Fostering awareness of self in the education of social work students by means of critical reflectivity

  • Sandra Berna Ferreira Department of Social Work University of the Free State
  • Regardt Jacobus Ferreira 1. Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy, School of Social Work, University of Tulane, New Orleans, United States of America 2. Department of Social Work, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Keywords: self, self-awareness, critical reflectivity, macro-conceptualisation, social work education, death and dying, African-centred world view


Fostering awareness of self in the education of social work students has focused primarily on a micro-conceptualisation of the self, which implies that the attention was, and still is, mainly on the intrapsychic processes brought about by theory and field practicum. The main argument is that the self should also encompass a macro-conceptualisation, where students have to ask themselves how they contribute to the maintenance of societal structures and how these structures influence them in the forming of their assumptions and belief systems about the self and the world. Three categories of critical-reflectivity questions asked about a parable on death and dying in a class discussion can sensitise students about the self as a product and a co-creator of society in the grieving process. These questions furthermore resonate an African-centred world view in the understanding of the self.

Author Biographies

Sandra Berna Ferreira, Department of Social Work University of the Free State
Dr Sandra B FerreiraDepartment of Social WorkUniversity of the Free StateBloemfontein9300
Regardt Jacobus Ferreira, 1. Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy, School of Social Work, University of Tulane, New Orleans, United States of America 2. Department of Social Work, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
1. Director, Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy,2. Assistant Professor, Tulane School of Social Work, Tukane University, New Orleans, United States of America3. Research Fellow of the Department of Social Work, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa



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