Pedagogies for developing students' professional identity in neo-conservative environments

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Our presentation details changes we have made to course content to centralise professional identity in our curriculum. As social work educators it is important to ensure students develop a professional identity that can withstand and challenge dominant discourses inconsistent with a social work value base. Many Western countries are immersed in dominant discourses, especially neo-conservativism, which prioritise organisational loyalty and generic roles over professional identity. This conflicts with our core values of social justice and human rights. Our endeavours at Charles Sturt University prompt students to critically reflect on the development and sustainability of professional identity, in the face of oppressive discourses. We call for further reflection and action among social work educators and the wider profession about students’ development of professional identity. There is also a need for further research to explore whether graduates emerge from university study with a professional social work identity that can not only challenge but transform dominant discourses.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventANZSWWER Symposium 2017 - University of Auckland, Epsom Campus, Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 07 Sept 201708 Sept 2017 (conference website) (conference program) (Conference abstracts)


ConferenceANZSWWER Symposium 2017
Abbreviated titleChallenging Dominant Discourses
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
OtherANZSWWER was previously known as the Australian Association for Social Work and Welfare Education (AASWWE).

ANZSWWER, an independent commentator on social work and welfare education, encourages membership from social work and welfare educators, field supervisors, practitioners and students in Australia and New Zealand. Together we work towards sustainable, quality and world class social work and welfare education through networking, national and international relationships, our journal, annual symposium and the recognition of achievements in the field.
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