October 9, 2019 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Dr. Laura Béres, Associate Professor in King’s School of Social Work, collaborated with five alumni to produce a new book, Learning Critical Reflection – Experiences of the Transformative Learning Process, published by Routledge.

The alumni involved in the project were:

  • Tonya Salomons, Honors Bachelor of Social Work ’16, Masters of Social Work ‘17
  • Nate Meidinger, Honors Bachelor of Social Work ’16, Masters of Social Work ‘17
  • Rebecca Donati, Honors Bachelor of Social Work ’16, Masters of Social Work ‘17
  • Jackie Schindler, Honors Bachelor of Social Work ’15, Masters of Social Work ‘18
  • Ashley Elsie-McKendrick, Honors Bachelor of Social Work ’11, Masters of Social Work ‘17

The learning experiences of the Social Work alumni are documented in the book, which explores the process of learning the theory and process of a particular model of critical reflection. This model uses various theoretical lenses to deconstruct incidents that have occurred in professional practice in order to develop “practice-based” evidence and further develop ethical and socially just practice theory.  There is also a discussion of the process of learning how to teach the theory and practice of this particular model of Critical Reflection to graduate students and to colleagues in agency settings.

The book has already received acclaim from Ken Moffatt, Professor, School of Social Work and Jack Layton Chair, Faculty of Community Services and Faculty of Arts, Ryerson University, who called it “a compelling and heartfelt collection of essays that discuss the latest developments in teaching reflective practice.”

“The unique contribution of this book lies in its focus on exploring how people experience the process of critical reflection. It will be enormously helpful to anyone trying to understand how to help themselves, and their colleagues, be critically reflective,” said Stephen Brookfield, Distinguished University Professor and John Ireland Endowed Chair, University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis-St. Paul.

During the 2016-2017 academic year, Dr. Béres taught SW 9807A/B: Critical Reflection and Appraisal of Social Work Practice. It was the first time Dr. Jan Fook, who developed the Critical Reflection on Practice model, was aware that this particular model had been taught over a 13-week course, rather than a series of agency-based workshops.

This led to having those students involved in the course complete pre- and post-course questionnaires about their thoughts on Critical Reflection, and weekly class questionnaires on the learning process. At the same time, Dr. Béres wrote her own critical reflections on teaching the course.

“Many of the final papers written by students in the course seemed worthy of publication. With students’ permission, I forwarded some to Jan Fook and we decided we had the basis of a good book,” says Dr. Béres. Other chapters were contributed by experts in the field from Australia and England with experience in learning about Critical Reflection that Dr. Fook knew. Dr. Béres contributed a separate chapter from her experience in teaching Critical Reflection, and Dr. Béres and Dr. Fook co-wrote chapters regarding the theory and process of critical reflection as well as the chapter reporting on the findings from researching the learning process of critical reflection.

Dr. Béres had worked with Dr. Fook previously, as Dr. Fook served as a series editor for Dr. Béres’ previous two books The Narrative Practitioner and an edited collection Practicing Spirituality. In addition to taking on the role of MSW Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Béres will be teaching two sections of Critical Reflection this term, and Narrative Therapy elective (SW 9815B) next term.

Learning Critical Reflection: Experiences of the Transformative Learning Process can be purchased at https://www.amazon.ca/Learning-Critical-Reflection-Experiences-Transformative/dp/1138491306/