Working the boundaries: a dialogical narrative analysis of social work practice educators' stories
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AbstractPractice educators facilitate and assess the learning and professional development of social work students on placement. Ongoing political dispute about the nature and purpose of social work in England creates complexity that impacts on the perception and positioning of practice educators in social work education. This thesis explores practice educators’ experiences with a view to gaining fresh insight into how they position themselves, and are positioned by others, in this landscape. Within a qualitative, interpretivist narrative research design, practice educators’ experiences were gathered in the form of stories during semi-structured conversational-interviews. The participants were chosen by purposeful sampling. Dialogical narrative analysis (Frank, 2010) was used to analyse and interpret the stories. Frank (2010) describes dialogical narrative analysis as a method of questioning. It is underpinned by the premises that people think with stories and not just about them (Frank 2010), and that they transmit their theories and explanations of experience through stories (Shay, 2006; 2008a). New understandings of practice educators have been developed from the research, including fresh insight into their roles as facilitators and assessors of learning, and evaluators of learning experiences. Their role as boundary workers is also explored and a better understanding of the boundaried nature of the practice learning landscape in which they work has been developed. The capacity of practice educators to deploy relational agency in their role as boundary workers is discussed, along with consideration of the ways in which practice educators’ capacity for agency can be impeded by structural forces. The implications of these new understandings have informed recommendations to enhance practice educators’ recognition, to support their activity as a collective and develop their capacity to exercise their agency.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Education.
SponsorsUniversity of Wolverhampton, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing.
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- Creative Commons
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