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TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY – CENTRAL TEXAS
SOCIAL WORK PROGRAM
SWK 300 110, Methods and Skills of Interviewing
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM, Room 304 Founder’s Hall
I. COURSE DESCRIPTION
Catalog Description: This pre-practice course will introduce students to the Generalist Social Work Practice Model. Beginning social work skills introduced include the principles of conducting a helping interview, initial client contacts, attending and listening, empathetic responses, exploration and elaboration, questioning, gaining cooperation, self-disclosure, and termination. Issues of problem-solving with diverse populations and persons from different cultural backgrounds as well as ethical issues of helping relationships are explored.
Prerequisites: Completion of or concurrent enrollment in SWKK 308 (Introduction to Social Work). For students who enrolled at TAMU-CT BEFORE Fall 2011 (or articulation students who completed the associates degree in social work at CTC), SWK 208 taken at Central Texas College can be accepted.
II. NATURE OF COURSE
This course will cover basic skills of helping individuals and families in the context of generalist social work practice. Dual emphasis will be placed on (1) the knowledge base of these skills and (2) the performance of these skills. The course will assist the student in determining their desire to enter the field of social work and prepare students for further educational experiences at the university and in the social work program.
Generalist social work practice is a holistic approach that provides the practitioner with the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in a change process with a client. This course will particularly focus on the micro practice methods, working with individuals and families. Generalist social work incorporates knowledge that is transferable, empowers individuals, utilizes a variety of intervention strategies, analyzes development across the life span, evaluates the impact of social policies, and serves populations at risk. Generalist social work practice incorporates values that reflect the social worker’s professional code of ethics, which demands social responsibility and respect for diverse value systems as well as a commitment to continued, ongoing professional development.
Teaching Method: The primary teaching approach in this course will be collaborative and active learning. Material in the course will be presented through class discussions, videotapes, and role-playing.
The Social Work Program at Texas A&M University – Central Texas prepares its graduates for leadership and professional generalist practice by integrating social work values, skills, and knowledge through an emphasis on excellence. Responsive to the needs of Central Texas and to the State of Texas, the Social Work Program delivers a broad-based liberal arts education that is sensitive to vulnerable, oppressed, and at-risk populations. The Baccalaureate of Social Work degree enables students to achieve successful careers and become responsible citizens.
IV. COURSE OBJECTIVES
Consistent with the ten core competencies established by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) (see below), there are six primary objectives for this course:
A. Students will understand the foundation of social work practice, including key themes in the social work process, the systems perspective, problem-solving processes, and client-worker relationships. Students will understand the sources and impact of authority within social work practice, including mandates that come from clients, the profession, and the employing agency. Students will also understand the professional duties of a social worker. They will learn what it means to identify as a professional social worker and to apply critical thinking to inform and communicate their professional judgment. They will focus on skills that enable them to engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate clients. They will understand how the social work Code of Ethics influences all of their practice. This objective will be evaluated through class discussions and role-playing, examinations and quizzes, written assignments, and the videotaped interview project.
B. Students will develop basic professional skills related to communication (both verbal and non-verbal, oral and written) and interviewing. Students will understand types of modifications that can be made when communicating with culturally diverse clients and will understand how the use of critical thinking helps them carry out effective communication with clients. They will understand the role communication plays in their ability to engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate clients. They will understand how the social work Code of Ethics influences all of these things. This objective will be evaluated through class discussions and role-playing, examinations and quizzes, written assignments, and the videotaped interview project.
C. Students will develop a basic understanding of the stages of generalist social work processes, data collection and assessment, service agreements, strategies for working with clients, and techniques for evaluating and terminating social work practice. They will understand what is unique about the ways in which social workers address these strategies, compared with other types of human service professionals. They will understand how to apply critical thinking to these tasks. They will learn how these stages of social work processes vary depending on the cultural diversity of clients. They will learn how these processes are carried out by social workers with a focus on issues of advancing human rights and social and economic justice. They will learn how staying informed regarding current social work research helps inform their practice strategies. They will learn how knowledge of human behavior and the social environment is key to effective work with clients. They will learn how the context of the agency in which they work shapes the practice strategies they use with clients. They will understand how the social work Code of Ethics influences all of these things. This objective will be evaluated through class discussions and role-playing, examinations and quizzes, written assignments, and the videotaped interview project.
