Evidence-based teaching in social work : an assessment of pedagogical content, instructor awareness, and student motivational characteristics

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2014-08

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Tesh, Miki

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The objective of this dissertation is to bridge the gap between a body of work referred to in the educational sciences as Evidence-Based Teaching (EBT) and the literature of social work teaching. Despite an extensive body of literature available to guide higher education instructors in optimizing student motivation and learning outcomes, this knowledge base is underutilized in social work. Consequently, social work instructors may not be aware of teaching practices based on this research and are unlikely to be included in the dialogue since the majority of research on EBT investigates student rather than instructor characteristics. As EBT is based on the interaction between instructors and students in the classroom, understanding both perspectives is critical. This research began with a content analysis to uncovered areas of discussion in social work education, and particularly focused on EBT as it relates to social work learning outcomes. Next, a quasi-experimental study explored the utility of a metacognitive approach to increasing social work instructors' self-awareness of their teaching. This newly created metacognitive self-assessment tool holds promise for enhancing teaching practices. A third study explored Self-Determination Theory, Achievement Goal Orientation Theory, and situational motivation characteristics of social work undergraduate majors, compared to business, nursing, and engineering majors. Taken together, these three studies comprise a comprehensive body of work aimed at advancing social work education and engaging social work in the interdisciplinary EBT conversation with implications for strategies to achieve a discourse that is focused on social work faculty/instructor development and learning outcomes.

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