Associate Professor Denese Playford is one of three teachers from UWA recently recognised in the Federal government’s 2017 Australian Awards for University Teaching, Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning.
Denese was recognised for developing and leading innovative medical education programs using transformative learning experiences to inspire and prepare students to service rural and disadvantaged people.
Working in the tertiary sector since 2001, first in Broome, then in Port Hedland and Geraldton, Denese has devoted the past 10 years to The Rural Clinical School of Western Australia.
“I am motivated by the principles of adult learning; that learners are inherently motivated to acquire knowledge that responds to real world situations, and that they are partners in this acquisition process and so need to be involved at every step.”
“This partnership is what animates the RCSWA programme,” explains Denese. “It enables students to encounter substantial clinical and life challenges. These encounters transform students' cognitive frameworks, the way they see themselves and conceptualise problems through which they grow as people as well as professionals.”
Denese admits to being surprised by her award but as someone who finds nothing more satisfying than putting a teaching and learning program in place that enables students to accomplish their potential, she shouldn’t be.
“I find students really engage when the program is motivated by the principles of social justice, which has the added dimension of contributing to a larger scale need so that not only does the student grow intellectually and personally, but there’s a social benefit as well.“
”This kind of engagement equips students to seek further challenge, and so the learning loop continues. Transformative learning is also connected with wider scale social change, because it’s grounded in real-world challenges and accomplishments. This gives real energy to the teaching process.”
Associate Professor Denese Playford (UWA Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences) +61 8 6457 7241