Post-print of: Hughes, M & Heycox, K 2005, 'Promoting reflective practice with older people: learning and teaching strategies', Australian Social Work, vol. 58, no. 4, pp. 344-356.
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Social work with older people is often characterised as low status employment and is dominated by medicalised constructions of old age. Consequently, there is a need for educational responses that address students’ negative attitudes toward older people and enable the development of practice skills in this area. The present paper evaluates an elective course for third year social work students that challenged their perceptions of their own and others’ ageing, and stimulated a reflective approach to practice with older people. Reflective learning techniques were employed in the course, including observations in aged care service settings. Students in the course showed a high degree of interest in working with older people in the future and, although this did not increase much throughout the course, they evaluated it positively, noting greater awareness of issues affecting older people.