Social skirmishes

I been doing social work for nearly 25 years. Twenty five years, and if I go on another course where the trainer looks at us all and says, “Now, what I’d like you all to do is to split up in to small groups and discuss the following points. First” I will scream and take their chidlren away.

Then there is the feedback session. “Now, which group would like to go first and feedback to the group” This is the bit where someone who enjoys the sound of their own voice pontificates over a flip chart covered in illegible scrawl. Frankly, it could be anything up there and it’s at this point I usually begin to sniff the quality of the marker pens. Or my other favourite is, “Turn to the person next to you and share with them what you had for breakfast this morning and we’ll then introduce each other to the group”. Is it me or do these insipid, drippy training techniques just play into the hands of every social worker stereotype. To be honest I’m fed up with trainers coming to my department, charging the earth and for half the day we do the work for them!

I’ve complained. I said no, I’m not splitting up into small groups anymore, you’re the trainer, I’m all ears so get training. I don’t want anymore of this wet, participatory stuff. I want an expert to come in and teach me something and inspire me with their expertise and wit. I want them to leave me feeling energised and full of purpose. Not some mithering fool dribbling on about “experiential learning”. If I wanted that I’d take up bungee jumpingor counselling. So next time you’re on a course and the trainer looks at you with that glint in their eye, you know what’s coming next. Stand up, remember Rosie’s words, power to the people, we’re not splitting up into small groups anymore!!

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