Teaching through the tension – an approach to resolving schism in the classroom

Melville-Wiseman, J. (2011) Teaching through the tension – an approach to resolving schism in the classroom. In: Beyond Belief: Exploring the Impact of Religion and Belief on Professional Practice’, 7-9 September 2011, University of Bradford.

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This paper is based on the development of a unique approach to teaching post
graduate pre-registration MA in Social Work students in a UK Christian Foundation
University. The need to develop this approach arose from a cohort of students who
raised concerns about considerable tension within the group and a subsequent
schism. The cause of this appeared to be that one faction was openly expressing
their faith based views that homosexuality was sinful. The other faction was
expressing views that anyone who asserts such views should not be allowed to
practice social work. The aim was to bring the group together again to ensure they
could continue on their learning journey together.

The paper describes the process of negotiating different procedural imperatives
relating to the law and the regulation of social work education and anti-discriminatory
practice in these areas. It then focuses on how this classroom schism mirrored
similar divisions within the wider community. The multi-dimensional approach that
was developed to resolve the tension through teaching as opposed to other
interventions is then presented. This included the promotion of reflection in
conjunction with debate; re-focusing on what is, and what is not a social work task; a
shared recognition of how claims to anti-discriminatory practice can only ever be
partial; and a recognition that it was possible for both groups to develop social work
compatible values from either starting point.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1025 Teaching (Principles and practice)
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Wellbeing > School of Public Health, Midwifery and Social Work
Depositing User: Dr Janet Melville-Wiseman
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2015 08:47
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2015 08:47
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/13294

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00