Reimagining teaching as a Social Work Educator: A Critical Reflection

Authors

  • Selina Akhter Unitec Institute of Technology

Keywords:

Bachelor of Social Work, Bi-culturalism in practice, Indigenous spirituality, Critical reflection, Takepu-principled approach, Deconstruction, Reconstruction

Abstract

The purpose of the paper is to explore how the Bachelor of Social Work (bi-culturalism in practice) programme of Te Wãnanga o Aotearoa has influenced the author to rethink her teaching style, attitude towards using spirituality in social work, and epistemological
stance in research. A critical reflexive method was used to deconstruct the author’s previous assumptions and to reconstruct them. Three previous and reimagined assumptions were explored. First, before the reconstruction, the author’s assumption was “teachers are always experts”. The reconstructed assumption is, “teachers are not always experts but humble knowers and learners”. Second, the author believed that, as spirituality was personal and subjective it would not be taught in social work; and the author also considered only verifiable theories as valid knowledge. Now the author reimagines that social workers need spiritual theories and principles as well. Finally, as to research, the reimagination has made the author shift her epistemological stance from a positivistic paradigm to an Indigenous Mãori paradigm of whakapapa (genealogy) that has inspired her to rediscover the whakapapa of her ancestors’ knowledge. The reflective accounts of reconstruction were explored by using the author’s teaching practice at Te Wãnanga o Aotearoa, her contextual background and her own spiritual identity.

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Published

2015-06-01