Envisioning a curriculum of social empathy and solidarity in social work education
Templer, Bill, (2008) Envisioning a curriculum of social empathy and solidarity in social work education. Malaysian Journal of Social Administration, 5 (Special Issue). pp. 73-93. ISSN 1675-3925
University of Malaya, Faculty of Education
The paper is programmatic. It explores a possible approach to teaching 'empathy with ordinary people,' building respect for their dignity, mutual solidarity. It suggests this can be inventively included as a transformative component in social work curricula in Malaysia and abroad. Centering on the technique of 'interior monologue' writing as a tool for building a curriculum of engaged social empathy, five theses are developed, (1) the need for underscoring respect for working-class, vernacular life worlds, (2) the imperative to indigenize and 'decolonize' social work education and practice, (3) concrete suggestions for forging a dynamic curriculum of social empathy and solidarity, (4) the value of elaborating a special focus on 'disability' within a social empathy pedagogy, and (5), observations on why grounding social work pedagogy on a perspective of class analysis is important. The author is an educator from the field of teaching English as a global language, and seeks to apply insights from techniques of 'interior monologue' writing developed in the collective Rethinking Schools to challenges in generating new paradigms for social work education, especially in contexts of the Global South and the planet's 'social majorities.
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