Too Many Problems And Not Enough Help: Exploring The Need For School Social Workers In The Hashemite Kingdom Of Jordan
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Type of WorkText
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
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Social work encompasses many different fields of practice. School social workers provide services to students encountering a wide spectrum of psychosocial and behavioral challenges at school, home, and society. While school social workers exist in many countries across the globe, many countries such as Jordan remain without school social workers. The primary aim of this qualitative study is to explore the need for school social workers in Jordan. A secondary purpose is to explore the social and behavioral challenges that face students as identified by social workers, students, and parents. Lastly, this study adds to the modest research literature on social work in the Jordan school system. Using an ecological perspective and systems theory, this study explores the factors and systems contributing to student challenges and the lack of school social workers in Jordan. This qualitative study utilized a case study design to explore the need for school social workers in Jordan. Focus groups were conducted using a semi-structured discussion guide with a purposive sample of 31 in total of teachers, social workers, and parents in Jordan. Focus group data was tape recorded and transcribed. Open coding was utilized with NVivo software. Thematic analysis was conducted to derive four key themes: (1) role of the school social worker, (2) difference between counselors and social workers, (3) challenges and barriers for school social workers, and (4) student challenges. In addition, numerous subthemes were constructed within the four themes. Findings for this study indicate that there is a need for school social workers to address numerous challenges amongstudents in Jordanian schools. Moreover, findings suggest several key socioeconomic challenges in developing school social workers in Jordan. Based on the findings, there are some implications for practice offered: (1) Social workers in Jordan need to do more research about their roles and how they could make positive changes; (2) teachers and parents should be educated so they understand the role of school social work, and how students' life environment affects their academic performance; and (3) future research should continue in the area of school social work interventions and outcomes in the community of Jordan.