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Read: Notara, Debbie (1998). Deconstructing values and ethics – A narrative approach to transformative learning for Social Work and Welfare students. Paper given at the Australian Association of Social Work and Welfare Education Conference,
‘Collaborating in the Tropics,” Cairns.

  1. Choose a partner and take turns interviewing each other in relation to the following directions.

  2. Identify one of the major values or beliefs that you held when you started school or earlier in regard to social work, the helping process, how people grow and change, etc. Choose a belief that has NOT totally maintained itself during your development as a social worker.
  1. Answer the following questions in relation to the origin of the belief you have chosen:

    a. Where does this belief come from? What is the history of your belief – the first time you were aware of taking on this belief?
    b.What has been the effect of this belief on your life in terms of family, work,spirituality, relationships, life position?
    c. Who in your life had an interest in maintaining this belief?
    d. Who in society had a vested interest in maintaining this belief?
    e. If you were to continue to hold this belief what impact would it have on you as a future social worker?
  1. Now, consider a time when, on reflecting back, you recognize that you acted or had a thought (no matter how small) that did not quite fit with this belief…Then, answer the following questions in relation to the alternative story just discovered:
  1. How would you account for the fact that you moved away from your belief and accepted another way of thinking?
  2. Where does this ability come from?
  3. Reflecting back on your life, what did you do that could now be seen as an indicator that you would consider and act on this different way of thinking?
  4. Who else would have known that this was likely to happen?
  5. What or who supported you in this process?
  6. What does the fact that you found yourself thinking in slightly different ways tell you about yourself and your beliefs? How does it affect your view of yourself as a social worker?

5. Now, consider the following questions as to possible effects of this change on your life:

  1. a. What difference could this alternate way of thinking make for you in the future as a social worker?
    b. What difference could this alternate way of thinking make for your clients in terms of their view of themselves and their place in society?
    c. Is it preferable for you to maintain this alternate way of thinking in your future development as a social worker?
    d. If yes, what strategies could you put in place to ensure these views were kept alive?
    e. What would you observe yourself doing that would indicate to you that these alternate views were operating?
  1. Finally consider the following (This set of reflections are what you are being asked to write about):
  1. What was the effect of the experience of answering these questions?
  2. What was the impact on you in terms of having a sense of control and power in
  3. the process of examination of your own knowledge of yourself?
  4. What connections do you make, if any, between this process and the ways in which you might relate to clients as a social worker?
  5. What do you see as ethical and advocacy implications in your role as a social worker in addressing oppression and systemic change given these beliefs and values?
  6. Integrate your responses with sources/literature that inform your thinking.
  7. Engage the various learning(s) gained from this course in your paper. Evaluate these processes vis-a-vis this exercise and your own development as a social worker.

Importance of Teachers Appreciating Students' Beliefs

Individuals come from different backgrounds which harbor different teachings and upbringings. The lessons from parents and the one’s experience before attending school enable the person to develop beliefs (Burman, 2016). Some individuals find out that their beliefs concur with the education system at school. However, others find education to be contradicting their norms and culture. The teachers have an easy time training students with similar beliefs as the educational syllabus (Petrovici, & Ciobanu, 2016). However, the trainers must deconstruct the undesirable beliefs and impact the right knowledge unto the students. The process begins with the teacher allowing the student to narrate their cultural stories. Afterward, the teacher explains why the belief is archaic and proposes an alternative route of knowledge. However, the trainer must appreciate and respect the views of the students before initiating transformative learning.

The trainers of social work and welfare should encourage interaction to discover the beliefs of the trainees before starting their lessons. The deconstruction can occur in the classroom or small student groups. Some students are shy and cannot share their beliefs in the open places. The teachers should engage the shy students in article or assignment writing exercise (Carrington, Mercer, Iyer, & Selva, 2015). Therefore, the students can explain their feelings in a confidential and effective method. This essay evaluates my beliefs before starting school and how the feelings changed as I progressed with education. Furthermore, the paper examines the historical process that enabled me to share my beliefs. The essay also explores how deconstruction introduced transformative learning hence making me abandon my previous stand.

