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      Utilising the ‘common third’ to enhance social work education

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          This article considers the utilisation of the common third to prepare social work students for practice by engaging with education in the broadest sense of the term ( Jackson and Cameron, 2011). Quality social work practitioners need fully developed reflective capacities to assist with the complex issues faced by individuals who experience marginalisation, discrimination, and inequality. In order to help develop autonomous and critical thinkers, which is of the utmost importance for social work, this article considers the value of the common third as part of the learning process. The common third, using activities to strengthen relationships, enhances social work practice and this article evaluates a three-day residential experience of outdoor pursuits in partnership with students, service users, practice educators, and teaching staff. This experience has been undertaken for several years at the University of West London, funded by the Education Support Grant from the Department of Health. Until now only anecdotal accounts were available; however, in 2018 staff sought written and verbal feedback from participants to assist in the writing of this article. This is based on the 2018 experience of 45 first-year social work students, six academic staff members, three service users, and two social work practice educators. The findings support the positive anecdotal accounts given to date and highlight the benefits of the common third in social work education.

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          Most cited references 15

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          Fields and institutional strategy: Bourdieu on the relationship between higher education, inequality and society

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            Reproduction and transformation of inequalities in schooling: the transformative potential of the theoretical constructs of Bourdieu

             Carmen Mills (2008)
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              The concepts of social pedagogy in the field of social work


                Author and article information

                International Journal of Social Pedagogy
                UCL Press
                17 April 2020
                : 9
                : 1
                Independent Scholar, Hastings, UK; bourdieu09@
                © 2020, Elizabeth McCreadie.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited • DOI:

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                Pages: 11
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                McCreadie, E. (2020). Utilising the ‘common third’ to enhance social work education. International Journal of Social Pedagogy, 9( 1): 6. DOI:


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                International Journal of Social Pedagogy
                Volume 9, Issue 1

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