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Selected Readarounds in Child and Youth Care

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Ethical training through supervision

Henk Hanekamp

It is good to be noble,
but learning others to be good is even more noble ...
and much less troublesome.
Mark Twain

To integrate the well-known things and to discover new things

Enjoying learning has two directions:
Getting familiar with things you already know
and discovering new things.

The exciting thing about ethics is also that:
all the important things have been said already,
but that you can never apply them unthinkingly
to the next situation.

When you talk about the essential things,
about the question of what makes people happy,
what makes them unhappy,
you will find that most things have been said a long time ago
and ...that you will have to figure things out for yourself
time and again.

Supervision and ethics have much in common
as regards their form and image.
In fact, both are simple and unpretentious.
Supervision is thinking about learning,
ethics is thinking about what you are doing.
Both deal with “guidelines” and specific questions.
Rules and principles are useless here.

Both ethics and supervision are not sciences.
They are rather an art. Something creative,
Live and let die,
Learn and let learn.
It is a matter of making yourself
and the person you teach an expert in the art of living.
The art to live well.
The art to work well.

Thinking ethically and supervision also have in common
that they need space:

an atmosphere of trust,
in which one person dares to put himself in someone else’s hands,
during a conversation about fear, shame, pleasure.
About experiences and reflection anyway.

Only afterwards you will know whether it was good or not.
Both are about giving meaning to something:
a lonely process within an unique person
and without being aware of it,
you will arrive at general human values.

Supervision is a guided circular learning process,
in which the supervisee develops his professional identity
by exploiting and reflecting his experiences
with the aim to acquire a personal approach of the profession.
I have an almost identical definition for learning to think ethically.

Hanekamp, H. (1994). Ethical training through supervision,FICE Bulletin, Vol. 10, pp. 27

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