The Practitioner Teacher


  • Peter Young Griffith University


Social work education, Experiential learning, Gestalt, Pedagogy


The degree to which social work educators maintain engagement in practice alongside teaching requires closer examination, given the stronger accountability expectations associated with managerialism in Australian universities. This personal reflection suggests that the ways that social work educators discuss practice examples might be influenced by the proximity of the practice example, and therefore maintaining links with practice may positively contribute to the teaching process. Students learn on multiple levels, and the care and respect implicit in a practice example used in class may provide an important element in the teaching process, particularly in relation to core concepts such as unconditional positive regard. Gestalt therapy provides a lens to help explore this proposition, as Gestalt suggests that the aliveness of the client in the mind of the social work educator may contribute to an experiential change process in the classroom.

Author Biography

Peter Young, Griffith University

School of Human Services and Social Work


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