What do we know the experiences and outcomes of anti-racist social work education? An empirical case study evidencing contested engagement and transformative learning

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


In social work education there have been very few attempts to
empirically capture and measure how professional training programmes
prepare students to work with ‘race’ equality and cultural
diversity issues. This paper interrogates the experiences and
outcomes of anti-racist social work education and evaluates the
pedagogic relevance and practice utility of teaching social work
students about ‘race’, racism and anti-racism. The data presented
in this paper suggests that it is possible to discover the situated
experiences of learning about anti-racism and measure how this
teaching can affect and lead to knowledge, skills and attitudinal
change. The triangulated mixed methods evidence presented in
this paper combines nomothetic and idiographic approaches with
quantitative data for a matched pair sample of 36 social work
students and uses non-parametric statistical tests to measure at
two time intervals (before and after teaching); knowledge, skills
and attitudinal change. The paper explores how anti-racist social
work education enables students to move from ‘magical consciousness
’, where racism and racial oppression is invisible and
thereby left unchallenged and maintained, to more critical and
reflexive level of awareness where it is named, challenged and no
longer shrouded in a culture of professional denial and silencing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-653
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number5
Early online date31 Mar 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Mar 2019



  • Anti-racism
  • anti-racist social work
  • critical pedagogy
  • emancipatory education
  • measuring educational outcomes
  • mixed methods research
  • positionality
  • race equality
  • researcher identity
  • transformative learning

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