The social workers of modern times are well organized into various professional bodies contributing their best to the field of social work. The empiricists hold that all of our knowledge is ultimately derived from our senses or our experiences. They therefore deny the existence of innate knowledge while the rationalists hold that at least some of our knowledge is derived from reason alone, and that reason plays an important role in the acquisition of all of our knowledge. Alternative practices to rational practice had always had a strong impact on social theories.
Practice wisdom and professional change agents have enabled us to develop rich learning environments that promote capability, confidence and commitment. Competence, confidence and commitment are essentials to development of contextualized practice wisdom. The effective professional change agents require a teaching and a learning environment, which recognize a personal need for development of just not competences, but of personal confidence, self-efficacy and a sense to control over personal commitment levels. (Shepperd) It is possible to encapsulate the three elements namely social work, social ideas and practice in terms of the idea of social work.
Social exclusion is a subject of major importance in contemporary social work and has been a core feature of social policy developments in the past decade. The issue of social exclusion lies at the very heart of social work. There is a wide range of key topics in social work including: Social work values and knowledge, empowerment, need, authority, choice, evidence-based practice, judgment and decision making. Even though the term 'social exclusion' is of recent origin, it provides a framework for understanding the enduring themes of social work.
As for the idea of social exclusion, it is ironic that a term of relatively recent origin should be deemed as a key notion of social work. The term had been widely used only in the past twenty years. Social exclusion has been identified as a topic of major importance in the field of social work. It had been the core of various social developments world wide. Michael Sheppard claims that the issue of social exclusion has been prevalent in each and every social work. He concludes such a position in both theory and practice.
Sheppard had meticulously observed the issue of social exclusion from various perspectives. Social exclusion also encapsulates the elements of inequality and being disadvantaged. (Sheppard) Social exclusion thus acts as the basic foundation on which social work is built upon.
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