a circular wall safeguarding the goat from the lion.The lion walked around the circle, often peeping through the weaker parts of the wall tocatch the goat. Then, all the group members powerfully resisted and the goat also hid onsafer sides of the wall. Later, the roles were interchanged for the goat as well as the lion.OutcomesAfter the exercise, both the lion and the goat were told to share their experiences on theplay. The ‘goat’ told that she felt safe while in the circle, as she knew that there are anumber of friends to protect her. However, as a lion, it was stressful to be alone and fightagainst many. The lion also shared similar experience. He added that while he became thegoat, he was not quite sure about the safety of the wall, at first. Later, a sense of trust andsecurity was developed towards the wall-makers and the play became a fun for him. Thesesharing literally revealed the relevance of social support in combating several stressors indaily life. The primary, secondary and tertiary social support structures lessen the impactsof stress and prevent maladaptive behaviors. 13
  15. 15. Session 9: The mirror gameAimTo introduce the concept of empathyProcessThe class was divided into two groups. The groups stood in two parallel rows facing eachother. At first, each of the students on the right side was told to do some actions as theylike. Members of the other row facing them were told to imitate the actions, just like amirror does. The mirror roles were replaced by others later.OutcomesThe concept of empathy was explained to the audience after the exercise. Empathy, animportant principle and quality for the social workers was more or less a new term forthem. Empathetic participation is similar to what a mirror does. It reflects the mood andpsychological environment of the person before us ie. the client. Empathy is all aboutunderstanding a person by placing ourselves in his or her condition without losingourselves. 14
  16. 16. Session 10: Meditation and breathing exerciseAimTo demonstrate stress relaxation techniques and highlighting its importance in social workpractice.ProcessMr. V S K Kurup explained the significance of de-stressing the body, mind and intellect inorder for their smooth and relentless functioning. He prompted some of the basic steps in‘pranayama’, a proven stress alleviation technique, for the students. He also demonstratedsome of the simple breathing exercises that could be easily practiced by the studentsregularly. Later he discussed the role of stress relaxation techniques in the practice ofprofessional social work, with the students.OutcomesThe students got a basic impression on meditation and its relevance in the realm ofprofessional social work. 15
  17. 17. Outcome of the programmeOpinions and feedbacks were collected from the participants at the end of the session.Some of them are:“The program could make us feel free and we-feeling was evoked within us”.“I felt it was my stepping stone to the field of social work. To convey it in one word, it trulywas aninfotainment program”.“The workshop made us come out of the shell we were in and made us do introspection onourselves”.“An excellent kick start for my course in social work”“The role play on types of communication was too good”“Energizing and refreshing session, I felt that the faculties are extremely supportive”.“What I liked the most was the friendly attitude of the teachers here”.“The session on pranayama and meditation was quite useful”“I felt like the clock ran so fast this day”“Feeling proud to be a part of Amrita”“I felt the session was so intensive and little bit exhausting”“Thank you sir, for this wonderful day”“I am so happy today, because I feel that I have made my choice right”“After this day, I feel I have become a more socially responsible person”.“I could understand myself through this programme”. 16
  18. 18. APPENDIX I*Adapted from the Stress Management Workbook, Dept. of Psychiatric Social Work, NIMHANS, Bangalore 17
  19. 19. APPENDIX II*Adapted from: Psycho-social support for children in disasters Workbook, Dept. of Psychiatric Social Work,NIMHANS, Bangalore 18
  20. 20. APPENDIX III SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY CHART COLLEGE*Adapted from: Life-Skill Education Workbook, Dept. of Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Bangalore 19