Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Supervisor

Associate Professor Pauline Meemeduma


The 1990s has witnessed two 'institutions' in 'crisis': higher education and social work. In higher education. government has brandished its quality sword and the long-neglected area of teaching is prominent in the war cry. In social work, major stakeholders have constructed the crisis as the 'theory/practice problematic' and the systemic intervention has been the prima facie increasing power of non-academic bodies to shape social work curriculum. This study is set within this context of quality teaching and theory/practice issues. It is an action research study of the teaching and learning dynamic of a first year social work subject which seeks to 'answer' the question: how do we best teach beginning social work students to grapple with theory/practice issues, or more specifically, how do we best teach them to think theoretically and critically about action?