Social Work Methods III

November 2, 2004

Social Work Methods III

Instructor Marie L. Watkins, Ph.D., ACSW, CSW
(585) 394-2752
Office Hours Tuesday and Thursday, 11:00 12:00 p.m., or by appointment
Smyth Hall, Room 22


Social Work practice includes the range of direct social work intervention with individuals, families, small groups, and communities. In the practice sequence, the student will be provided an opportunity to develop knowledge of the principles, values, and methods of social work. Foundation content in this area includes the knowledge base (theory, research, practice wisdom) for and application of the process of professional practice; exploration and data gathering for understanding, differential assessment for differential understanding, intervention, and evaluation as these apply to the total range of practice. Emphasis is placed on the acquisition of knowledge and development of skills consistent with the demands of entry level professional practice.

Specifically, the practice sequence attempts to enable the student to:

1. Achieve an understanding of the different roles played by the social worker, the setting in which social work is practiced, and the methods employed by the social worker in providing social services.

2. Develop awareness of social work as a distinctive professional group, and an understanding of how the responsibilities and functions of social workers differ from and are related to the responsibilities and functions of other human service professionals.

3. Develop an understanding of the major theoretical concepts and practice principles, as well as the basic values associated with them.

4. Acquire skills necessary to intervene with various sizes and types of systems.

5. Develop a capacity to use resources, supervision, and consultation effectively.

6. Achieve an understanding of the necessity for self evaluation, as well as evaluation of the availability and effectiveness of social resources and services.

To achieve these objectives, curriculum in the practice sequence is distributed between three courses: Methods 1, which is taken concurrently with Field Instruction I in the first semester of the junior year; Methods II, which is taken concurrently with Field Instruction 11 in the spring semester of the junior year; and Methods 111, which is taken in the fall semester of the senior year. The generalist approach to social work practice permeates the Methods sequence.

Methods III

Methods III builds upon the social work knowledge, values, and skills learned in Methods I and 11. The focus of this course is on both direct intervention skills, as well as strategies and techniques used to intervene in public issues and communities. The students will review the process of intervention as a total problem solving system, and expand their skills in the helping relationship by increasing their understanding of the role of indirect intervention with the client, target, and related action systems. A service learning component is incorporated into the course activities to provide experiential learning activities that will provide a valuable service to the community. Reflection assignments will guide the students’ process of self awareness and integration of theory with practice.

Practice content also includes approaches to and skills for practice with clients from differing social, cultural, racial, religious, spiritual, and class backgrounds, and with systems of all sizes.

Course Objectives

1. To deepen students’ knowledge of generalist social work practice.

2. To broaden the student’s view of social work practice to include an awareness of the larger social context of individual problems encountered in practice.

3. To broaden and deepen the student’s skills in direct and indirect intervention.

4. To analyze and demonstrate the various roles used by the social worker as an advocate, a mobilizer of services to meet unmet community needs, and a mediator in helping clients to negotiate larger systems.

5. To facilitate skill development in analyzing social issues and utilizing social work practice principles in intervening with organizations and community systems.

6. To help students develop a capacity to use resources, supervision, and consultation effectively.

7. To provide opportunity for learning linkages with content in other courses.

8. To understand and demonstrate problem solving skills as applied for intervention at the organization, community, and societal levels.

9. To be able to identify different models of macro terminology and techniques used in contemporary macro practice through the service learning project.

10. To demonstrate an understanding and ability to critically analyze the impact of different forms of oppression upon an appreciation of diversity, social and economic justice, and populations at risk.

11. To demonstrate an awareness of self and willingness to be reflective of one’s practice style related to working in groups, in new environments, and in situations of change and collaboration.

Course Texts

1. Netting, E., Kettner, P., & McMurty, S. Social Work Macro Practice. New York: Longman (1998).

2. Westerfelt, A., & Dietz, T.J., Planning and Conducting Agency Based Research, New York: Longman (1997).

3. Alexie, S. Reservation Blues. NY: Warner Books (1996).

4. Johnson, S. Who Moved My Cheese? NY: Putnam (1998).

5. Loeb, P. Soul of a Citizen. NY: St. Martin’s Griffin (1999)

Course Assignments

1. Reading Reflections: 4 reading reflections based upon the texts: 40% of grade # I due on 9/10; 42 due on 10/ 1; #3 due on 11 /7; #4 due on 11/21

2. Personal Reflection of the service learning project: 20% of grade due on 12/3

3. Service Learning Group Project Final Report: 40% of grade due on 12/10



Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley: Ms. Patty Hayes, MDiv
St. Joseph’s Villa: Ms. Marie Viavattine, MSW
Nazareth College Diversity Awareness, Dr. Watkins and Erin Dwyer O’Neil

Plain and simple, Methods III is a practice course. Therefore, the opportunity for students to have “hands on” relevant experiential opportunities to gain knowledge, skills, and values related to social work generalist practice with communities and organizations is vital to students’ professional understanding and development. Service learning experiences are designed in collaboration with the agency partners to “bring real life” to course objectives. The service learning experiences are planned to provide students, as well as the partnership agencies, with a meaningful connection to achieve student learning objectives in a manner that responds to a need in the community identified by the agency mentor.

