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How do youth work students develop their professional values during qualifying education?

GATENBY, HELEN,JULIE (2019) How do youth work students develop their professional values during qualifying education? Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis explores how youth work students develop their professional values during qualifying education. It reveals how students accommodate, work with, and reconcile their personal values within the frame of reference of professional work; how an understanding of informal education principles and practices enables this synthesis; and how students in this study used paired-learning methods, journals and individual and group reflection on their practice to navigate this process.

The research was conducted using a longitudinal case study of several cohorts of students studying on a JNC-accredited youth work degree course, taught in a faith-based college. Interviews and student learning journals afforded rich data. The reflective nature of the interviews – inviting participants to read and comment on their previous answers in subsequent interviews – gave participants a unique opportunity to reflect on, review and appraise their earlier statements. This gave rise to some surprising and important disclosures around their ‘value-talk’; and enabled participants to reflect on their growing sense of self, professional identity and the process of change they understood they had undergone.

This study endorses previous findings that assessment creates significant anxiety in students, particularly those in the early stages of their course, leading them to be less than open about their real values, their struggles, their thinking and their practice. However, it also shows, importantly, that creative teaching and learning strategies that draw on the principles and practices of informal education support students to critically engage in their professional values development within the assessed course structure. The thesis concludes that, as values are central to youth work, it is essential that appropriate space for values development, a core professional competency, is fostered within the formal course structure, in order to avoid professional values development being relegated to a peripheral role and considered ‘optional’.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Youth Work Values, Professional Values Development, Youth Work, Informal Education, Learning Journals, One-to-One Paired Learning, Youth Work Education
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:12 Jun 2019 07:57

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