Non-judgmental vs taking sides

Posted to CSOCWORK July 24, 2006

How each of us sees truth often differs. The social action roots of Social Work certainly highlight disparities and ‘rub raw the sores of discontent’. Admittedly not always productive on the scale of nations, nonetheless, often highly productive in moving towards a real solution at lesser scales. 
Abandoned children on doorsteps; cholera infested water supplies; innocent bystanders victimized by violence; systems strained by neglected refugees; and many other examples, send a clear message that the problem will be resolved faster when it threatens all.
Rush to judgement should be avoided, but sometimes, highlighting disparities and taking the next step of choosing sides is a sound outcome of critical thinking.
Thanks for provoking the thoughts,
in response to:
From: CSOCWORK – Canadian Social Work Discussion List [mailto:CSOCWORK@PDOMAIN.UWINDSOR.CA] On Behalf Of Barbara Neilson
Sent: July 24, 2006 10:47 AM
Subject: New Term approaching

As to my horror, August and inevitably, Sept. approaches, it will be the start of a new term for social work students, and thus, in the trenches, the practicum placement.
While swinging in my hammock on the shore in Haliburton this weekend, I was thinking about some of the issues that I see more and more amongst the students arriving at placements. I’m wondering if others are noticing any of the trends, and I’m wondering if you have found ways to breach the information gap.
I think that it really is an ability to assess. It seems to me that in assessment mode, students are really good at skimming the surface, and taking the first issue that arises “as the truth”. I see it when a nurse makes a judgmental remark/referral and a student without , looking into all of the details, assumes this is the truth. This of course, leads to “taking sides”. I see it when one sided arguments appear in regards to community issues, or world issues. There does not seem to be understanding that in order to assess a situation, that you need at look at all sides. The principles of no judgmental attitude seem to be lost. It feels as if there has been a lack of teaching about informed opinion, in high school, and no one has gotten around to telling students that they need to dig deeper (that’s what we are actually paid the big bucks for!!   :-)  )
Have others found this lack of critical thinking evident in the students (or for that matter , fully graduated social workers) and how are you handling it?
Barbara ,,, 


About mielniczuk

Community, systems, design, collaboration, change, evidence, Intelligent Accountability(c)
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