The place of pedagogical practice wisdom in social work practice teaching in Hong Kong

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The place of pedagogical practice wisdom in social work practice teaching in Hong Kong

 

Author: Cheung, Oi Ngor
Title: The place of pedagogical practice wisdom in social work practice teaching in Hong Kong
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2013
Subject: Social work education -- China -- Hong Kong.
Social work education -- China -- Hong Kong -- Field work.
Social work education -- Field work.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: xiv, 388 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2681752
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7353
Abstract: Rapid changes in the external environment of education in Hong Kong, such as recent cuts in government funding and the increasing complexity of human and social problems in general, demand new ways of learning and teaching in social work, and particularly in the field practicum. The dominant method in teaching instrumental problem-solving involves the application of rigorous and scientifically tested and derived methods that is, technical rationality. This epistemological approach is, however, a misplaced model when dealing with human interactions in the context of social work practice. Practice wisdom is practical moral knowledge. In the living of one's life, practice, experience, moral deliberation, and reasoning also come along, and these become important aptitudes of the practitioner. Currently, the discussion of practice wisdom in social work education is limited, confined solely to conceptual analysis. Here, a four-dimensional framework for the epistemological understanding of practice wisdom is developed, based upon a range of scholars' views of practice wisdom. These four dimensions are Moral Reasoning Cognitive Knowledge, Agential Objective, Interactive Isolated, and Fluid Static. This research explores how practice teachers exercise pedagogical practice wisdom, specifically, the four features of practice wisdom namely the interplay of Moral Reasoning and Cognitive Knowledge, Agential Nature of knowledge, Interactive Process of knowledge generation and Fluid Status of knowledge, in practice teaching for pedagogy development. Practice teaching here is equivalent to fieldwork supervision.
The theoretical framework employed here utilizes Stenberg's (2010) didactical triangle to capture the data and analyze the relations that develop among the different features of practice wisdom. The key findings, which relate to the substantive contents of the four features and its dynamic operation among individual practice teachers, are discussed. It is discovered that practice teachers put relative emphasis on various features of practice wisdom in teaching, which has shaped their teaching in a way unique to them. Thus, it is desirable to adopt a kaleidoscopic view in understanding the use of the four features of practice wisdom in teaching. Practice wisdom is most likely to occur when a practice teacher maintains a balance of the four features in teaching. Practice teachers refer to their personal practical knowledge in their teaching, and this knowledge comes along largely with experience. They exercise nondeliberative reflection in their use of the four features in teaching. The mere exercise of these four features does not necessarily bring about good results in student learning. It depends on the ways these features are exercised. The differing emphasis on various features of practice wisdom might characterize particular sorts of students. For professional development, it is desirable that practice teachers are equally competent in their use of the four features in teaching. Differential use of the different features of practice wisdom in view of students' unique needs is suggested. Training of practice teachers in cultivation of self-awareness and reflective practice is recommended in view of their nondeliberative reflective teaching. The four features in this study probably are truly representative of practice wisdom, but this does not mean that practice wisdom is "out there" or objective. We may able to see the features that comprise what we refer to as practice wisdom, but not the fixed reality of practice wisdom. Other features may be out of our awareness. Further investigation of these issues will be in the hands of other researchers. Hopefully, this study has made contributions to the advancement of pedagogy in social work practice teaching, albeit with limitations.

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