The MANDELA practice framework as a tool for strengths-based social work education

Tedam, Prospera, and Zuchowski, Ines (2014) The MANDELA practice framework as a tool for strengths-based social work education. In: Francis, Abraham P., Pulla, Venkat, Clark, Michael, Mariscal, E. Susanna, and Ponnuswami, Ilango, (eds.) Advancing Social Work in Mental Health through Strengths-Based Practice. Primrose Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, pp. 158-171.

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Strengths-based practice is an important framework and practice principle for social work practice. In social work education practice learning provides an opportunity for students to partake in strength based practice as they move towards becoming entry level practitioners. Moreover though, strength based models can form the foundation for supporting students in their development towards professional practice. This chapter explores the MANDELA model developed in the UK to support black African origin social work students in practice learning as an example of strength based work with students of diverse backgrounds. The chapter provides an example for current students and future educators to consider strength based learning, practice and teaching in culturally diverse contexts.

Conventional education models often do not deal well with difference. Generally they focus on the deficits of particular groups of students of diverse backgrounds and thus experiencing these students as a challenge. Deficit approaches focus on what the students are lacking and are often reinforced by findings that students of diverse back ground do poorer in tertiary education than other students. A strength-based perspective on practice puts the focus on what the student is bringing to practice learning, what they identify as areas for growth and how their own strengths and knowledge will contribute to make the practice learning opportunity successful.

Using the example of the MANDELA model developed for the work of black African students, this chapter highlights the importance of practice educator and student making time to get to know each other. Emphasis is put on the importance of learning about the student, their culture, educational background and life experiences. Practice educators and students need to enter safe learning environments in which they can focus on the students' strengths to advance the journey to professional social work practice.

Item ID: 33856
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-312-23230-3
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2014 23:34
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160799 Social Work not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9305 Education and Training Systems > 930503 Resourcing of Education and Training Systems @ 30%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939903 Equity and Access to Education @ 40%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939902 Education and Training Theory and Methodology @ 30%
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