M A R G U E R I T A M c G O V E R N
aeroplane builders: S I N E A D, A I N E, S I O B H A N and R A C H E L
Defining social work in metaphorical terms has always been an interest of mine with social work students in class groups, whether that is in the form of mask-making, Lego Serious Play or this representation of defining social work in the form of an object. I did the ‘make an object that represents social work’ with a class a few years ago. Some of the most memorable were a large rubik cube to represent all the different settings, peoples and skills of the social worker, a justice scales with the two weighing pans at each side representing the weight of human rights and social justice and the third one was a beautiful picture drawn by the MSW group of an eye, to represent the eye of the social worker, the eye of the client/service user and the eye of society. It was a good class as you can imagine!
I’m Fieldwork Co-ordinator for the Masters in Social Work course at National University of Ireland, Galway.
I’m proposing this Lego aeroplane made by a small group of social work students (Sinead, Aine, Siobhan and Rachel) because …
… Recently, using Lego Serious Play a sub-group of the MSW class built a metaphorical model of an aeroplane representing social work. You can see from the photograph how they put the new social worker and their supervisor flying to the agency setting. The graduate is the one in the driving seat and the supervisor is directing the new graduate in what to do. There are a number of hats on show. A crown (for when the graduate gets things right). A Top hat for when the graduate has to present themselves at important meetings and a crash helmet when the graduate finds themselves in ‘sticky’ situations. The model also has uneven steps for passengers to get on the plane and this represented the difference in service user problems and the unevenness at times of the graduate’s knowledge. The plane also has a part in the back for ‘baggage’. This belonged to the graduate! The tubing overarching the two front seat passengers represents flexibility in learning and both parties having to adjust to possibly different styles of learning. There is a bush (out of sight of the photo) – a metaphor for growth in knowledge which takes place throughout a social worker’s career. The model finishes with two jet packs at the back of the aeroplane for a boost in self confidence whenever it’s needed.