The meaning of social justice to social work students

Fehr, Linda L. (2013) The meaning of social justice to social work students. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This study was based on the emphasis that Canadian social work education is currently placing on educational processes to graduate critically reflective social workers who can address social issues from a social justice perspective. This qualitative study explored the meaning of social justice to graduating BSW students and the social work educational experiences that shaped this meaning. Ten adult learners from a Canadian baccalaureate program in social work participated in the study. A transcendental phenomenological research approach supported the exploratory and descriptive nature of this study and the method of data analysis was a modification of the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method developed by Moustakas (1994). Findings revealed that the integration of student participants' lived experiences and social work education created a meaningful commitment to social justice which could be further understood within the context of transformative learning in social work education. The findings also revealed that student participants had experiences with incongruency between the espoused commitment to social justice and a lack of commitment to social justice demonstrated within their educational and practice settings reflective of a tension that continues to exist between social justice and mainstream social work education and practice. The implications of this study suggest the need for social work educators who wish to promote social justice to further embrace transformative learning and further develop social justice education in social work programs as ways of continuing to support meaningful commitment to social justice and action for social change in their work with social work students. This study brings student voice forward and participants also offer their recommendations to social work educators. The study concludes with recommendations for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10480
Item ID: 10480
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 183-203).
Department(s): Social Work, School of
Date: 2013
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Social work education--Canada; College students--Attitudes; Social justice--Canada--Public opinion; Transformative learning--Canada.

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