Service user involvement in professional skill development

Planning and delivering a skills practice workshop

Authored by: Jim Bell , Martin Fraser , Sara Hitchin , Linda McCulloch , Lynda Morrison

The Routledge Handbook of Service User Involvement in Human Services Research and Education

Print publication date:  August  2020
Online publication date:  August  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138360143
eBook ISBN: 9780429433306
Adobe ISBN:


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Skills rehearsal (role-play) is a recognised method of teaching in social work and other professional human services programmes. While valuable, role-play between students has limitations due to its artificial nature. In this chapter, members of Unity, a university service user involvement group, share their experiences of developing and delivering teaching sessions. These workshops offer the opportunity for students to practice professional skills with service users who are drawing on their own lived experience. The chapter suggests that this approach offers more in-depth learning and preparation for practice than student-to-student role-play alone. Having found this workshop more challenging than other teaching contributions, Unity co-authors have identified seven steps to effective development and delivery. Careful attention to these steps has enabled the group to focus on the needs of both students and service user educators. Incorporating tips from Unity members, the chapter sets out a step-by-step guide designed to help others to co-produce their own professional skills workshops within professional education programmes.

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