D. Students will develop a basic understanding of the professional use of self and the use of professional supervision. Students will develop the ability to critically evaluate their own practice as well as practice skills of fellow students. They will use these to further their identity as a professional social worker and how they should conduct themselves. They will understand how the social work Code of Ethics influences all of these skills. This objective will be evaluated through class discussions and role-playing, examinations and quizzes, written assignments, and the videotaped interview project.
E. Students will demonstrate educational growth at the university and program level, and will demonstrate self- reflection and self-analysis through the process of determining if they want to pursue a degree in social work. This will add to their identity as a professional social worker. This objective will be evaluated through class discussions and role-playing, examinations and quizzes, written assignments, the students’ Personal Statement of Social Work Philosophy papers, and the videotaped interview project.
F. Students will understand that social work is a life-long learning process and that multiple intelligences and their individual personality, strengths, and goals will enhance the quality and variety of their professional practice skills. This will enhance their identity as a professional social worker. This objective will be evaluated through class discussions and the students’ Personal Statement of Social Work Philosophy papers.
V. CSWE CORE COMPETENCIES FOR EFFECTIVE SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
Each course in the social work program is designed to help students master the ten core competencies established by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) as measures of effective social work practice. The following table relates these ten core competencies to the specific learning objectives for this course.
VI. COURSE REQUIREMENTS
Murphy, Bianca C.; and Carolyn Dillon (2011). Interviewing in Action in a Multicultural World (4th Edition). Belmont: Brooks/Cole.
Texas A&M University – Central Texas Social Work Program (2010). The Social Work Program Student Handbook (for social work majors only). Handbook is distributed to students when they attend the new social work student orientation the first Friday after classes start.
B. FINAL GRADES
A total of 10,000 points can be earned from the course assignments, as follows:
Points and Corresponding Grades for individual assignments are based on the following:
A+: 100 points A: 95 points A-: 90 points
B+: 88 points B: 85 points B-: 80 points
C+: 78 points C: 75 points C-: 70 points
D+: 68 points D: 65 points D-: 60 points F – 59 points or less
Example: A test worth 15% of the grade, on which a student earned a B+, would give 1,320 points toward the final grade (88 x 15 = 1,320).
Final Class Grades are based on the following:
A: 90 to 100 (9,000 to 10,000 points)
B: 89 to 80 (8,900 to 8,000 points)
C: 79 to 70 (7,900 to 7,000 points)
D: 69 to 60 (6,900 to 6,000 points)
F: 59 or less (5,900 points or less)
C. COURSE ASSIGNMENTS
The following activities will be completed during the semester.
1. Exams: 40% of final grade (3 exams total)
There will be three tests given in this course, at the end of each major section of the course. See the Course Schedule in this syllabus for test dates. Tests can include multiple choice, true-false, matching, and short essay questions. The final exam will also include some questions meant to integrate the subject matter of the entire course. The tests can include any of the course content, including class discussions, reading assignments, handouts from the professor, and videotapes. Students will be allowed to bring two 3x5 index cards with handwritten (NOT computer generated) notes to use during the exams; no other materials can be used during testing. The two index cards are the only material these notes can be put on; notes written on a sheet of paper are not allowed.
In an emergency that keeps a student from being able to attend class on the day a test is given, the student is responsible for contacting the professor in advance to see what arrangements, if any, can be made to make up the test. Note: Under no circumstances will a make-up test be given to any student after the date on which the graded tests are returned to the students in the class.
2. In class quizzes (10% of final grade)
Many of the class periods will include a quiz to help students solidify their understanding of the course material and learn how to apply it. The quiz may be given at the beginning of class, after watching a videotape, or some may be given at the end of class. Some may be given as take-home quizzes, in which case the quiz is due at the beginning of the next regularly scheduled class period. For quizzes given during class, there will be no make-up quizzes given; students who arrive at class late or who are absent will not be able to make up the quiz and will receive a zero for that quiz. If the quiz is given as a take-home assignment, a student who misses class will be allowed to submit a make-up quiz; however, it is the student’s responsibility to pick up the quiz from Dr. Rappaport and turn it in by the class period in which it is due (typically the next scheduled class period). If the student does not do this, then a make-up quiz will not be accepted. DO NOT ASK FOR A COPY OF THE QUIZ AFTER STUDENTS HAVE ALREADY TURNED IT IN!
