From strength to strength: an educational research journey using a strengths approach

Fenton, Angela (2008) From strength to strength: an educational research journey using a strengths approach. International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 4 (5). pp. 90-103.

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Literature on the use of The Strengths Approach1 (McCashen, 2005) in social services, notes that this approach has potential for education that is still to be recognised. In this discussion paper, I explore that potential by both examining the literature about strengths based frameworks and by outlining an associated research project with Early Childhood pre-service teachers. I outline the context in which I used the literature to develop a strengths-approach module to teach students about child protection within a core Early Childhood education subject. I also discuss the research methodology developed using a strengths-approach to explore student responses to the issue of child protection.

Preliminary findings from the literature and the associated development of the research project indicate a strengths-approach to pre-service child protection training could provide a positive alternative, or addition to, the traditionally used, adjunct, child protection workshop. I argue, that, to counter the anxiety reported by teachers when dealing with child protection issues, an extended Strengths Approach could assist by preparing pre-service teachers to connect with and understand protection issues. By examining their own and others' perspectives of child protection, pre-service teachers can examine their demanding child-protection roles in depth. The Strengths Approach allows developing practitioners to build on their understandings by identifying and using their strengths to formulate positive teaching strategies. Additionally, an unexpected finding of developing this research project was that it provided a unique opportunity to design and use collaborative, strengths-based techniques for working in a more authentic way with the research participants/pre-service teachers.

Item ID: 19408
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1833-4105
Keywords: strengths approach, child protection education, pre-service teacher education
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2012 05:40
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified @ 50%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators @ 50%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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