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Title: School social workers' perspectives on the difficulties they encounter in working collaboratively with teachers and parents
Authors: Meilaq, Silvana
Keywords: Parents -- Services for
Teachers -- Social conditions
Social workers -- Malta
Educational counseling -- Malta
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: School is the opportune place to reach and address problems amongst children. Due to lack of cooperation by parents and teachers, the school social workers’ efforts are often disrupted. The aim of this research is to explore the difficulties that school social workers perceive when engaging in collaborative work with teachers and parents. Moreover, its purpose is to suggest how some systems within society could contribute in order to mitigate such difficulties. The difficulties perceived by state school workers when collaborating with parents and teachers were identified through face-to-face interviews with state school social workers in Malta and Gozo. The data was qualitatively analysed through a thematic approach. The analysis shows that common difficulty arising when school social workers come to work with parents and teachers is the lack of awareness of the role of the school social worker. Moreover, since the regular teachers have different professional background from school social workers, they do not attribute the same importance to social issues as the social workers do and may not always recognise the need to collaborate to tackle such issues. Other obstacles to collaboration include an intensive syllabus which leaves teachers with limited time to focus on social issues, and among the fear some teachers have of becoming involved in social issues which may lead them to having to give evidence in court or coming across parents seeking vengeance. Parents also cause difficulties for school social workers when it comes to collaborating. One major common issue among parents who make it difficult to collaborate seems to be that they associate the school social work service directly with the Child Protection Unit (CPU), which instils a fear that their child will be taken away from them. Furthermore, the lack of educational culture means that some parents do not recognise the need to have a school social work service and to collaborate with the social workers. Another finding shows that receiving help from school social work services may bring stigma, which is in turn leading to parents not accepting help from school social workers. Finally, some recommendations to mitigate such difficulties include: to increase the awareness about the role of school social worker, provide further education to regular teachers about bio psychosocial development of children, introduce mandatory reporting along side with other law enforcement, and building a more holistic prospectus through a flexible syllabus. For further research, a study based on focus groups comprising parents, regular teachers, guidance teachers and school social workers would provide a wider range of insights into the difficulties encountered when school social workers try to collaborate with teachers and parents.
Description: B.A.(HONS)SOC.WORK
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacSoW - 2014
Dissertations - FacSoWSPSW - 2014

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