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This article reviews the literature on critical thinking in social work education and aims to assist social work and human services educators with curriculum planning and review.It was undertaken as the first phase of an ongoing project to examine two inter-related areas of policy and pedagogical concern in social work education: the application of critical thinking skills and the incorporation of client or consumer perspectives in the generation and utilisation of knowledge.
In doing so, it outlines educational strategies that have been used to promote critical thinking in social work, and argues that understanding the client or consumer perspective is a vital part of the critical thinking process.
Introduction Critical thinking is on the agenda for professionals and higher education institutions as a means to equip students and practitioners to grapple with the complexity and rapid growth of knowledge.
Critical social work is heavily influenced by Marxism, the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory and by the earlier approach of Radical social work, which was focused on class oppression.
Critical social work evolved from this to oppose all forms of oppression.
Teaching critical thinking in social work education: a literature review Clare Tilbury, Jennifer Osmond and Teresa Scott Authors Affiliation: School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University, Australia.
Address for Correspondence: Clare Tilbury, School of Human Services and Social Work Griffith University, Logan campus University Drive MEADOWBROOK Q 4131 AUSTRALIA ABSTRACT While there has been considerable discussion about reflective practice and evidence-based practice in social work education over the last decade, less specific attention has been paid to critical thinking.
Major themes that critical social work seeks to address are: While critical social work has a strong commitment to structural change, it does not discount the role of agency, albeit a constrained form of potential.
Critical analysis in social work looks at competing forces such as the capitalist economic system, the welfare state as all affecting individual choices.
The search used the key words critical thinking in combination with social work, teach*, skills and curricul*.
Tables of contents and abstract searches for the key words critical thinking were conducted in relevant journals such as Social Work Education, Journal of Social Work Education, Journal of Teaching in Social Work, Learning in Health and Social Care, British Journal of Social Work, 32 Australian Social Work, Advances in Social Work and Welfare Education and Higher Education Research and Development. Internet sites, such as those linked to higher education (for example. We also accessed general critical thinking websites (for example, and that contain links to standardised tests intended to measure critical thinking. Critical thinking has its roots in critical theory and the concept of scepticism - the questioning of the source of truthfulness and the reliability of knowledge (Brechin, Brown and Eby 2000).