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What are the merits and limitations of a novel metatheoretical artefact with promoting the learning and teaching of theory for Social Work?

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posted on 2023-08-30, 18:56 authored by Gavin Millar
A series of government-commissioned inquiries, serious case reviews, and social work academics, have consistently highlighted shortcomings with the education of Social Work students on higher education courses in England. This thesis embraces criticisms of theoretical education and samples different theoretical approaches to enable a critical appraisal of the merits and limitations of the Blended Theory Model (the Artefact) for learning and teaching purposes. The Artefact, initially drafted by the writer, was developed with feedback from student social workers, and researched by a Participatory Action Research project, with the aim of improving the learning, teaching and application of theory for social work. The Participatory Action Research project involved research participants, as cooperative researchers, and included face-to-face focus group meetings, to explore the merits and limitations of the Artefact in promoting theoretical learning and its application to practice. The researchers agreed the merits of the Artefact included promoting a foundational understanding in mapping, selecting, blending, and applying multiple theories within specific contexts of social work practice. Further, unexpected merits were found in the potential of applying the Artefact as a reflective/reflexive model and with understanding the theoretical underpinnings of other professions and professionals. Limitations were noted to be associated with potential for misunderstanding and wariness initially engaging with the Artefact, and in transparently representing emotional states when applying the Artefact. The participatory process and agreed findings are examined in this thesis, which is written with attention to Critical theory and language that aligns with actions and goals for emancipation, inclusion, and independence.



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