From strength to strength: An educational research journey using a Strengths Approach

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Literature on the use of “The Strengths Approach â€� (McCashen, 2005) in social services, notes it has potential for education that is still to be recognised. In this discussion paper, I explore that potential by both examining the literature about strengths based frameworks and by outlining an associated research project with Early Childhood pre-service teachers. I outline the context in which I used the literature to develop a strengths approach module to teach students about child protection within a core Early Childhood education subject. I also discuss the research methodology developed using a strengths approach to explore student responses to child protection. Preliminary findings from the literature and the associated development of the research project indicate a strengths approach to pre-service child protection training could provide a positive alternative, or addition to, the traditionally used, adjunct, child protection workshop. I argue, that, to counter the anxiety reported by teachers when dealing with child protection issues, an extended Strengths Approach could assist by preparing pre-service teachers to connect with and understand protection issues. By examining their own and others perspectives of child protection, pre-service teachers can examine their demanding child protection roles in depth. The Strengths Approach allows practitioners to build on their understandings by identifying and using strengths to formulate positive teaching strategies. Additionally, a rather unexpected finding of developing the research project was the unique opportunity to design and use collaborative, strengths based techniques for working authentically with research participants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-103
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Pedagogies and Learning
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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