1. There are values that are undesirable and the bearers must discard them to lead a fulfilling life. In the school scenario, the teacher must allow the student to narrate their beliefs. Secondly, the trainers should appreciate the knowledge of the student before starting the process of deconstructing the belief (Notara, 1998). The deconstruction should begin with questioning and end with persuasive discussions to enable the student to drop the undesirable belief. Experience also helps in deconstructing outdated values and ethics.

2. The value that I had regarding social work and helping others. I believed that individuals should be independent to guarantee success in life. Furthermore, dependency on others for survival is laziness.

3 (a). The belief originates from my upbringing. My parents encouraged us to strive hard and depend on our efforts for survival. There is a day I snatched a toy from my younger sister when we were playing in the neighborhood. The girl cried and reported me to our father who slapped me before offering pieces of advice. He told me that I should have asked him to buy me my toy instead of snatching one from my sister. Furthermore, he demanded that I become independent and stop snatching other children's toys. That is the day I learned that independence is the true path to a successful life.

Using Personal Experiences to Change One's Beliefs

(b) The belief has affected my way of life and existence. Firstly, the independency belief has affected the way I home-train my children. I encourage them to be independent and stay away from borrowing from their fellow young ones. At the workstation, I try as much as possible to be independent. I work hard to gain my needs in life; hence, I report to work early and leave late in the evening. The belief has also affected my spiritual life. I pray to God every morning to provide me with my needs so that I become independent. In my relationship, I encourage my spouse also to follow my example and principles in life.

(c) My close friends and siblings had an interest in maintaining these beliefs. I am born in a family of five children, three boys, and two girls. The three boys and a girl still maintain the beliefs to the present date. The siblings prefer to suffer rather than seeking for help from their peers (Fook, 2017). My friends acquired the belief from me, and some of them still hold them although others dropped them halfway in life. Those that abandoned them seek for help when they run out of finances.

(d) In my society, my father and mother had a vested interest in maintaining the belief. The notion originated from my father who passed it on to the wife and eventually to the children. The father is an individual who worked hard during his youthful days to remain independent. He instituted numerous business enterprises and investments to gain financial freedom. My mother followed the same suit by starting her restaurant in town. Therefore, the two rarely ask their children for financial support. They only call to find out how we are fairing on in life.

(e) The belief would have barred me from numerous opportunities as a social worker if I was to continue holding the norm. Social work is an interactive field where individuals share opinions to arrive at reasonable conclusions (Turner, 2017). Independence closes one to their own though; hence, an individual is reluctant to seek for help. Therefore, a social worker should depend on self and others for opinions to assist in daily activities. Independence can make an individual hold on to improper thoughts that can hamper professional growth.

4a. I moved away from my beliefs due to my experiences in school and at the workstation. The teachers created a lesson of sharing beliefs with the entire class. The fellow students and the trainers would applaud those with popular beliefs. However, the class appreciated my position on independence and assisted me to deconstruct the thoughts. At the workplace, individuals are open and share their stories openly as they seek for other opinions. The culture has helped me to share and deconstruct my beliefs.

