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Applying ideas from learning and teaching in higher education to develop professional identity: the case of the MSc in advanced residential child care : the case of the MSc in advanced residential child care

Smith, M. (2005) Applying ideas from learning and teaching in higher education to develop professional identity: the case of the MSc in advanced residential child care : the case of the MSc in advanced residential child care. Child and Youth Care Forum, 34 (4). pp. 261-277. ISSN 1053-1890

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Abstract

Residential child care in Scotland is located, professionally, within social work. However, the very specific expertise required to work in the field is rarely accommodated in social work training or within wider social work discourses. The literature on learning and teaching in higher education helps illuminate some of the differences between the two disciplines. Within this literature, expertise is located in the practice experience of those who work in a particular field. Accordingly, the role of the M.Sc. could not be, merely, to transmit existing “formal” knowledge. Rather, it needed to contest much of this as that formal knowledge had not served residential child care well. It had to draw out the situated knowledge of students on the course and to synthesise this with understandings from the child and youth care tradition so that the course might begin to generate a discourse for residential child care that reflected and resonated with the experiences of practitioners.