Continuing professional development: A critical approach

Cooper, Barry (2008). Continuing professional development: A critical approach. In: Fraser, Sandy and Matthews, Sarah eds. The Critical Practitioner in Social Work and Health Care. London, UK: Sage, pp. 222–237.

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Abstract

The central argument in this chapter is both simple and challenging. I will propose that the attitudes of professional workers to their continuing professional development [CPD] is a strong indicator, if not a defining feature, of their approach to practice. This is not to maintain that the individual learner must carry the entire burden of post-qualification CPD. However, it is individuals that are expected to decide upon, initiate, maintain and complete their responsibilities for post-registration learning. Within the increasing profile of arguments for ‘life-long learning’ across all aspects of modern life, the individual learner is identified as a key mediator in creating knowledge through ‘dialogues’ that purposefully link the organisational contexts and settings of professional practice with the opportunities for continuing professional development. Dialogues with service users and carers, as well as colleagues and supervisors, in particular, are crucial. Supervision is an important and underplayed aspect of CPD for health and social work practitioners. The chapter will include a critical examination of key rationales underpinning professional education in social care and an exploration of constructive arguments for dialogue with colleagues and managers to enhance creative notions of continuing professional ‘capability’.

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