Perceptions of Personal and Professional Values in Social Work Training | Daniela SOITU & Mihaela RADOI
Abstract: The process of value formation is a gradual one, the stages evolving in close connection with the individual’s development. Values are formed, are developed/strengthened, are modified or replaced. For the future social workers, one of the greatest challenges is to adapt their own values to the values of the profession. Values determine the way society is structured, the way families are organised and operate, social relations, organisational relations, the operation of institutions. Institutions and rules are a translation into practice of dominant values that are manifest in that particular community or society.
When forces from outside the community impose new rules, their observance and operation depends on how well they overlap with the existing values. Our study emphasis the challenges a student and a new social worker has to face one he /she has to confront, learn and balance personal and professional values. Two surveys were performed: one during 2003 and another one in 2011; the subjects were students from Social Work specialisation, from all years of studies (386 respondents in 2003 and 230 students in 2011). The aim of the studies was to find the students’ values that acted as grounds for their enrolment in the social work courses, as well as the way these values are maintained, changed or replaced during the years of study. We concluded that the students manage, in different proportion, the transition from recognising professional values to internalising these, making also steps in confronting ethical dilemmas. There is a dynamic during years of study. Transforming the knowledge acquired into behaviours is an important aspect of professional development of students from social work studies. Further research can be developed and focus on the professional development of the current students.
Keywords: personal values, professional ethics, social justice, social work training, ethical dilemmas, ethical balance, social worker.
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