  1. The ability to change my beliefs on independence originates from my interactions and experiences. There was a day I could not solve a mathematical problem few hours to the math lesson. The teacher was strict and disciplined students who failed to complete their assignments on time. I tried by all means to solve the puzzle to no avail. Ten minutes to the lesson, I asked my desk mate to assist me in solving the sum which he gladly did with a smiling face. From that scenario, I learned that no man is an island and that dependency is not laziness.
  2. Apart from the homework scenario, I helped my friend an impending accident. We were from work and wanted to cross the road to reach the bus station. Unfortunately, my friend did not notice an approaching lorry and opted to cross the road since he was in a hurry. I noticed the approaching vehicle and pulled my friend back to allow the lorry to pass. Therefore, I learned that one could not be independent on all occasions (Taylor, 2017).
  3. My teachers and my colleagues at work sensed that I would abandon my belief and turn on a new leaf. Furthermore, my desk mate realized that I was a changed person since I shared my knowledge with him. At the workplace, I started to share my life experiences and seek for other people's opinions. Therefore, people around me noticed my change in attitude and behavior.
  4. My teachers, fellow schoolmates, and colleagues supported me to acquire transformative knowledge. Furthermore, my experiences in life made me make a U-turn on the independency norm. The tutors insisted that independence is a good belief but could not hold on every situation. My deskmate encouraged me to share my ideas with him so that we gain collective knowledge. The workmates created a culture of sharing an individual's problem and seeking a solution through interactive meetings. Therefore, the experiences and people around me have helped to shape my life.
  5. The fact that I changed from my total independence belief indicates that I am dynamic and can accommodate any positive influence, my friends. The changes that I have undergone have taught me that independence is good but not in every situation. The transition has made me a better social worker than before embracing the changes (Baldwin, 2016). Furthermore, I can now share my ideas with others and accept correction on certain matters.

The Importance of Interaction for Deconstructing Undesirable Beliefs

5a. The alternative way of thinking makes me a better social worker in the future. A social worker should open up to people on suggestions that can change the society. Furthermore, the worker should accept other people’s opinion to gain extra knowledge. As a social worker, independence is a critical value as it encourages people to work hard and lead a comfortable life (Rubin, & Babbie, 2016). However, a social worker should remind the public that no individual can survive only on one's effort and knowledge. Some scenarios necessitate us to seek for help from our colleagues. Asking for help does not mean that one is weak; rather, it strengthens an individual.

  1. The difference in my beliefs benefits my clients as it changes their views of themselves and the society. The clients learn about the importance of independence and at the same time discover that dependency is not laziness (Ho, Liao, & Rosenthal, 2015). I would encourage my customers to put more effort into their jobs to gain independence and comfort in their lives. However, I would encourage them to seek help from others when they can no longer depend on their knowledge. Therefore, my transition is beneficial to my clients.
  2. Yes. I prefer to maintain my change in beliefs and attitude in my future development as a social worker. Firstly, dependency on others has enabled me to acquire additional knowledge. There are many issues that I now know from interaction with my colleagues at the workstation. Furthermore, I have shared my knowledge with my clients and my fellow workers. Therefore, people have learned important life skills from me. Independence and dependency make an individual lead a complete and fulfilling life (Christie, Carey, Robertson, & Grainger, 2015). Therefore, I plan to maintain my transition into the future.
  3. There are numerous strategies that I have put in place to ensure that I embrace both dependency and independence. The first strategy is to improve interaction with workmates. Colleagues are knowledgeable, and their engagement improves one's understanding of key issues in the society (Axelrod, Naso, & Rosenberg, 2018). Secondly, I plan to train my clients on the need to embrace both virtues of independence and dependency. The third strategy is to attend life skill meetings to learn more about the essence of human interactions. Fourthly, I plan to conduct teaching sessions to explain the essence of sharing ideas with one another.
  4. Some pointers indicate whether the transition is operational or otherwise. The first indication is the level of interaction (Derks, van Duin, Tims, & Bakker, 2015). An increased amount of engagement shows that I have embraced dependency alongside independence. The second pointer is my lessons to teach others on the essence of individual consultation. The ability to conduct such classes indicates that I have embraced the transition. The third pointer is to gauge the level at which I help others at their point of need. The number of individuals I assist should be directly proportional to the level of changes in my behavior.

6a. Answering the above questions is informative and entertaining. The answers have enabled me to open up about my past beliefs. Furthermore, I have realized the source of my beliefs and how it affected my way of life. I have learned that dependency is not laziness from the questions. I have also learned about the essence of both dependency and independence.  Dependency on others is not laziness as it assists in acquiring additional information and necessary life inputs (Dickinson, & Sullivan, 2014). Independence is also good although cannot hold in all scenarios. The later helps an individual to work hard and lead a comfortable life.

