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Mind the gap: incorporating writing skills into practice simulations
Social Work Education  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-08-11, DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2021.1962270
Karen Healy, John Drayton


Writing skills are an essential component of social work practice. Writing skills include both reflective writing skills, that is writing about one’s practice, and professional writing skills, that is writing in practice. The latter includes emails, letters, reports, referrals and applications for resources. Classroom-based simulations are intended to promote holistic competency and provide an ideal context for the development of both reflective and professional writing skills. In this paper, we report on a scoping review undertaken to examine how writing skills are included in classroom-based simulations. We identify that despite substantial growth in scholarship on classroom-based simulations, very little of it refers to the written components of the simulations. Where written components are included, they primarily refer to reflective writing rather than professional writing skills. The marginal status of writing skills is further evidenced in the perceived expendability of written activities in the context of resource or time constraints. We propose ways forward to develop classroom-based simulations by extending the concept of holistic competence to include professional writing skills and greater clarity about the nature of reflective writing activities that may accompany simulations. We also suggest that scholarship on classroom-based simulations could be enhanced by studies designed to produce stronger forms of scientific evidence and also studies critically exploring the political and ethical dimensions of practice within classroom-based simulations.