Communication and Interviewing Skills

Subject SCWK50007 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

March, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 contact hours (8 x 1 hour lectures, 8 x 2 hour seminars)
Total Time Commitment:

24 contact hours

16 hours of class preparation and reading

16 hours of assessment related tasks

= 56 hours total time commitment

= 7 hours total time per week


Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's courses. Students who think their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Course Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Assoc Prof Louise Harms


Social Work
Melbourne School of Health Sciences
The University of Melbourne
Level 5, 234 Queensberry St
Carlton Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 8344 9400
F: +61 3 9347 4375

Subject Overview:

This subject provides students with an introduction to the microskills of interpersonal communication for professional practice. It is an experiential subject designed to prepare students for entry into supervised agency-based practice. The subject focuses on the development of communication, basic interviewing and counselling, and critical self-reflection skills, for application in a variety of social work contexts. Cultural diversity is explored throughout. In addition to large group discussions and exercises, students engage weekly in role plays and videoed interviews to develop specific micro-skills - in particular, the skills of engaging, attending, listening, questioning, and responding.


At the end of this subject students should be able to:

  • demonstrate basic competency in the core communication skills for interviewing that underpin social work practice
  • demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of communication in a multicultural context, including the technical skills of working with interpreters and understanding the impact of different worldviews and values on establishing an effective social work relationship
  • understand and demonstrate a model of interviewing and the relationship of such a model to the theory and practice of social work
  • demonstrate an increased awareness of themselves in interaction with others
  • improve their ability to critically appraise their own practice following constructive critical appraisal of their practice by others
  • be prepared for their first field based supervised professional practicum.

A pass in this subject is required before students can begin Supervised Field Practice 1.

  1. A hurdle requirement of 100% attendance
  2. One written essay, 2000 words (30%) - due mid-semester
  3. One 10-15 minute video taped interview with 3,000 word written essay (70%) - due end of semester
All components must be passed for an overall pass in this subject
Prescribed Texts: Harms, L. (2007). Working with People: Communication skills for human service work. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Recommended Texts: Egan, G. (2007). The Skilled Helper: A problem-management and opportunity-development approach to helping (8 th ed.). Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • critically analyse texts and practices;
  • understand recent developments in social work contexts of practice;
  • link theory to practice;
  • competently communicate in ways relevant to both academic and practice contexts;
  • undertake independent research.
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Social Work

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