  1. The process of cross-examining self-brings about confidence and self-fulfillment. The power and the sense of control enable one to open up. The session has enabled me to disclose my secrets in a detailed and open manner. Furthermore, I have learned about various life skills in the process of self cross-examinations. I have discovered the routes of personal beliefs and how the society helps in deconstructing undesirable beliefs. The teachers have an essential role to play in shaping the beliefs of the students (Lee, & Brett, 2015). Moreover, workmates also have their work cut out in assisting an individual in shaping their outlook on life.
  2. The process of self-assessment enables a social worker to improve the working relationship with clients (Holden, Barker, Kuppens, & Rosenberg, 2017). Dependency calls for interaction hence clients get quality services from the social workers. Moreover, the client learns about the essence of maintaining independence alongside dependency (O'Sullivan, Berner, Taliaferro, & Rassel, 2016). Therefore, the clients, in turn, live a fulfilling life due to the interactions with the workers. The social worker should encourage the clients to narrate their beliefs to enable them to deconstruct the improper norms. However, the workers should appreciate the clients before deconstructing the beliefs.
  3. Dependency involves sharing ideas and asking for help in dead point situations. Moreover, the virtue enables individuals to interact and form a strong opinion force (Chui et al., 2014).  Dependence unites people; hence they can fight to address and end oppression in a given country. Moreover, a united people can advocate for systematic and regime change in a nation. Therefore, it is ethical to embrace dependency and independence as they brood beneficence and nonmaleficence (Hammersley, 2015). The unity of a people ensures justice and equal distribution of resources to the people. Therefore, the transition of beliefs is ethical and advocates for the rights of individuals.
  4. Some beliefs are appropriate, and the society should encourage the carriers to uphold them. However, some norms are archaic, and the stakeholders should deconstruct them through transformative learning (Beckett, Maynard, & Jordan, 2017). Narrative deconstruction is appropriate in ensuring that individual drop undesirable beliefs and take up the appropriate ones. The society should allow each to narrate their beliefs. Afterward, the teachers should appreciate the beliefs and plan for an effective deconstruction procedure (Brunstein, Sambiase, & Brunnquell, 2018). Proper beliefs improve the thinking of individuals hence elevates the living standards of individuals.


The childhood belief that I had is that independence is appropriate, and that dependency is a sign of laziness. My parents impacted the belief in me when I snatched a playing toy from my younger sister. The parents worked hard to ensure that they remain independent and lead a comfortable life. The belief affected my life as I viewed dependency as a weakness and an undesirable trait. The teachers at school helped in changing my belief through transformative education. The tutors allowed me to narrate my beliefs before deconstructing it. They appreciated the sentiment but reminded me that I could not be independent at every point in life. I later learned that dependency accompanies independence.

Apart from classroom teaching, my experiences helped me to embrace dependency on others. I prevented my colleague from involving in an accident. Furthermore, my classmate enabled me to solve a mathematical problem that I could not tackle in the class. The experiences and the lessons have helped to improve my life as a social worker. My colleagues at the workstation have created an environment of sharing ideas at work. Therefore, we both strive to gain independence and dependence in our line of duty. I have embraced dependency by training my clients on the life skills. Moreover, reliance has both ethical and advocacy importance in the modern day society.

Adopting a Balanced Stance: Embracing Dependency


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Beckett, C., Maynard, A., & Jordan, P. (2017). Values and ethics in social work. Sage.

Burman, E. (2016). Deconstructing developmental psychology. Routledge.

Brunstein, J., Sambiase, M. F., & Brunnquell, C. (2018). An Assessment of Critical Reflection in Management Education for Sustainability: A Proposal on Content and Form of Shared Value Rationality. Sustainability, 10(6), 1-25.

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