Term Paper: Social Justice Action and Accompaniment

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[. . .] A social worker playing a role of an animator should exhibit an attitude which not only makes his learning curve steep but also encourages the group to build his skills.

During jury meetings, a lot of jury members face boredom. A social worker in this scenario may come up with innovative ideas to make the sessions more lively and full of spark.

3. How would you define popular education? How would you apply the principles of popular education in your social work practice?

Popular Education is a form of educational practice that aims to work in collaboration with people and communities that are disadvantaged, exploited, oppressed in a way which contributes to their own process of identifying the causes of the problems they face and organizing collectively to address these issues.

"Though sharing many similarities with other forms of alternative education, popular education is a distinct form in its own right. In the words of Liam Kane: "What distinguishes popular education from 'adult,' 'non-formal,' 'distance,' or 'permanent education, for example, is that in the context of social injustice, education can never be politically neutral: if it does not side with the poorest and marginalized sectors- the 'oppressed' -- in an attempt to transform society, then it necessarily sides with the 'oppressors' in maintaining the existing structures of oppression, even if by default. (Kane, 2001)"

Popular educators work together with people to look at situations in new ways and together to create new knowledge and understandings that will be useful in finding solutions to problems, building alternatives and taking action. Community-led popular education can be a powerful tool for change if it is 'education for empowerment' Popular education has also been described as 'education for freedom'. Through popular education, social, political and economic conditions can be exposed and examined, with a view to taking action to change them. Popular education supports the struggle against injustice, oppression and exploitation, and for equality (Freire, 1972).

The basics of popular education can also be applied in social work. The social workers may involve individuals from exploited background and make them part of the decision making process by first making them realize the root cause of the problem, identifying alternatives to solve them and reach a viable solution. The participants will be more adaptive to new solution if they are made part of the decision making process.

4. How would you describe policy practice? What factors do you think have made it difficult for social workers to realize Figueira-McDonough's meaning of the policy practitioner?

Policy practice is defined as using social work skills to propose and change policies in order to achieve the goal of social and economic justice. In doing policy practice, social workers apply generalist social work perspectives and skills to make changes in laws, rules, budgets, and policies and in the bodies that create those policies, whether they are local, state, or federal agencies or other decision-making bodies, in the pursuit of the social work mission of social and economic justice (Cummins, Byers and Pedrick, 2011).

Policy practice is a term coined by Figueira-McDonough. The term states that strategic policy making is an integral part of social justice work. It enforces a proper strategy and policy formulation before the actual course of action takes place.

As per Figueira, the strategy / policy are the forgotten part of social work practice. Since, policy making is exercised by every individual, group and organization; its importance cannot be ignored in social justice work. Therefore, it is important to devise a thorough strategy in order to participate in social work campaigns.

However, a lot of social workers believe that policy making in certainly not related to the practical work. This is so because social work is considered of having a direct intervention nature and does not involve rigorous policy making in general, therefore it is rather difficult for social workers to adopt the regime of policy practice.

However, the social workers are needed to be taught its importance and also how developing relationships, performing effective communication are equally important in policy practice and dealing with clients.


Cummins, L.K., Byers, K.V & Pedrick, L. (2011). Policy Practice for Social Workers: New Strategies for a New Era

Freire, P (1972) Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Harmondsworth: Penguin

Kane, L. (2001). Popular Education and Social Change in Latin America. Nottingham, UK: Russell Press. pp. 9

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