Caffrey, Bridget; Fruin, Helen (Whiting and Birch, 2019)
This article explores issues affecting assessment of social work students on practice placements in England. The authors have many years of experience in this area of social work and aim to highlight concerns about the complexity of assessment in practice settings. This report draws on research presented by Bailey-McHale and Caffrey (2018) at the 12th International Conference on Practice Teaching and Field Education in Health and Social Work in order to consider student perspectives. These highlight a sense of feeling powerless and judged. This article also explores the wider issues potentially impacting on the assessment of students practice. Acknowledging the challenges of all assessments, we consider how assessment of student practice may be further complicated by factors including the role and demands of universities, the impact of training and support for practice educators and pressures within current social work practice. This commentary highlights longstanding inequalities within social work assessment on placements for some student groups, including BAME students. The authors draw on Brookfield’s (1998) reflective lenses and encourage the social work profession to reflect and consider how current practice might be improved. The authors invite ideas and feedback to stimulate a professional debate and new ideas.
Walker, Jane; Gant, Valerie
This paper offers a commentary regarding the centrality of critical reflection in social work before discussing a research project drawing on a sample of ten social work students as they approached the end of their social work training in one English university. The original intention of the research was to focus solely on students’ perceptions of critical reflection, but when using a more reflexive approach, we identified that participants utilised the focus groups as an opportunity to discuss their practice learning experiences per se before considering and discussing critical reflection. Most students were placed in child protection social work teams and discussed how they felt unprepared for such a fast-paced and stressful environment. Participants felt that the expectations some practitioners had of students were unrealistic, and not always commensurate with the Professional Capabilities Framework. Students highlighted the use of practice scenarios in developing their knowledge and skills particularly when considering their application of critical reflection. This study highlights the significance of adequate preparation for practice and argues for a more focused agenda for future research exploring the culture of learning, including those factors that inhibit students sharing their concerns as well as the training needs of educators
Echo Yuet Wah Yeung, Andrea Newman & Beverley Burke
This paper explores the nature and quality of relationships between social work students and their practice educators and discusses how practice educators navigate their multifaceted and complex role in the context of practice learning in England.