At the end of the course, the student’s average numerical grade on all quizzes (including any zeros) will represent 10% of their final grade. Each student will have one quiz grade (the lowest one) dropped by the professor; if you only missed a single class during the semester, that zero will not impact your average quiz grade. Quizzes are not pre-announced, so students should come to every class prepared for the possibility of having a quiz.
3. Videotaped Interview and Self-Analysis: 15% and 15% of final grade (30% total)
Each student will complete a videotaped interview with a classmate acting as “client”. Students will be assigned in pairs; for one videotape, one student is the client. For the other videotape, the other student is the client, so each member of the team has a chance to be the social worker for purposes of the videotapes. The interview needs to last at least 12 minutes. Students will be given their client case scenario when they come to do the interview, and they will be given 5 minutes to talk together about the scenario before the videotaping begins. The “social worker” student will focus on implementing the communication, interviewing, and social work process guidelines that have been learned in the class. In each case scenario, the “social worker” will be meeting with the “client” for the first time, conducting an assessment interview. THE ENTIRE 12 MINUTES MUST FOCUS ENTIRELY ON ASSESSING THE CLIENT’S SITUATION; NO ADVICE-GIVING, INTERVENTIONS, OR ATTEMPTS TO SOLVE THE CLIENT’S PROBLEMS CAN OCCUR. STUDENTS WHOSE INTERVIEWS INCLUDE PROBLEM-SOLVING EFFORTS WILL HAVE THEIR GRADE DEDUCTED FOR THIS. Students are encouraged to practice interviewing their partner as much as possible before the day of the videotaping.
After completing the taping, each student will view his/her own taped interview, will write a COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT of everything (word for word) that was said/done during the interview, and in a second column will include comments that reflect a self-analysis of how well they think they did during the interview and things they feel might have been more effective. Be sure the comments you make align correctly with what was said in the interview on which your comments are based. It is suggested that students write this paper by creating a table with 2 columns and as many rows as you need to cover each time the social work student says something and the “client” responds. At the end of the paper, after your comments on the videotape transcript, you also need to write a paragraph summarizing what you viewed as your overall strengths in the interview and what you think you need to continue working on improving with regard to your interviewing skills. PAPERS MUST BE DOUBLE SPACED IN THEIR ENTIRETY; SINGLE SPACED PAPERS WILL NOT BE GRADED. See the attached example of a small part of a self-analysis paper for a sample of how this should be written. Students must bring a DVD mini-disk for the taping (see copy of the package of the correct kind of disk to buy at the end of this syllabus). A particular day and times are being set aside to do the videotaping at the university using equipment here, and students will sign up for the videotaping time they want. These are the only day/times on which videotaping will occur. A student who does not show up to do their videotape will receive a grade of 0 (zero) for this portion of the course. The professor will give each student written feedback about their videotaped interview, using the transcript provided by the student. This syllabus contains the form that will be used to provide feedback.
Grading of the videotaped interviews will have two aspects. 15% of the student’s grade for the course will be based on how well the student has learned and is able to use guidelines for interviewing learned in class. See the attached grading rubric to see how this portion will be graded; be sure and review this before you do your videotaped interview and again before you do your written self-analysis of your interview so you will remember the kinds of things we are expecting you to demonstrate during your interview. 15% of the student’s grade for the course will be based on the quality of the student’s self-analysis of the tape. Thus, if the student makes a mistake during the interview (for example, constantly asking closed-ended yes/no questions), this will have less impact on the grade if the student’s self-analysis shows recognition of this weakness and includes suggestions for more effective ways the questions could have been asked/interactions could have been handled.
4. Personal Statement of Social Work Philosophy paper (10% of grade)
Each student will write their personal social work philosophy statement, which is part of the students’ application to the social work major. Papers must be typed and double-spaced. The following is an outline of what to include in your paper:
Personal Statement of SW Philosophy
Personal and Philosophical Perspectives
Note: On your Personal Statement of Social Work Philosophy paper, 25% of the grade will be based on the style of your writing – i.e., on correct spelling, composition, punctuation and grammar. The other 75% of the grade will be on content of the written assignment. Social workers do a great deal of writing; it is essential that you develop professional, clear patterns of written communication since it will affect your professional reputation. All writing errors in your paper will be corrected by the professor, and you need to study those corrections after the paper is returned so you will understand what kinds of errors you tend to make and you can avoid making the same mistakes in subsequent papers. Your score on this 25% of the grade will depend on how many writing errors you made. If you do not understand some of the corrections that are made in your papers, ask the professor about them.
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