University of KwaZulu-Natal third-year male Social Work students’ experiences of group work practice with school children.
Thobela, Zakhele Charles.
MetadataShow full item record
The Social Work profession in South Africa has been generally dominated by females. However, various studies have evidently revealed that over the recent years men have been slowly occupying this female dominated female field of work. This has influenced the gender expectations of the profession and the roles of men in it, especially when men enter this field. Societal perceptions of males place in society and the type of jobs that are appropriate for men may influence the experiences and service of men involved. When looking at the number of social work students, males are a minority in the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) programmes, a reality that warrants exploration as the academy strives for greater diversity within preservice social work. Male social work students are studying in what may be considered a female-dominated profession, and indirectly experience fear of feminization and stigmatization. This study focused on the experiences and challenges of UKZN male social work students during their group work practice with school children. This study explored the experiences of third-year male social work students’ involvement in group work practice in their practicum at Nsimbini, Wiggins, and Mayville primary schools. These primary schools are situated in Durban, (Mayville, Chesterville and Cato Manor) respectively. As one of the three methods employed in social work, the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal’s social work department established a program which intends to equip and familiarise students about group work practice. A qualitative approach was used, with purposive and snowball sampling used as methods of sample selection whilst interviews were utilized for data collection. Findings suggest that gender played a factor that shaped and influenced the experiences of male social work students in children’s group work sessions. Culture also played a significant role on how children perceived and interacted with male social work students. The study revealed some underlying socially constructed perceptions on gendered cultural norms where children continue to treat male figures with great respect. The research also highlighted some gender stereotypes, stigmas and gendered perceptions which formed an important finding that related to the study. Male social work students’ gender did influence how children responded to and participated in group work session. This study has demonstrated a need for further research which will focus on the gender stereotypes, stigmas and gender perceptions of the social work profession as experienced by male social work students.