Social justice in social education : a case study in Hong Kong

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Social justice in social education : a case study in Hong Kong

 

Author: Ng, Yut-ming
Title: Social justice in social education : a case study in Hong Kong
Degree: DSW
Year: 2016
Subject: Social justice.
Social work education -- China -- Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: vi, 191 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2925461
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8713
Abstract: Social justice has been recognised as the cornerstone of social work values and practice. Yet on reviewing major social work literature and journal, it is apparent that the term has become something of an oxymoron. It can mean quite different things to different people. More troubling, there has been no systematic study on the connection between the concept and the future direction of the sector. In what ways should social justice inform a critical reflection among social work practitioners? The thesis argues that the cultivation of an understanding of social justice - in explicit value orientation - is indispensable to the emergence of a more activist culture within the profession. In light of this, the thesis has embarked on an exploratory case study of a specific bachelor's degree of social work programme in Hong Kong. The hope is that this qualitative research might shed some light on the learning and teaching of social justice within social work education in Hong Kong. The study finds that both student and educator informants express clearly that social justice is a fundamental value to commit in social work profession. Yet students have a vague understanding of social justice while educators tend to express their commitment to social justice less than their students. An effective way to understand and instil a commitment to social justice is to let students get in touch with real social injustice experiences with an affective component. A holistic approach to learn with a wide variety of learning and teaching strategies is also considered important to student learning. On the other hand, there are a number of barriers and limitations in learning and teaching of social justice, including (1) fragmented curriculum design and low emphasis on social justice; (2) time and space constraint of social work programme; (3) heavy job requirements of educators other than teaching; (4) social work profession not highly prioritizing social justice; and (5) discouraging local social atmosphere on teaching social justice. This research brings up again a neglected but important issue in social work education. It is an attempt to contribute towards the building of an alternative social work knowledge system. It challenges the "tradition" and "present practice" in social work education. Since social work education does not exist in a vacuum, the issues in the discussion are closely linked with the current mainstream values in the Hong Kong society. Finally, recommendations for improvement of education of social justice on the aspects of the academic department, educators, learning and teaching strategies, and researcher are provided in the conclusion of this thesis.

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