This text offers innovation and a call to action for educators -- engage fully to engage students fully. With stories from the classroom, Holistic Engagement invites and challenges social work, human services and counseling educators to seek meaning in their methods and content in the processes of teaching. Empirically grounded, the authors propose a new model for advancing pedagogy to draw from many ways of knowing and wisdom across traditions. Through rich analysis of globalization, higher education and the social work profession, as well as first person accounts, they co-create a story of holistic pedagogies being employed across the globe. Aiming toward transformative social work practice, the authors discuss the ways that they engage with the whole person (body, mind, heart, culture and spirit) and reveal how such participatory pedagogies strengthen presence, attunement, empathy, professional self-care and the integrative capabilities of social work students and human service professionals. Drawing from a wide range of literature and traditions, from Freire’s critical pedagogy to the neuroscience of mindfulness, these engaging essays have much to offer both seasoned and new social work educators, while creating an integrative and realistic conceptual home for them.
The authors discuss the uses of theatre, the arts, ritual, mindfulness, critical dialogue, yoga and many other methods that upend the traditional social work classroom. These approaches are used at the undergraduate and graduate levels in a range of courses, including policy, theory and practice. The auto-ethnographical nature of many of the essays will invite educators to reflect on their own pedagogies as they consider the rewards and risks of going beyond the cognitive and engaging the whole person.