Developing curriculum in China: Training tomorrow’s social workers
WHO: U of M social work professor Tuula Heinonen
WHAT: Heinonen partnered with the University of Tampere in Finland to help the China Women’s University develop graduate-level curriculum in social work. The groups shared their ideas and experiences about the development, restructuring and implementation of this new program, which focuses on the needs of women and families.
THE GOAL: To advance the education of those who will be the future social service providers in many parts of China.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: “China is expanding the number of social work education programs but many educators and researchers have little background in the social work profession, which can be challenging especially for learning about and delivering practice education,” explains Heinonen. “Both in urban and rural China, there are growing needs for social development and work with communities, families, groups and individuals. The gap in income and wealth between urban and rural people has grown and larger cracks in the social fabric have appeared. How is social provisioning for women and families to be provided in such a context?”
THE INSPIRATION: “We are motivated by the commitment and sincere wish to improve masters level education that will help women and families take advantage of opportunities to improve their lives,” Heinonen says. “The students are engaged, energetic and creative. They motivate us to develop a thriving program that builds knowledge and practice skills and at the same time, the profession of social work in China.”
THE IMPACT: “I learned from one student how she was very excited to read about concepts and theories because she wanted to help women whose lives had been marked by conflict and violence,” says Heinonen. “Her goal was to make a difference for women so they could feel more confident and strong.”
FUNDER: The International Association of Schools of Social Work
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