Author: Hui, Fung Kuen
Title: Teacher as role model in social work education : an exploratory study of experiences and views of social work students in Hong Kong
Advisors: Ku, Hok-bun Ben (APSS)
Chan, Yuk-chung (APSS)
Degree: DSW
Year: 2021
Subject: Social work education
Role models
Teacher-student relationships
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: iii, 196 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Role modeling in social work education is widely discussed and supported in the context of fieldwork. It is viewed as one of the important vehicles for transmitting professional social work values. This thesis focuses on the views of social work students in Hong Kong on what a role model in social work education is, the impacts of a role model on social work students, and how and why a role model impacts the learning of social work students to be a social worker.
For the purposes of this study, qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with eight informants who are final year social work students studying a sub-degree, a bachelor degree, or a master of social work degree program in social work. Results show that students distinguish a role model teacher from teachers they admired. A model teacher is viewed as someone whom they want to learn from and whom they hope to be like as a social worker in the future, whereas a teacher they admired is someone whose knowledge and skills they appreciate but whom they do not want to identify with as a social worker. Another question this study hopes to address is the impact of a role model on social work students. Findings reveal that these impacts include (1) students learn actively; (2) students identify with the profession of social work; (3) students' personal growth; (4) students' confidence in practice; and (5) students' career development and further studies. The findings are coherent with their views of a role model. Students perceived role models benefit them not merely in the aspect of knowledge and skills, but also the values, professional identification and commitment as well as the career development.
Lastly, the study also endeavors to explain what contributes to the positive impacts of a role model on the learning of the students, using the generative mechanism of the critical realist approach as a framework for analysis. This study identified four mechanisms from the corpus that would lead to the positive impacts of role models. They are the positive experience mechanism, congruence mechanism, persistence mechanism, and the personal growth mechanism, respectively. Two themes merged from these four mechanisms, namely, teacher-student relationship and authenticity, which are closely related to the impacts of role modeling on students.
It is found that both teachers and students are equally important in contributing to role models' positive impacts. It is suggested that social work educators should set themselves as role models for their students instead of only imparting knowledge and skill. This study also draws insight from Levinas to discuss teacher-student relationship in social work education, that the integrity of social work educators does affect students' perception of the social work profession. Social worker educators should always be mindful of what they preach and what acts.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: restricted access

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