Raising awareness of Australian Aboriginal peoples reality: Embedding Aboriginal knowledge in social work education through the use of field experiences

Deb Duthie, PhD, Julie King, PhD, Jenni Mays, PhD


Effective social work practice with Aboriginal peoples and communities
requires knowledge of operational communication skills and practice
methods. In addition, there is also a need for practitioners to be aware of
the history surrounding white engagement with Aboriginal communities
and their cultures. Indeed, the Australian Association of Social Workers
(AASW) acknowledges the importance of social workers practising
cultural safety. Engendering knowledge of cultural safety for social
work students is the opportunity to listen and talk with Aboriginal people
who have experienced the destructive impacts of colonisation and the
subsequent disruption to family and community. This article discusses
the use of field experiences within a Masters of Social Work (Qualifying)
Program (MSW) as an educational method aimed at increasing student
awareness of contemporary Aboriginal issues and how to practice
effectively and within a culturally safe manner.

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