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Title: The study of social work agencies in fieldwork learning in Hong Kong
Author: Chan, Yee May
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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This research explores the role social work agencies play in enhancing or restricting critical reflective learning of fieldwork students in Hong Kong. The purpose of conducting this research is twofold: First, it seeks to understand the role, responsibility and experience of social work agencies in fieldwork education. Second, it seeks to uncover how critical reflective learning has been conceived and the ways in which it is enhanced or hindered in the agency context under the existing welfare environment in Hong Kong. The research is designed as an exploratory study which aims to seek understanding about the experience of agencies as well as that of the social work students with regard to critical reflection during fieldwork. In-depth interviews with fifteen social workers and focus groups with students are conducted to collect their views and experience in the field. The findings suggest that fieldwork is regarded by most participants as a one-way process of learning whereby practice in the field is the end result of social work learning. Agency's role is to help students fit-in, adjust, and practice in accordance with the practice requirements and within the boundary of the agency but not to question agency routines. This is largely more favourable to competence-based learning approaches. Critical reflection, if considered, is merely narrowly conceived in fieldwork learning. The lack of critical reflection in social work is embedded in the competence-oriented social work belief where there is a hierarchy in social work practice in which practice is primary while critical reflection is only secondary. Overall, the findings reveal that in the current social welfare context of Hong Kong, fieldwork agency has not become an ideal learning site where critical reflection of students is adequately supported or enhanced, nor it is a place where critical reflective practice has been encouraged. To address these problems, it is suggested that there is a need to re -examine the role of social work agencies in fieldwork so as to maximise critical reflective learning in the field, and there is also a need to make critical reflective learning an avowed objective of fieldwork learning in order to address the changing needs of the service users. Concrete steps are recommended to make fieldwork agencies become more conductive to critical reflective learning. It is hoped that the findings of this research can help social work educators, fieldwork supervisors and agency mentors to reflect upon the current realities of fieldwork learning in the agency context and to identify ways to strengthen the capacity of agencies in enhancing the critical reflection of students.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available