Teaching Matters

PS6 R5 Reflections on teaching cultural safety to healthcare students: Comparing online and face-to-face delivery

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Teaching Matters 2020 | Presentation Details | 1 December 20201 Dec 2020


Reflections on teaching cultural safety to healthcare students: Comparing online and face-to-face delivery


  • Rachael Jones, School of Social Sciences, CALE
  • Robyn Moore, School of Social Sciences, CALE*
  • Kim McLeod, School of Social Sciences, CALE
  • Natalie Maystorovich, School of Social Sciences, CALE*


Digital connections

Presentation Type

Showcase Presentation


Room 5




While substantial scholarship about online teaching exists; to date there has not been sustained engagement with how online classrooms mediate dimensions of cultural safety education, for students or teachers. In this presentation we report on a collaborative, mixed-methods research project which compares online and face-to-face delivery for cultural safety education. The aim of the project is to identify strengths and limitations of each format, and to support teachers who deliver this training.

We used collaborative team research to undertake the project. Tutors for units on cultural safety shared their written reflections about online teaching with other research participants, and participated in collaborative reflective conversations. Our method was not solely focused on data collection, but also aimed to cultivate a community of practice.

The collaborative reflective conversations were recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically. Preliminary findings explored student reluctance to use their cameras or, to a lesser extent, microphones. This led to tutors being unable to gauge student responses, while simultaneously feeling surveilled. It also inhibited the development of rapport, which tutors consider essential for effective teaching in this space. An unanticipated outcome was the presence of the ‘digital divide’ among university students.

The findings illustrate how the online space mediates teachers’ and students’ experiences of emotional labour, student resistance and co-learning, which are key dimensions of cultural safety education in shared physical spaces.

The presentation concludes by outlining the contribution the project makes to the development of knowledge about best practice in relation to cultural safety training.

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