Reflective Learning Bridges the TheoryPractice Gap in Social Work Education:Roots from Gandhiji’s Nai Talim
Social work education in India is currently at a stage of significant introspection and potential change. There are calls for a move away from traditional ‘didactic’ and transmissive approaches to learning and towards more critical and reflective paradigms for education. The way education is imparted has a paramount role in developing individuals so they can acquire need based knowledge that can enhance self-directed and comprehensive development. Gandhiji’s new education vision of socially useful productive work as pedagogy and reflective learning that triggers from diverse educational experiences have similarities in many ways, and is the timely need of this century to incorporate it into the part of existing educational system. When learning helps to shape life, it not only makes it easier for the learner to comprehend and apply the practical knowledge and skills to work in a way useful for society, but also exercises the Nai Talim philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. Social work learning becomes meaningful when it is executed through experiential centred knowledge derivation and knowledge driven experiments. Experiential educational experiences through a reflective mode of learning is the best method in the teachinglearning process. Social work education inevitably has a responsibility to prepare its trainees to assimilate the knowledge through a reflective process. In the first part of this article the attempt is to bring together Nai Talim and reflective learning as a better pedagogical praxis, and in the second part the role of reflective learning in social work education to complete the journey of the learning experience has been explored.