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Community organization has been a major component of social work practice since the late 19th century. It requires a diverse set of abilities, interpersonal skills being among the most important. This textbook describes the essential interpersonal skills that social workers need in community practice and helps students cultivate them. Drawing from empirical literature on community social work practice and the author's own experience working with community organizers, the book focuses on developing the macro-level skills that are especially useful for community organizing. It covers relationship-building, interviewing, recruitment, community assessment, facilitating group decision-making and task planning, creating successful interventions, working with organizations, and program evaluation, along with examples of specific applications.
For clarity and ease of use, the author employs a framework drawn from a variety of community practice models, including social action and social planning, transformative/popular education and community development approaches, and multicultural and feminist approaches. The text is linked to the competencies outlined in the Council of Social Work Education's (2008) Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS), as well as ethics and values identified in the National Association of Social Workers' (NASW) Code of Ethics, and the International Federation of Social Workers' statement of ethical principles. Most chapters begin with a quote from a community organizer explaining how interpersonal skills are used in practice, and student exercises conclude each chapter. The text also addresses other important skills such as legislative advocacy, lobbying, and supervision.
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