Blurring the boundaries: a collaborative approach to language and learning support for social work students

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Grace, Marty, Daddow, Angela, Egan, Ronnie, Fox, John, Noble, Carolyn, O'Maley, Pauline, Ridley, Corinna and Testa, Doris (2011) Blurring the boundaries: a collaborative approach to language and learning support for social work students. In: Multiculturalism: Perspectives from Australia, Canada and China. 21–22 November 2011. Conference Proceedings. Harbon, Lesley and Woodrow, Lindy, eds. Faculty of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney, NSW, Australia, pp. 74-80.


Victoria University in melbourne, australia attracts students with diverse histories and cultural backgrounds. Academic staff of the Social Work Unit have a long history of working with staff from learning Support Services to assist students to develop their academic skills. In 2011, social work and learning support staff have worked together to develop a new collaborative approach to learning support, characterised by an ‘outreach’ approach of bringing highly contextualised learning support to the students in their social work course, rather than trying to encourage the students to attend separate learning support services. This new approach blurs the boundaries between the disciplinespecific teaching and the learning support. It was stimulated by the University’s pilot of a language literacy and numeracy (lln) strategy. Underpinning this approach is the idea that all students are being apprenticed into a new discursive space. Situated and explicit lln support is the focus, and staff approach lln in developmental rather than deficit terms. This paper describes the outreach approach and explores what made this collaborative approach possible. Some of the factors identified include shared commitment to a student-centred approach that works with strengths rather than deficits, and the compatibility of the critical social work approach of the social work staff with the critical literacy approach of the learning support staff.

Item type Book Section
Official URL
ISBN 9781742102610
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Historical > FOR Classification > 1607 Social Work
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > SEO Classification > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Curriculum Innovation Unit
Keywords ResPubID23570, ResPubID23886,social work course, collaborative approach, learning support
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