Mature-age students drawn to family violence studies

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Harnessing years of experience in family violence research and social commentary, Dr Ilsa Evans, pictured, spearheads family violence education at Chisholm. Ilsa is a passionate teacher and appreciates the diversity of ages and cultures that come together in her classroom, and she especially enjoys teaching TAFE students. “TAFE students are more motivated and engaged and it is an absolute pleasure to teach them. It’s also incredibly rewarding to watch their journey.”

Ilsa says family violence studies attract many mature-age students who are returning to study after years, but richer with their life experiences. “Mature-age students are fertile ground with many transferable skills. They have an enhanced appreciation for education and teaching them is always a collaborative effort. I personally identify with them because I was a mature-age student myself when I studied for my doctorate.”

At Chisholm, students studying family violence will receive practical skills and experience, assistance with use of technology, time and life-management skills, and one-on-one time with teachers. Ilsa and her team also work closely with the community services and social work industries to secure placements for students. “We network with industry and build relationships with key organisations to ensure that students to have the opportunity to join the workforce. Some of these placements actually turn out to be real jobs.”

In Ilsa’s experience, a common difficulty her students face is the inability to separate their personal experiences and opinions when working on academics for family violence. But she believes this can be overcome by teaching different techniques that encourage students to shift their thinking to evidence-based facts.

Ilsa’s advice to potential students is that family violence work, while very challenging, is also extremely rewarding. “In order to be the most effective practitioner, however, both for yourself and for your clients, a thorough understanding of the complexities of family violence is essential. Never stop researching and learning.”

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