SW Practice II
SW Practice II
- Utah School Social Work Association. 05/01/2023 - present. Position : Member.
- Wisconsin Council on Social Work Education. 04/06/2023 - present. Position : Vice president.
- Minnesota Social Service Agency. 01/01/2016 - present. Position : Member.
I believe a course is only as good as the outcome of student learning. As an educator, I diversify my instructional approach according to the unique learning needs of my students. My primary role is facilitating, consulting, and providing individualized support to enhance learning. I often utilize multiple methods of instruction to enhance student learning versus using a single textbook to guide course content. One method I employ for online asynchronous learning is the part of engagement with students. I make sure students see me several times a week to feel connected and engaged with the learning, the program, and myself as their educator. I offer a quick video overview of the content for the week, I provide a longer lecture to support making a connection with the theory(ies) learned to practice, I provide a variety of written, audio, and video feedback on graded assessments, and I send out reminders 24-hours before an assignment is due to let students know I am available if they need support in finishing their assignment.
I believe the greatest learning takes place when a course is well designed. I utilize a course alignment worksheet, informed by a Quality Matters framework (2013), to develop a course map. This map consists of linking together course level learning objectives, module level learning objectives, activities, and assessments. By developing a course in this way, all parties involved clearly understand how the activities and assessments align with the course objectives.
I believe it is important to enlist multiple forms of evidence to inform course revisions, such as formal and informal student surveys. In addition, applying the most up-to-date research from the field to inform learning modalities and delivery provides the opportunity to use best practices to scaffold student learning to achieve course objectives. This competency-based approach to course construction, delivery, and evaluation has been my scholarly activity since 2008 (Gervais, 2014). I have presented at a state and national level on implementing a competency-based model into social work curriculum. I am an active member of the Competency Studies Group on LinkedIn and was a reviewer for The Journal of Competency-based Education for four years.
I believe cultural humility is a stepping stone to help one become aware of their own biases and stereotypic beliefs. My philosophy of teaching includes developing students’ cultural humility as a foundation to grow cultural competence. While working at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, a professor in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program and I partnered to achieve our individual course objectives by developing a project where our students gained cultural awareness and language skills by working collaboratively together. Students in the social work program were able to learn cultural humility and competence skills by being paired with a TESOL student and completing a mini biopsychosocial assessment. Through this assessment, social work students practiced engagement and assessment skills and TESOL students practiced using their English speaking skills with social work students. I value partnerships across disciplines to help facilitate student competence.
I believe in using a competency-based approach for course construction and delivery. As such, it is important to me to always have one foot in the practice world to inform my pedagogy. I do this through my role as Vice President for the Wisconsin Council on Social Work Education, various committee roles with the University of Utah, and through my role as a generalist and clinical supervisor for licensed social workers in Minnesota.
A well-designed course using a competency-based approach, a diversified pedagogy that appeals to all learning styles, and offering a safe space for self-exploration to build competence, is the heart of my teaching philosophy.
MarylandOnline (2013). Quality matters program. In Quality matters program: Taking stock and
looking ahead. Retrieved April 11, 2013 from http://www.qmprogram.org/