All social work education articles

Field Education With External Supervision: Supporting Student Learning

Published October 2015

by Ines Zuchowski, PhD
James Cook University
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Abstract: The importance of field education in preparing social work students for professional practice is globally acknowledged. At times considered less desirable than placements with internal supervision, current workplace and tertiary education contexts see an increase in field education with external supervision. This paper reports on qualitative research that explored the experiences of key stakeholders in social work field education with external supervision in Australia. Findings highlight that field education with external supervision, like other social work practice learning opportunities, is focused on learning about practicing social work. Potential and inherent challenges of placements with external supervision are discussed.

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Evaluating Social Work Education Outcomes: The SWEAP Field Practicum Placement Assessment Instrument (FPPAI)

Published April 2015

by Brian Christenson, PhD
Capella University

Tobi Delong-Hamilton, PhD
University of Utah

Patrick Panos, PhD
University of Utah

Kathryn Krase, PhD
Long Island University, Brooklyn

Victoria Buchan, PhD
Colorado State University

Dorothy Farrel, PhD
Colorado State University

Tameca Harris-Jackson, PhD
Texas A&M University

Ruth Gerritsen-McKane, PhD
University of Utah

Roy Rodenhiser, EdD
Boise State University
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Abstract: This manuscript reports on the development, piloting and validation of the Field Placement/Practicum Assessment Instrument (FPPAI). The FPPAI is a measure of student attainment in social work field practicum/placement under the 2008 Education Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) of the Council on Social Work Education. The tool is designed for use by field instructors in undergraduate and foundation year graduate social work programs. Competency of 457 students from 19 undergraduate social work programs, across 18 states, was measured over three years. Analysis supports the reliability, validity, and utility of the FPPAI as an outcome measure of the 2008 EPAS competencies, and related practice behaviors.
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Empowering Students to Promote Social Justice: A Qualitative Study of Field Instructors’ Perceptions and Strategies

Published October 2013

by Kirsten Havig, PhD
University of Oklahoma - Tulsa
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Abstract: This qualitative study examines field instructors’ perceptions of social work practice that promotes social justice. The author conducted 17 in-depth interviews with qualified field instructors using grounded theory methods to elicit perceptions of the meaning of social justice among field instructors and pedagogical strategies related to empowering students in the promotion of social justice. Findings reflect field instruction goals and tasks based on the lived experiences of social work practitioners providing the practicum experience. This study offers a framework for social work field instruction that employs exposure to diverse clients and manifestations of injustice, focused discussion, and role modeling as educational strategies. It also provides a theoretical frame, rooted in empowerment, for field instruction that centers on student values socialization, validation through experience, building critical thinking skills, and emphasis on the reflexive action.

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Complex and Competing Demands in Field Education

Published October 2012

by Page Walker Buck, MSS, PhD
Assistant Professor & Chair of Field Education Curriculum, Graduate Social Work Department, West Chester University

Janet Bradley, MSS, MLSP
Director of Field Education, Undergraduate Social Work Program, West Chester University

Lydia Robb
Director of Field Practicum, Graduate Social Work Program, West Chester University

Rachel Shapiro Kirzner
Director of Social Services, Specialized Health Services, Public Health Management Corporation
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The changing demographic, economic, academic, societal, and political contexts of field education in social work have been topics of much discussion and scholarship since the mid-1990s. Recent additions to this changing context include the elevation of field education to the “signature pedagogy” of social work education and the pervasiveness of commercialization within higher education. This study explores the realities of these contexts through the lens of the Field Director. Findings from fifteen in-depth, qualitative interviews suggest that Field Directors experience a complex set of competing demands at a time when needs, requests, and requirements from students, university administrators, and accreditors are on the rise, while resources in the field are diminishing.

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