social work training at the university of manchester

Skills training, drama based teaching.  And movies.


For many years we have employed our workshop, group work and facilitation skills to great effect in the University of Manchester's School of Health Services. We deliver activity based skills development sessions exploring work place challenges and dilemmas to first and second year MA Social Work students.  Students are introduced to our approach in their first week at the University, as we deliver group building and bonding sessions designed to introduce them to the working method. Later in the course we return to deliver key skills development workshops, or to introduce them to key themes and ideas.

We also convene a monthly film club, called Did You See...? specifically for Social Work and Nursing postgraduate students.  Films and documentaries are selected because of their relevance to the syllabus and we invite specialist speakers to talk to the  issues raised in the films.   Recent viewings have included Tyrannosaur (domestic violence), Amy (substance misuse), Iris (dementia) and Gen Silent (homophobia in care settings for the elderly).  

TiPP also coordinate the specialist acting input into the Social Work course case study simulations.  Running over several weeks, students spend time with our actors, who are in role as service users.  Students are required to meet, interview and make an assessment of the service users needs in one of the University's simulation suites (either a hospital ward or a flat). In the second of the three meetings, the students are coached in real time by an experienced social worker. In the third and final meeting, the students have to explaining their decisions to the service user.  TiPP actors are required to both provide a realistic representation of the character and offer constructive feedback, post interview.  

In 2015,  we were invited to contribute to a Greater Manchester Social Work Academy initiative designed to improve the admissions procedure for for potential MA students.  In response to their request, we created a series of short filmed monologues where characters describe their circumstances, or life challenges; potential recruits watch then discuss these scenarios as a part of their interview and selection recess.

Teaching at the University of Manchester.

Teaching at the University of Manchester.

Your creative use of drama has undoubtedly enriched the student experience and prepared them for managing complex practice issues. It is hard to do you justice as our skills programme wouldn’t be half as good without you and your team.
— Claire Harnett, Lecturer in Social Work (Practice Learning)