“Go to the people, live among them, learn ftom them, love them.
Start with what they know, build on what they have:

But of the best leaders, when their task is accomplished and their work is done,
The people remark: We have done it ourselves.”

The above quote guides the mindset of thinking within the service learning projects. Students will learn to “go” to the community and learn from them. Students will also develop skills to “start with what they know” and will learn methods to seek data from the community members. Based upon the clearly articulated direction provided in the Westerfelt and Dietz text, students will become more informed about the scholarship related to their topic, and the “how to’s” to (1) develop a research question, (2) collect and analyze data, (3) prepare a report that includes findings and recommendations, and (4) present their findings at a large group activity.

There are three service learning projects: (1) a diversity awareness initiative on campus; (2) after school recreation investigation for kids identified as “emotionally disturbed” and the needs of staff who conduct programs with the children; (3) needs assessment for Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley. Students are to choose one project. For most effective use of “people power,” it is most prudent to have no more than six persons per group. One group will have seven group members.

As a result of the SANX483 Macro Service Learning Projects, students will have had the opportunity to:

Enhance knowledge:
Integrate theoretical concepts of macro social work with practice skills;
Increase their knowledge of systemic assets and barriers that impact service delivery;
Integrate their readings from the Netting/McMurty text into the community-based practice experience.
Increase skills:

Be introduced to qualitative research methods;
Be introduced to macro practice skills related to needs assessment, literature review, data collection, data analysis, report of findings and advocacy;
Develop and refine focus group facilitation and interviewing skills;
Refine oral and written presentation skills with increased use of professional social work language;

Publish or present their experiences in a relevant journal or conference with Dr. Watkins and agency mentors.
Clarify attitudes and values.
Identify and clarify thoughts, feelings and beliefs about the research topic;
Identify and clarify thoughts, feelings and beliefs about the task group process and the manner that personal development and self awareness is impacted;
Demonstrate an understanding of (1) social and economic injustice, (2) the impact of dominant societal values upon service delivery to oppressed populations.


Thursday in-class task group activities
Forty five minutes of class time on Thursday is designated for task group meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to provide students with the hands on opportunity to learn group work skills within a task centered group. A secondary purpose is to provide students with the actual methods/practice experience of participation in committee membership, group planning, facilitating and recording group meetings, and project organizational skills. In addition to the task completion, we will draw upon the information learned in the Loeb and Spencer texts.

Required action steps include:

1. Develop a schedule for rotation of weekly facilitator and record keeper for the entire semester. Distribute this rotation schedule to group members and Dr. Watkins.

2. The facilitator for the week is responsible for the development/distribution of the weekly agenda sent out prior to the meeting, as well as facilitation of the meeting. The record keeper is responsible for recording/distribution of the weekly minutes of the meetings. Minutes of meetings must be emailed to all committee members, agency mentors, and Dr. Watkins by Friday of each week. It is important that all committee members be “on the same page,” and therefore the weekly minutes will serve as a communication as well as a record keeping tool.

3. Within the agenda and meeting minutes, include discussions of action steps completed, action steps to be completed, tasks to be delegated, agenda items to discuss with the agency mentor, agenda items to be discussed with Dr. Watkins (who will serve as a consultant to the task group).

4. Save all agendas and minutes of meetings for purpose of final review.

5. Invite agency mentors to at least one of the in class task meetings (sooner rather than later).

Out of class activities

1 . Based upon the discretion of the group, group members will detennine how to best use “out of class time.” The use of out of class time will be reflected in the group discussion/agenda and minutes of the next week.

2. At least one meeting with the agency mentors will take place at the site of the agency.

3. Dissemination of the result of the in-class layout of class activities As a result of the in class group meetings and the out of class activities, a final report will be complied. The result of the project will also be disseminated via a class presentation. (For more details, see the dissemination component listed in the section describing project methodology.)

Project Implementation

0. Data gathering: related to theproject and the target population

1. Review of the literature: Have information summarized to share information with group members. Be sure the articles speak to issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other issues related to oppressed populations. See Westerfelt and Dietz, as well as page 6 of SWK483 syllabus for more directions.

2. Contact with external experts and resources: The review of the literature will provide you with a “glimpse” into the scholarship about your topic. At the same time, it is important to gather information on a national, state, regional, and local level to inform you of other institutions’ responses to your topic area. While the Internet is a great resource, it is important that the HUMAN contact is not lost; therefore, it is important to discuss your topic with experts. At least one resource needs to be a faceto face discussion with a service provider. My telephone is available for longdistance phone calls related to the service learning project.

