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Observations of Practice in Field Education: A Literature Review

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The Council on Social Work Education’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards state that assessment of students’ competence must involve observation in real or simulated practice situations (Council on Social Work Education, 2015). Observation in “real time” or, as termed in this paper, “observations of practice” can present challenges for both field education coordinators and field supervisors alike. While observing students in field placements seems to be essential, strategies for making this an everyday reality in social work field education can appear elusive. This literature review explores the various dimensions of observation. The review culminates with an analysis of the role of the field supervisor in creating, supporting, and planning for observations.

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