Disrupting Western hegemonic approaches to social work education for Pacific learners

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Tunnicliffe, Craig
Hallie, Jason
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Conference Contribution - Oral Presentation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Mount Albert (Auckland, N.Z.)
Auckland (N.Z.)
New Zealand
social work students
Pasifika students
social work education
student success
Bachelor of Social Practice (BSP)
culturally inclusive pedagogy
decolonising social work education
Unitec courses
Te Pūkenga (Technical institute)
Tunnicliffe, C.E., & Hallie, J. (2022, July,1). Disrupting Western hegemonic approaches to social work education for Pacific learners [Paper presentation]. Te Manawa Reka Curiosity Symposium entitled Disruption: Research that addresses and celebrates change, Mokoia Campus, Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology and Te Pūkenga
In a context where disruption is on the horizon and a new unified curriculum will soon begin to shape the context of social work education in Aotearoa, there is a very real threat that difference and diversity may be overlooked and fall to the hegemony of western individualised approaches. It is therefore imperative to recognise the diversity within our cohort of learners, to maintain practices that work, and to continue to focus on parity of outcomes. This presentation will highlight the ways that supportive processes have contributed to student success with a particular focus on Pacific learners in Unitec’s social practice degree programme. It will highlight best practice within the creation of a support system called "Fono". The social practice Fono was created as a place where Pacific students go to complement their learning journey in a culturally safe and supportive place. This initiative came about after research was conducted by the Pacific Centre and social practice leadership on how to increase parity for Pacific students in addition to recruitment and retention. Talanoa style research has since been undertaken with a small group of Pacific students who are in the later stages of their degrees and have been the cornerstone of the ongoing success of Fono. Their experiences align with research around best practice for engaging and successful Pacific learners. This presentation will be made by lecturers in the programme who teach first year students, one of whom is the designated Pacific Champion for the department. They have an interest in research around the transformative nature of education and the related concept of ako, which can be used to validate the knowledge of a diverse student group.
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