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Theme: Strategies and Innovations in Teaching and Learning

Engaging students’ interest in tertiary learning:
An experience based model of social work education

Dr Debbie Plath
Lecturer in social work, 1st year BSW coordinator
School of Social Sciences
University of Newcastle

How do we effectively engage students’ interest in learning? The Bachelor of Social Work degree at the University of Newcastle, Australia, uses an experience based model of education that emphasises the creative engagement of students on personal, interpersonal, professional and intellectual levels. This paper describes the model with reference to the educational theories on which it is based. The paper then explores three aspects that contribute to the student engagement process in first year. The first aspect is the use of learning “triggers”. The second is the encouragement of creative expression in the learning tasks undertaken. The third is facilitating the establishment of a professional social work identity for students. While these three aspects contribute to engaging the interest of students in tertiary education, they are not without their difficulties. The final section of the paper addresses some of the challenges faced in the process of student engagement.

Full Paper in MS Word

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