‘I love MANDELA’: The man,
the model and social work
practice supervision
NOPT Conference
Ruskin College, Oxford
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
Aims & Objectives
• To introduce the MANDELA model as a tool to aid
supervision of students in practice learning
• To stimulate dialogue and discussion about practice
educator-student relationships within placement settings,
with particular reference to Black African students
• To examine the findings arising from an ongoing evaluation
of the application of the model.
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
2008- Original ‘Padare’ study- (Bartoli et al 2008)
2009- Chapter on ‘Understanding Diversity’ in An Introduction to early childhood
2010- Research with the Open University ‘What contributes to the success of BME
students in health and social care?
2011- Practice Teaching Conference in Bournemouth- ‘What does fetching water have to
do with social work theories’
2012- Developed the MANDELA model
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
In terms of difficulties arising in practice learning, Black
African students suggest that:
• “Even more than colour is the accents” (Bernard et al
• “another world’”- (Bartoli et al 2008)
• “ experience of racism” (Razack 2001)
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
What does existing research tell us?
• Male students and students from BME backgrounds are more
likely to fail practice placements than any other group (Furness
• ‘supervision is more than a professional activity; it is also a
personal relationship requiring a great deal of investment of time,
knowledge, skill, and commitment’ (Everett et al. 2011: 262.)
• BME student participants identified that it was discriminatory
behaviours and attitudes among practice assessors, other
professionals, and service users that contributed to the
differences between their experiences and those of their white
peers (Bernard et al 2011:71)
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
The Model
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Make Time
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Acknowledge Needs
• Learning needs (could include dyslexia, time
management, writing and reflective skills)
• Personal needs (childcare and other caring
responsibilities, spirituality and faith, health etc)
• Team needs (targets, ways of working, policies, team
• Organisational needs (targets, structure and
restructuring, processes)
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• Sexuality
• Gender
• Disability
• Age
• Faith/Religion
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Educational Experiences
• Previous educational experiences
(location, type, size and level)
• Understanding of current experience
• Understanding of practice learning
• Educational goals & aspirations
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Life Experiences
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• Direct questioning-
(age range , etc)
• Indirect questioning using historical events
(war, end of apartheid, world cup events etc)
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The Man
• Social justice
The Model
• Social justice
• Equality
• Equality
• Fairness
• Fairness
• Patience
• Patience
• Tolerance
• Tolerance
• Empowerment
• Empowerment
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
rights and promote social justice and economic wellbeing
DIVERSITY - Recognise diversity and apply anti-discriminatory and
anti-oppressive principles in practice
PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP - Take responsibility for the
professional learning and development of others through
supervision, mentoring, assessing, research, teaching, leadership
and management
KNOWLEDGE - Apply knowledge of social sciences, law and social work
practice theory Social workers understand psychological, social, cultural,
spiritual and physical influences on people; human development throughout
the life span and the legal framework for practice. They apply this
knowledge in their work with individuals, families and communities. They
know and use theories and methods of social work practice.
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
Professional Standards (PEPS)
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• What are your initial thoughts about the MANDELA model
so far?
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The Northampton Experience
• The model was included in the Practice Learning handbook
for PE’s to use during supervision with students as
• Yr 3 (100 day placement) October 2012-March 2013
• Yr 2 (60 day placement) January 2013-March 2013
• Students and PE’s received training and guidance about its
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
• Qualitative
• Around 90 students
Data gathered from:
• Post training evaluation
• Practice Learning Portfolios
• Student supervision Records with PE’s
• PE Placement reports
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
Practice Educator views
• ‘While undertaking the MANDELA model in supervision, it
was interesting to use the technique to find out more
information about the person and the different experiences
that people have’.
