Date of Dissertation

5-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Department

Social Work

Abstract

The deliberate formation of teacher-identities, philosophies, and pedagogical approaches, as well as the use of self-reflective practices, are essential to growth and development of social work educators. This banded dissertation focuses on the preparation of social work educators and explores the researcher’s development as a postmodern teacher/scholar. The constructivist paradigm is applied to both teaching and research and draws from both narrative theory and narrative inquiry in its theoretical framework. The first product addresses both the lack of attention given to preparing social work doctoral students for teaching in the academy and the infrequent use of self-reflective practices and research methods by social work educators and researchers. The author argues that doctoral students need to take the initiative to prepare themselves for teaching in higher education. By identifying four essential content areas and encouraging the use of reflective practices and research methods, she suggests a focused strategy for preparing to teach in social work education. The second product reports on the findings of a self-study research project in which the researcher examined the extent to which a constructivist philosophy was evident in her teaching. Findings operationalize specific constructivist teaching methods, describe the impact of these, and illuminate the internal process she experienced in her dual roles as researcher and teacher. The third product employs self-reflection, narrative inquiry, and autobiographical writing to consider pivotal life experiences and examine their influence on professional development. Using writing and poetry as methods of inquiry, the researcher explores the place, function, and power of story in shaping her teacher-identity, philosophy, and pedagogical approaches.

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