Rural direct practice student placements: Lessons from adult learning theory

Robyn Mason, Wendy Bowles, Lynelle Osburn, Virginia Mansell Lees, Raelene Gregory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An explorative qualitative study of successful professional field education direct practice placements for social work students was conducted in rural Australia, in response to identified organisational reluctance to take students on placement. This paper explores the adult education and learning component of the placements and demonstrates the commitment of supervisors and agencies to quality educational experiences for social work students. The paper reports findings covering seven main areas: a commitment to supervision and professional development;the importance of theory;preparationfor placement;understanding student learning; the value of placements; measuring success; and the role of the university. The findings suggest that if practitioners are encouraged and/or mentored to take students for direct practice placements, and to engage in the educational practices outlined here, there may be less apprehension by organisations about agreeing to take students on placement. More confident supervisors, and more graduates with practice experience in rural areas, may also help to address the perennial challenge of recruiting and retaining qualified social workers in rural regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-152
Number of pages24
JournalAdvances in Social Work and Welfare Education
Volume14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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