• ‘This is a model that social workers can use with their
service users but would be more pertinent to working with
teenagers or those Leaving Care’
• ‘She said she had never really talked this frankly before or
in so much detail. I think using Mandela had given her
both courage and permission’. (PE, De Montford)
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
Practice Educator views
• I approached its use cautiously, but was pleased I used it,
especially about making time as I work part-time and my
student has engaged with it’ (PE, C&F)
• ‘The model rings so true, for me, anyway......it took me
back to my A levels where one of my teachers was very
passionate about seeing the end to apartheid’. (PE CAMHS)
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
Students views
• ‘I found it useful in setting the scene’.
• ‘I found it fascinating for you to try to know me and appreciate
me for who I am without trying to change me’.
• ‘It made me regard my past experiences as a valuable learning
• ‘I think what is important to us (African students) is acceptance
and acknowledgement of our learning and development needs
within the social work arena.
• ‘I was able to discuss with you things that might otherwise have
been sensitive if there was no Mandela model’.
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
Students views
‘I have been able to talk about my needs without feeling
‘It has helped me reflect more deeply on who I am’
‘ My PT was not really interested in looking at the model,
when had my PT and I looked at the differences e.g
gender, race, learning styles, issues of power, he would
have picked up that there were some issues there. A
couple of times he mentioned that he had never had a
female student, already by saying that to me, he was
actually saying we are going to have some issues here’.
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
Students views
• The use of the MANDELA model enabled me to achieve an
insight to each individual’s life experiences and I felt that
using the model was rewarding because I made time to
communicate, interact and build relationships with most of
the young people I worked with”.
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
Is MANDELA controversial? (The man and/or the model)
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Is MANDELA Controversial?
‘ it could be used to delve too deep into a students private life
that could make them feel uncomfortable’ (Student)
‘ it could be used as a "task" to complete with out having any
real impact upon the relationship between student and PT’
‘I don’t need the University to teach me how to suck eggs. I
won’t be using it’ (PE)
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
A lecturers view
• ‘I love the Mandela model. Whilst your article focused
primarily on using this within a practice learning context I
think you could also explore further it's relevance and
application to L&T as a diversity awareness and reflexive
learning tool.
• ‘there seems to be a lack of appreciation for the unique life
trajectories of black African students. The assumptions and
sometimes attitudes towards them are generally based
upon deficit rather than strength models’
(Academic, London HEI)
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
Future considerations.....
• Continue to encourage the use of the model on our
undergraduate programme
• Consider a wider evaluation of its use (by others!)
• Promote it as an anti-oppressive framework for use in a
range of supervisory situations
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
• The quality of the student-practice teacher relationship will
depend on a range of variables not a single variable.
• The journey towards enhancing equality in the practice
learning relationship between the social work student and
their practice assessor/educator is a long and windy road
with pit stops, diversions and sometimes dead ends.
• The MANDELA model being is being proposed to facilitate
this process for students and PE’s.
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Africa has gold, diamond and Nelson Mandela!
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
Bartoli, A; Kennedy, S & Tedam, P (2008) Practice Learning: Who is Failing to Adjust? Black African student
experience of practice learning in a social work setting. Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning. Vol 8 no 2
Daniel, C (2011) Lessons learned. Pedaogical Tensions and struggles with instruction on Multiculturalism in
Social Work Education programmes. Social work Education: The International Journal. Vol 3:3 .250-265
Bernard, C., Fairtlough, A., Fletcher, J. and Ahmet, A. (2011) Diversity and Progression among Social Work
Students in England. Goldsmiths, University of London.
Razack, N (2001) Diversity and difference in the field education encounter: Racial minority students in the
practicum. Social Work Education: The International Journal. Vol 20: 219-232
Tedam, P. (2012)The MANDELA model of practice learning: An old present in new wrapping? Journal of
practice teaching and learning. Vol 11 (2) 60-76
Willcoxson, L (1998) The Impact of Academics Learning and Teaching Preferences on their teaching
practices. A Pilot study. Studies in Higher Education Vol 23:1 59-70
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013
Contact Details
Mrs. Prospera Tedam
Senior Lecturer & Programme Lead
Division of Social Work
University Of Northampton
Boughton Green Road
Email- [email protected]
Tel: 01604892135
Prospera Tedam 4th July 2013

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