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Critical Thinking and Professional Judgement for Social Work

Critical Thinking and Professional Judgement for Social Work

Fourth Edition

October 2015 | 104 pages | Learning Matters

Critical thinking as a process can appear formal and academic, far removed from everyday life where decisions have to be taken quickly in less than ideal conditions. However, now more than ever, it is seen as a vital part of social work, and indeed any healthcare and leadership practice within the current agenda for integration, and in the post Francis inquiry health care context.

This Fourth Edition now reflects this wider arena, but also includes new material in response to the continuing review of social work professional standards. It continues to take a pragmatic look at the range of ideas associated with critical thinking, focusing on learning and development for practice. The chapter on professional judgement has been extended to provide a wider discussion on practical reasoning and judgement in relation to developing expertise, while other chapters and reading lists have also been updated, and activities revised to enhance learning.

The authors continue to emphasise the importance of sound, moral judgement based on critical thinking and practical reasoning; while also acknowledging the tensions for staff and teams facing complex, uncertain situations and sometimes oppressive workplace cultures. Their hope is that increased and informed attention to your thinking can help nurture wise deliberation and action in such challenging times.

Who is this book for and how can it help?
Critical thinking: some general principles
Professional judgement
Using knowledge in practice
Critical reflection
Writing reflective academic assignments
Developing critical practice
Continuing learning – a critical approach

This is a terrific little text that outlines the importance of critical reflection and gives some really good advice about writing. Short and easy to read, this book has been recommended to social work practitioners undertaking postgraduate qualification alongside their full-time work commitments.

Dr Robert J Hagan
Department of Sociology & Applied Social Studies, University of Ulster
July 22, 2016

Critical thinking is the area of practice that most of my students have difficulty with. This book is accessible to them, and provides clear definitions, explains them, and provides practical suggestions on improving this vital skill.

Mr Dave Mason
Faculty of Health Sciences, Staffordshire University
July 12, 2016

As someone who teaches ASYE modules, this books has provided practical and theoretical support for a number of qualified workers.

The book is very easy to navigate and sets out the basic principles of critical thinking in language accessible to social workers. An excellent choice for any practitioner.

Mr Sean Brockbank
Faculty of Health, Social Work & Educ, Northumbria University
June 8, 2016

A very good resource with some very well presented,accessible and useful examples in relation to key concepts explored to help students with previous social work experience to develop critical thinking skills.It provides a rich resource for continuous professional development. The series of examples presented are very helpful for students seeking tools to help them be more critical in their academic work.

Perhaps a wider range of formats might have been used to present some of the material, inspire creativity and to suit a wider range of learning styles especially given the target audience of those with more practice experience but perhaps less confidence in their academic writing skills. More attention might also have been given to critical thinking and presentation of ideas within the interprofessional context of practice.

Mr Jasper Louis Shotts
Hull School of Health & Social Care, Lincoln University
October 16, 2015

A very useful addition to any aspect of a social work programme focussing on development of core skills of reflective practice.

Ms Karen Hillison
Department of Social Work, Hull University
October 13, 2015

I've found this book an excellent guide for developing critical thinking and writing for best interests since the first edition. Each revision really improves on the last!

Mrs Rachel Hubbard
School of Health and Life Sciences , University of the West Of England
September 3, 2015

An excellent book to ensure that students get the message about not only how to make decisions but also how to frame their thinking in the process of making those decisions and moreover the impact of not making decisions.
The book really assists in the delivery of a very theoretical subject matter in a way that makes sense to younger students learning such a vital part of their course.

Mrs Eileen Mc Partland
Childcare Management, Liberties College
August 26, 2015

This book offers a comprehensive and compact framework that assists postgraduate students understand the complexities of critical thinking in social work practice. It is also most useful for practitioners reflecting on sensitive issues in every-day practice and offers a valuable guideline for informed decisions regarding the scope and development of professional judgment. The exercises (activities) proved most useful in facilitating dialogue for developing a deeper understanding of professional learning.

Ms Sharon du Plessis-Schneider
Department Sozial- und Organisationswissenschaften, University of Applied Science Vorarlberg
August 26, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2: Critical thinking: some general principles

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ISBN: 9781473919198

ISBN: 9781473919181