3. Contact with internal eVerts: To gain the perspective of the “insider” or service recipient, interviews and focus group with service recipient will be conducted.

Data compilation and data analysis: Use Westerfelt and Dietz as your guide.

Keep all raw data! Articles, recording of interviews, focus group meeting minutes are to be included in the final report.

Upon completion of the data collection, compilation, and analysis phases, the findings of your methodology are written to document the results of your research/needs assessment process. Use Westerfelt and Dietz as your guide.


Group Paper
A 6-8 page bound paper (or whatever it takes, but no less than 6 pages; size 12 font) that includes the following (use headings please, and incorporate these topics with the outline on page 182 in Westerfelt and Dietz):

1. Title page with the names of the group members, the agency mentor, the collaborating agency, and the topic researched.

2. An introductory page/abstract that explains what will be discussed in the paper and the organization of the paper.

3. Problem statement: A discussion of the needs of the targeted population that is not being met based upon your review of the literature, your contact with external and internal experts. What are the major community issues that impact/hinder/ present barriers to services being delivered? Where are the gaps in services on a national, state, and local level? Incorporate your review of the literature here. Be sure to cite your sources.

4. The remainder of the fon nal research report follows the outline on page 182 in Westerfelt and Dietz.

5. Reflections of lessons learned:

As a group, review your logic model planning sheet, your weekly agendas, and the weekly minutes of the meetings (attach a copy of all in your appendix). Based upon your review of this “archival data,” examine and analyze your task completion process, and discuss:

a. The macro skills used.
b. The realities of working styles: Incorporate a discussion of hem and haw versus sniff and scrurry styles and the Myers Briggs and how these dynamics impacted the task group.
c. The three most important lessons about macro social work practice learned as a result of the project.
d. The areas that emerged related to continued professional growth in the areas of working in groups, leadership styles, and diversity sensitivity.

Be sure to include raw data, minutes, article summaries, other external resources, and bibliography as your appendices.

Group Presentation
Each group will conduct a 20 minute presentation, sharing with their classmates the following: project title, intended outcome of the project, needs of targeted population, research methodology, major findings, social work skills used, and lessons learned. Include a discussion about how the group moved their cheese. Are we hem and haw or sniff and scrurry in the approach to complete projects?


Project 1: Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley
179 Atlantic Ave.
Rochester, NY 14607
716 244 8640 fax 716 244 8246
Contact person: Patty Hayes, Youth Program Coordinator

Goals of service learning project:

To identify agencies working with youth (Igbtq and str8) that utilize youth in volunteer and/or paid positions. To examine how these programs are structured and to what degree they follow youth development principles.

To explore how different agencies address ageism, educate adult staff and board members on youth development, and create adult/youth dialog.

To hold a focus group with 1gbtq youth to assess what types of volunteer/paid opportunities they would like to see at the GAGV.

Project 2: Boston Alliance for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth (BAGLY)
Boston GLASS

Project 3: Assessing the Capacity of Youth Workers to Provide Out of School Time Recreation Activities for Children and Adolescents Who Have Been Identified as Emotionally Disturbed
Service Learning Mentor: Marie Viavattine, MSW (at present time)
St. Joseph’s Villa

Background of project: Most children and adolescents with emotional disturbances cannot participate in standard recreational activities in their community. They “cannot participate” for two reasons: (1) their social skills are at various levels of development, and (2) agencies are not equipped to provide the services needed for children with special needs. Youth workers have stated that this population of young people demonstrate “disruptive and challenging” behaviors for the staff who conduct after school program at the local community center, YMCA, recreation centers or Boys and Girls Clubs. Staff have articulated their concerns. This creates a vicious cycle because the children do not have the opportunities to develop the “out of treatment center” social skills because there are no facilities that have the resources to teach them or reach them. As children and adolescents become more isolated, they become more disturbed. The end results are often hospitalization or residential placement (which does not help their reputation in their neighborhood and further contributes to their isolation).

The problem: There are people and agencies that have resources to train community youth workers about “how to” incorporate emotionally disturbed children into afterschool programs. At the same time, St. Joseph’s Villa and the Monroe County Youth Bureau are interested in hearing firsthand about the training and resource needs of youth workers to effectively provide youth development services to the underserved population.

The prgject: Conduct a needs assessment that includes interviews and a Youth Worker Summit (focus groups) to determine the types of assistance needed to conduct programs with a youth development perspective for children with emotional disturbances For example, some of the information needed includes: Does staff need training? Are staff trained to support special needs youth, but there is not enough staff available for appropriate supervision? Is there a need for special equipment or space?

The activities: Youth workers will be interviewed to determine: (1) violence’s impact on their services, (2) the realities of kids’ aggressive/disruptive behaviors, and (3) what is a youth development approach to addressing violence in the centers and in kids’behavior.

School: Nazareth College of Rochester
Professor: Marie Watkins
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