Teaching and learning in adult and higher education, the example of anti-racism and anti-oppression training for social work field instructors

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Lavoie, Tracey
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The purpose of this study was to explore which content and teaching methods best facilitate field instructors' learning about anti-racism and anti-oppression issues and assist them in teaching students the skills to incorporate these issues in their work. Coupled with examining issues related to the content, format, impact and organizational context of training, determining future training needs of field instructors was another focus of this study. Based on the purpose of the research and my own learning goals, a qualitative research approach was utilized in this study. In-person and telephone interviews were conducted with field instructors affiliated with the two Canadian universities. The findings indicate that social work field instructors prefer a participatory approach in their learning at anti-racism and anti-oppression training events, as well as in their own field teaching. Training provides field instructors with opportunities to build new knowledge about the issues, affirms their current knowledge and efforts in this area and offers them creative strategies to take action regarding anti-racism and anti-oppression. The agency climate was found to impact the nature and degree of anti-racist and anti-oppressive field education. Field instructors also provided numerous insights for future training events. Recommendations for future training events include mandatory anti-oppression and anti-racism training for new and veteran field instructors; opportunities for on-going networking and dialogue between stakeholders; the development and dissemination of written resources; the enhancement of social work curricula to include greater emphasis on the issues; and the promotion of additional research in this area of social work education.