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  1. 1. Creative practice and research synergies: changing lives through mentoring and listening to the voices of potentially excluded learners Nasra Bibi, Linda Douglas, Mo McPhail
  2. 2. Identified need …. <ul><li>BMEG - Black and Minority Ethnic </li></ul><ul><li>Action plan Sub-Group (SSSC 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>recommends: </li></ul><ul><li>Employers and education providers.. “ should promote the diversification of the social services workforce by </li></ul><ul><li>Considering what action they should take to encourage and support people from BME communities into the workforce , eg. Targeted trainee schemes, support for students applying to courses and while on courses”….. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Research –based practice <ul><li>1. Educating Sita: Black and </li></ul><ul><li>Minority Ethnic entrants into </li></ul><ul><li>social work training in </li></ul><ul><li>Scotland ( Singh, 1999) </li></ul><ul><li>2. Listening to the Silence; Black and Minority Ethnic People in Scotland talking about social work ( Singh, 2005) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Educating Sita: Black and Minority Ethnic entrants into social work training in Scotland <ul><li>An overview of social work </li></ul><ul><li>education for BME students in Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>in 1999 indicated; </li></ul><ul><li>“ the importance with which the issue of equal opportunities is taken by those involved in social work education and training in Scotland”… </li></ul><ul><li>And that “ policy and practices are of a piecemeal fashion, fragmented in approach and uncoordinated in strategy ” (Singh, 1999 p. 20) </li></ul>
  5. 5. As a direct result of this research… <ul><li>A consultancy service was set up for BME social work students </li></ul><ul><li>Characterised by; </li></ul><ul><li>Partnership with a community based Multi-Cultural family support and practice learning resource, a BME consultant and social work education providers </li></ul><ul><li>Partnership between 4 universities </li></ul><ul><li>A rolling programme of support and consultancy, based on a strengths based approach </li></ul><ul><li>See Seminar report :” Have we got it Right?( 2006) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Listening to the Silence; Black and Minority Ethnic People in Scotland talking about social work (Singh, 2005) <ul><li>An action research based approach, employing BME researchers to research within own community networks </li></ul><ul><li>Looked at historical context of social welfare and the context of racism in Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Findings – difficult to get a clear perception, very vague notion of social work and some inaccurate ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Identified paradox that BME communities are the most disadvantaged communities across a range of domains but have little understanding or contact with social services </li></ul>
  7. 7. Signposts from this research… <ul><li>An understanding of the need for accurate </li></ul><ul><li>information of social work relevant to the needs of BME communities </li></ul><ul><li>Universities should develop links with local BME communities, developing networks and relationships, open day events, seminars in partnership with BME organisations </li></ul><ul><li>Social work programmes should consider how BME students are supported from access through to employment </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of a strengths based approach as opposed to a ‘deficit’ model </li></ul>
  8. 8. The resultant model: <ul><li>Partnership between social work providers and local BME organisations </li></ul><ul><li>Shared networking, community based Information Events </li></ul><ul><li>BME mentoring and language support services for BME learners </li></ul><ul><li>Theoretical basis : Black Community development model and a strengths based approach, in recognition of institutional barriers in predominately white education providers </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding of complexity of potentially excluded learners across race and ethnicity, gender, disability and socio-economic class </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of influencing a social services curriculum that connects to Scotland’s diverse communities </li></ul>
  9. 9. Ideas into Practice – the Project Worker’s story <ul><li>The experience of co-ordinating ideas into practice </li></ul><ul><li>Achievements and challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the voices of potentially excluded learners </li></ul>
  10. 10. The experience of co-ordinating
  11. 11. Ideas into practice <ul><li>Taking a community development approach -Where in black people are the experts and catalyst for bringing about change, learning is a tool used to strengthen communities by improving people's knowledge, skills and confidence. organisational ability and resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Developing partnerships with mainstream providers was crucial in our overall goal regarding institutional responsibility and change </li></ul><ul><li>MCFB role in accessing community networks and history of working with local families, relationships built on trust. </li></ul><ul><li>Continuous evaluation with mentors and learners helped develop appropriate curriculum which does not place black people in the place of ‘other’ – different or deficient </li></ul><ul><li>Role of BME mentors and language support tutor evolved through experience, traditional concept of mentor didn’t transfer neatly to learners needs – mentors useful at different points </li></ul><ul><li>Language support tutor influenced curriculum content as a direct result of listening to the voices of learners </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of having BME mentors as positive role models. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Challenges <ul><li>Community Development with people who have been excluded is a long term process, doesn’t fit in neatly with a target driven economy </li></ul><ul><li>Encouraging an intersectional analysis of inequality and securing commitment to embedding learning within mainstream providers </li></ul><ul><li>Resources, adequate funding and time </li></ul>
  13. 13. The voices of learners <ul><li>“ I enjoyed Understanding Society because it made me think, read and write in English, but I could not do this course without the language support.” </li></ul><ul><li>Black learner </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Understanding Children reader was really good. It’s been useful for my own children and for my job as a crèche worker” </li></ul><ul><li>Black learner </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ For the first time a student used the telephone to communicate in English’. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ A very shy woman now comes regularly into MCFB and communicates with Project staff’. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback from mentors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ I couldn’t have done it without all the support but I did do it” </li></ul>
  14. 14. Participation <ul><li>November 2005-March 2006 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>9 participants in the first short course </li></ul></ul><ul><li>September 2006-January 2007 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>11 participants in the second series of courses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>June 2007-October 2007 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>6 participants in the third services of courses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Service users include 26 individuals from North African, Asian, and Polish backgrounds </li></ul>
  15. 15. BME mentoring and support <ul><li>The experience of mentoring/ </li></ul><ul><li>consultancy </li></ul><ul><li>The experience of being a mentor </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the voices of potentially </li></ul><ul><li>excluded learners </li></ul>
  16. 16. Identifying individual and institutional challenges <ul><li>Consider the following </li></ul><ul><li>case studies; </li></ul><ul><li>What action could be taken to support the BME students in these situations? </li></ul><ul><li>What action does the course provider need to consider? </li></ul><ul><li>What learning from this workshop can you take back and apply in your own organisation? </li></ul>