• Guest Editorial

      Harlow, Elizabeth; Izod, Karen; University of Chester; University of the West of England (Taylor and Francis, 2015-06-01)
      This guest editorial introduces the special edition on the supervision of social work practice
    • Social Work Students sharing practice learning experiences: Critical reflection as process and method.

      Walker, Jane; Gant, Valerie; University of Chester
      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
    • The use of photo elicitation to explore the impact of social work student’s perceptions of placements on social work tutors and consider their role in practice learning

      Caffrey, Bridget; Fruin, Helen; Bailey-McHale, Julie; Ridgeway, Victoria; Bailey-McHale, Bex; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2020-12-22)
      The importance of learning in practice is acknowledged across health and social care professions. Social work students’ experiences in practice settings has attracted some attention in academic literature, and the role and impact of the Practice Educator (PE) on student learning is increasingly recognised. However, there is a paucity of research examining the role of the social work tutor generally and particularly within practice learning settings. This paper presents a small-scale qualitative study exploring the impact of visual images produced by social work students reflecting their practice experiences on six social work tutors. Photo elicitation prompted discussion in a focus group setting which was subsequently thematically analysed, with four themes emerging. These were dichotomous relationships, difference and diversity, tutor brokerage skills, and student support. The images encouraged tutors to reflect upon the complexity of their relationship with social work students and question whether they were professionally equipped to support students in complex placement situations. In addition, the effectiveness of the curriculum in preparing social work students for practice was considered, particularly space afforded to students to reflect on practice learning in a safe environment. Opportunities to support SW tutors in their role and SW students in practice are deliberated.
    • Using visual methodology: Social work student's perceptions of practice and the impact on practice educators.

      Bailey-McHale, Julie; Bailey-McHale, Rebecca; Caffrey, Bridget; Macleand, Siobhan; Ridgway, Victoria; University of Chester; Kirwin Maclean Associates (Taylor & Francis, 2018-06-21)
      Practice learning within social work education plays a significant part in students’ educational journey. Little is understood about the emotional climate of placements. This paper presents a small scale qualitative study of 13 social work students’ perceptions of their relationship with a practice educator (PE) and 6 PE’s perceptions of these emotional experiences. Visual methodology was employed over a two-phased research project, first social work students were asked to draw an image of what they thought practice education looked like, phase two used photo eliciation, PEs were then asked to explore the meaning of these images. Results demonstrated that social work students focused on their own professional discourse, the identity of PEs, power relationship and dynamics between themselves and PEs, the disjointed journey and practice education in its entirity. Whilst the PEs shared their personal views of practice education and reflected on this, both groups had a shared understanding of practice education including its values and frustrations. Keywords: social work placements, visual methodology, practice educators