Description of the method
This educational approach is used in classes by a lecturer from the University of Gdansk, Dr. Marcin Boryczko, during teaching human rights in the context of social work. In particular, three methods of teaching have proved fruitful among his students.
Action research, based on the following activities to be undertaken successively by students:
- Select a social group, a group of people (possibly a person) whose human rights have been restricted, violated or denied;
- Describe the situation of this group through micro, meso and macro level analysis. While doing so, consider: In what sense are their human rights violated? What rights have been violated?
- Then, try to answer these questions: What should be done to change the situation of this group? What goals should be pursued? Are these goals consistent with international documents defining the protection of human rights? Do the objectives comply with Polish law? What kind of limitations stand in the way of realising the goals formulated in this way?
- When planning the intervention modalities, the student should consider the following suggestions/additional questions:
- We usually deal with multiple issues of human rights violations in one case. Which issues and objectives do you consider to be priorities?
- How can you respond in this particular situation as a social worker based on human rights?
- Plan a real (can be virtual) action that aims to achieve the goals you have set for yourself in relation to tackling human rights violations.
Based on the above, the student should prepare a paper/presentation consisting of the following elements:
- description of the strategy of action,
- explanation how the action was performed,
- presentation of documentation of the action,
- description of effects.
Case study analysis (Multi-Level):
In this assignment, the student is given a case description of a situation of a person with social problems or of a situation related to the whole community. In relation to this case, the student is asked to reflect on how to intervene in this situation and to describe his/her conclusions by answering the questions:
- What human rights issues were raised in this case study?
- How would you respond as a social worker who works in a social care centre?
Writing an essay based on a critical reflection method:
The aim of this assignment is to produce and apply professional knowledge based on the analysis of a critical incident that occurred during a student's internship or the professional work of those participating in the course. While working on their assigned essay, students are asked to explore their preconceptions about educational knowledge and social work practices through critical thinking. This type of thinking is one of the more highly valued competences in this field of education, which aims, among other things, to promote human rights or ideas of social justice (Havig, 2013).
This work is based on a model of critical deconstruction of experience (based on Jan Fook, 2002, “Critical Deconstruction and Reconstruction”, p. 96) consisting of four stages:
- Critical deconstruction, or the search for contradictions, diverse perspectives and interpretations;
- Resistance, consisting of a refusal to accept and participate in various aspects of dominant discourses that disempower people and sometimes make the situation hopeless;
- The challenge of identifying in defining the existence and operation of hidden, mystified or preconceived discourses;
- Reconstruction, based on the formulation of a new discourse, leading to narrative as well as structural change.