Becoming Competent to Teach Competence: Learning and Teaching Relational Process

  • Lance Taylor Peterson University of St. Thomas
Keywords: dialogical analysis, family therapy, competence, constructivist pedagogy, experiential learning


Though never comfortable with the term competency, I reluctantly accepted it as a way to teach noticing and attending to relational process (NARP) for couple and family social work practice. Didactic training combined with experiential activities of video-recorded role-play and audio-recorded feedback comprised my signature strategy. Although this teaching approach seemed successful, I wrestled theoretically with competency, and my ideas morphed through ongoing practice, teaching, and research experiences. I eventually concluded that NARP was not a single competency, but was best characterized as “ways of being” as a social work practitioner; I consequently worked to become more articulate and transparent in the classroom, and more intentional in practice. Informed by constructivist pedagogy, relational ontology, and dialogical analysis, I use the following reflection to immerse myself in an ongoing dialogue to understand how my own and students’ unique discourses shape NARP.