Honoring the subjective: an exploration of the self-reflexive portfolio in social work education

Zuk, Gail (2009) Honoring the subjective: an exploration of the self-reflexive portfolio in social work education. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The social work profession has a history of duality between what is taught in the academy and what is practiced in the field. This qualitative study explores the use of the self-reflexive portfolio as a pedagological tool to bridge the schism between social work education and practice. The self-reflexive portfolio encourages students to integrate the personal into the professional by valuing lived experience and embracing different ways of knowing. With the teacher serving as a guide, students direct their own learning in a process of exploration and processing in sharing circles. This research draws on Liane Davis' (1985) heuristic of the male voice represented in the academy and the female voice represented in practice; postulating that pedagological tools from within a feminist liberatory perspective can begin to bridge the divide between social work education and practice. The research asks nine Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal social work practitioners, all former undergraduate social work students in a Northern Alberta degree program to articulate their experiences with the portfolio courses and how they believe it informs their practice. Employing qualitative interviews and a sharing circle, data is analyzed using a modified grounded theory approach. In presenting the data, a medicine wheel is used to represent the individual voices of the study participants. The resultant thematic model and visual of a pinwheel metaphor emerges to explore the themes shared in common by study participants. The need for congruence between pedagogy and classroom practices is emphasized, as is the need to bring the student voice forward into the practice-education discourse in social work. Implications for social work education and ideas for future research are presented.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9169
Item ID: 9169
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 164-178)
Department(s): Social Work, School of
Date: 2009
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Reflective learning; Social service--Vocational guidance; Social work education

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