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Student, Practitioner, or Both? Separation and Integration of Identities in Professional Social Care Education

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This paper presents and discusses some of the findings from a qualitative study of identities in work-related learners. The theoretical framework of structural symbolic interactionism is outlined and the two identities of interest, that of student and practitioner, discussed. The aim of professional education is viewed as enabling the practitioner to better deal with ambiguity and change through critical examination of work practices and location of these within theoretical frameworks. It is argued that for knowledge and behaviour to transfer to the work setting, the student and worker identities need to be integrated rather than kept separate. Factors identified as influencing the integration and separation of the social identities of student and social care practitioner are discussed.
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Keywords: Adult Learning; Assessment; Higher Education; Professional Development; Reflection; Social Care Practitioner; Social Identity; Students; Symbolic Interactionism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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