First practice placement: Great expectation and anxiety of a cohort of social work students

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the findings of a small-scale study examining the expectations and anxieties of social work students regarding supervision for fieldwork instruction. A cohort of students in their first year of a postgraduate programme for professional training was questioned about their aspirations and anxieties as they approached their first period of practice placement assessment. Their responses were wide-ranging and varied, and shed light on what they wanted from their supervisors and supervision. Students' concerns related to supervision as a vehicle for compliance and performance issues rather than as a purveyor of culture and values for social work. It is viewed by the respondents as an important site of learning and development whose opportunities for promoting self-awareness and the skills of critical reflection must be safeguarded. This paper argues for the importance of listening to students in order to shape the delivery and mode of fieldwork supervision, and posits supervision as a means of fostering notions of social work values that are prerequisite for practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-32
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Practice Teaching and Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Practice placement
  • Social work education
  • Student learning
  • Supervision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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