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Learn to Swim: A Mixed Methods Approach to Understanding How Social Work Experiential Education Impacts Students' Social Justice Attitudes

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Item Summary

Title: Learn to Swim: A Mixed Methods Approach to Understanding How Social Work Experiential Education Impacts Students' Social Justice Attitudes
Authors: Branson, Candy
Keywords: social justice
experiential education
social work
Issue Date: Dec 2015
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2015]
Abstract: The purpose of this research is to advance the knowledge of social work education by addressing a portion of the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) 2012 accreditation standard 2.1: How does field education connect the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practice setting? This study examines connections among theoretical and conceptual social justice contributions of the classroom (abstract learning in a classroom) with the practicum settings (concrete field experiences) and explores how these contributions influence social justice attitudes. Recognizing social work education as an experiential education setting with a social justice aim, this study builds on previous research by: 1) assessing the association between demographics and other predisposing factors that may influence social justice attitudes, and 2) comparing changes in social justice attitudes (prior to a practicum experience vs. after one academic semester of practicum). Using a pretest posttest design, social justice attitudes of 35 Bachelor of Social Work Students (BSW) enrolled at a university within the Asian-Pacific region were examined using the Social Justice Scale (SJS) (Torres-Harding, Siers & Olsen, 2012) and the Civic Engagement Questionnaire (CASQ) (Moley et. al., 2002). The survey results were analyzed using multiple split-plot analyses of variance (ANOVAs) and subsequent t-tests. Predicted differences in social justice attitudes were not supported nor were predicted differences in social justice attitudes based on gender, concurrent volunteer service, and experiences with previous social injustices. However, differences in race were found. In Wave 2 of this study, phenomenographic analysis was used to analyze the focus group data of 7 students who also participated in the survey. The analysis identified students’ conceptions of learning about social justice. Four emergent categories include: Uncertainty, Existing Values, Realization, and Transformation. Content analysis revealed active participation as a learning method that students prefer. These findings may facilitate educators in social work and community programs to more effectively design curriculum that produce educational outcomes that are consistent with students’ conceptions of social justice learning.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Social Welfare

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