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A New Pedagogical Approach for Integrating Social Work Students and Service Users

Publiceringsår: 2011
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 948-963
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Social Work Education
Volym: 30
Nummer: 8
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Taylor & Francis


This paper analyses recent experiences at the School of Social Work, Lund University, the first in Sweden to use an innovative pedagogical approach for integrating social service users with social work students in the classroom (an EU-funded project). The concept of gift exchange was used to make sense of the approach. Gift exchange is based on the norm of reciprocity and the principles of gift economy—to give, to receive and to return. As one of the most significant integrative relations, this exchange of gifts and courtesies serves the purpose of keeping balance in the system. The focus in this project was on the relationship between two groups of students: service user students—that is, social service users in the role of students on the course—and social work students. The experience of undertaking this project raised many questions, such as what promotes and what hinders mutual learning between two parties in the classroom. Findings show the relevance of such concepts as the gift economy and the importance of reciprocity in teaching contexts. They played an important role in the process of creating a positive learning climate and understanding the integration of social relations between the two groups.


  • Social Work
  • Gift Economy
  • Service Users
  • Integrative Relations
  • Pedagogical Approach
  • Reciprocity
  • Learning


  • ISSN: 1470-1227

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