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The Practice of Field Instruction in Social Work

The Practice of Field Instruction in Social Work: Theory and Process

Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 288
  • Book Info
    The Practice of Field Instruction in Social Work
    Book Description:

    This book is designed to guide social workers in their work as field instructors. It is unique because it presents a conceptual system which unites social work theory taught in the classroom to applied practice in a variety of community settings.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2115-2
    Subjects: Sociology, Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. ix-2)

    We began our first edition of this book with the premise that accreditation granted to an institution providing social work education guarantees that the curriculum is providing a field education component, also referred to as field work or field practicum. Field instruction, though derived from the school curriculum and from an older model of apprenticeship, is a unique approach to professional education which demands thoughtful preparation by the school and the agency. Academic courses alone are not enough, nor is an apprenticeship requirementper sesufficient to qualify for a social work degree. The field instructor must learn to travel...

  4. 1 The Integration of Theory and Practice: The ITP Loop Model
    (pp. 3-27)

    Practitioners and educators in social work have always characterized the business of the practicum as the place where theory is integrated with practice. All too frequently this statement stands without further definition. Integration of theory and practice (ITP), without examination, may be a kind of magical incantation through which educators, like alchemists, hope to transform a social work student into a professional social worker. Recognizing the limits of magic, even for social workers, this chapter will engage field instructors in the work of demystifying ITP and giving it operational meaning.

    Practitioners, to become educators, must be able to examine their...

  5. 2 The World of Field Instruction: The School, the Student, and the Agency
    (pp. 28-46)

    The field practicum takes place within the context of two organizations, the university-based school and the community-based agency or department. As a field instructor, you are part of the school and thus belong to two different organizations simultaneously. Similarly, students in the field practicum and faculty members with field responsibilities participate in an activity which takes place in ‘two worlds’ and is affected by both these contexts. This is demonstrated in figure 3.

    As a social worker in a service organization, you are knowledgeable about its practices. As a field instructor, you will need to learn enough about the particular...

  6. 3 The Beginning Phase
    (pp. 47-76)

    The practicum is composed of phases or stages, each of which requires the completion of a range of activities and tasks. As in social work practice, the process of field learning is cumulative, with the work of each phase resting on the experiences of earlier ones and, in turn, influencing the effectiveness of the subsequent phases.

    The first phase is the pre-practicum stage, which includes negotiation, anticipation, and preparation. Negotiation is the process of arriving at a working agreement with the agency, the school, and the student. Anticipation precedes participation in any activity and is the psychological preparation for any...

  7. 4 The Instructional Relationship
    (pp. 77-109)

    As practitioners become educators, it is likely that their assumptions and beliefs about what constitutes effective field instruction are largely influenced by their own experiences as students. Traces of field instructors’ practicum experiences, positive or negative, will shape their concept of what they wish to convey to students and what climate is felt to be desirable. Take the time to reflect upon your own practicum experience and try to put it into words. The purpose of this exercise is to identify issues you felt were relevant when you were a student and to examine how they affected your learning. It...

  8. 5 Guiding the Learning Process
    (pp. 110-139)

    With the assignment of clients and projects, the core of teaching and learning in the practicum gets under way. The ITP Loop Model provides a comprehensive process for retrieving practice data, examining the data for subjective meanings, linking it to a conceptual base associated with the profession of social work, and finally converting this knowledge and understanding into concrete intervention planning. The ecological and multi-factorial perspective should serve to focus the attention of the student and the field instructor and guide discussion, analysis, and selection of intervention priorities. In chapter 1 the phases and content focus of the ITP Loop...

  9. 6 Special Situations
    (pp. 140-148)

    This chapter will explore specific characteristics of students who differ from the average or normative type of student. An underlying precept of the ITP Loop Model stresses anticipation and preparation using the looping scheme. Special situation students may provide field instructors with a challenging exercise in its use. Factors such as age, life experience, work experience, racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity, and physical disability present a unique challenge to field instructors to maximize individual potential and talents and to convey affirmation and respect. This is a constantly evolving process of trial, reassessment, and retrial. The objective, as always, remains the...

  10. 7 Legal Aspects of Field Instruction
    (pp. 149-162)

    This chapter is cautionary. It deals with some of the legal issues which may arise when a student who is not an employee of the agency enters into a practice and learning relationship with the agency, the field instructor, and clients served by that agency. Legislation differs from province to province in Canada and within the United States. The extent and nature of insurance liability coverage also vary among universities, practicum agencies, and institutions, for example, between a small neighbourhood agency and a large metropolitan hospital, and among professional social work associations. It is advisable for agency directors to clarify...

  11. 8 Evaluation and Ending
    (pp. 163-190)

    Social work educational programs have a responsibility to the profession and the people it serves to ensure that graduates can perform competently and in an ethical manner (Hughes and Heycox 1996). Professional associations and licensing bodies evaluate social workers and certify them as qualified practitioners, usually after some period of postgraduate practice. Therefore schools of social work play a gatekeeping role since students who graduate from an academic program are expected to have demonstrated at least a beginning level of professional knowledge and competence. There is agreement that the ability to perform successfully in academic courses is not an indicator...

  12. APPENDIX:: A Teaching Guide

    • APPENDIX: A Teaching Guide
      (pp. 191-194)
    • MODULE 1 The Integration of Theory and Practice: The ITP Loop Model
      (pp. 195-204)
    • MODULE 2 The World of Field Instruction: The School, the Student, and the Agency
      (pp. 205-209)
    • MODULE 3 The Beginning Phase
      (pp. 210-218)
    • MODULE 4 The Instructional Relationship
      (pp. 219-230)
    • MODULE 5 Guiding the Learning Process
      (pp. 231-238)
    • MODULE 6 Special Situations
      (pp. 239-245)
    • MODULE 7 Legal Aspects of Field Instruction
      (pp. 246-249)
    • MODULE 8 Evaluation
      (pp. 250-258)
  13. References
    (pp. 259-269)