Social Work
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Teaching and Learning Philosophy

Our teaching and learning philosophy, in the first instance, is student-centred, encompassing teaching methods and techniques that put students' interests first, as central to the learning experience, based on the values of the Department.

The lecturer educates and the student is being taught.​​

Both the lecturer and the student are involved in the education and they learn from each other.
The lecturer is the all-knowing expert and the student is the lay person.The lecturer admits that he/she is not the all-knowing expert and appreciates and utilises the student's knowledge and experience.
The lecturer takes full responsibility for critical reflection on learning material.The lecturer and the student are jointly involved in critical, reflective and imaginative thinking.
The lecturer mostly talks and the student listens.Both the lecturer and the student talk and listen.
The lecturer makes the decisions and the student implements them.The lecturer and the student make joint decisions, based on what is meaningful to both.
The lecturer controls the learning and teaching process and the student is being controlled.The lecturer and the student strive to meet each other's needs instead of maintaining a system of control.


Our teaching and learning philosophy, in the second instance, is value-driven, which is a practical, analytical and decision-making frame of reference that lecturers and students can use to guide actions and make determinations in all teaching and learning processes. Our five core values centre on excellence, accountability and integrity, human dignity and respect, innovation and criticality, and ownership and leadership.

In the third instance, our student-centred, value-driven teaching and learning philosophy is grounded in adult education principles.

We acknowledge that students:

  • are autonomous and self-directed, want to exercise choice and will only learn when they are motivated and enthusiastic;
  • learn best when they enjoy the learning process, learning material a​nd learning methods;
  • have accumulated a foundation of life experiences, knowledge, skills and values which they want to be acknowledged, respected and incorporated into their learning experience;
  • are goal oriented, and will set their own goals and learning pace, and know what, when and how they want the learning to take place;
  • are relevancy-oriented and must see a reason and usefulness for learning something;
  • learn better in an informal and relaxed environment, which stimulates them to be involved and to participate;
  • need constant feedback on their performances and seek opportunities to reflect on their learning;
  • appreciate a movement in learning from simple and concrete material to complex and abstract material;
  • want to experience empathy and support, and a non-judgmental, facilitative environment;
  • desire to acquire a variety of teaching methods and strategies, adjusted and personalised to fit their established learning styles.