On a wing and a prayer! An exploration of students' experiences of external supervision

Cleak, Helen, Zuchowski, Ines, and Cleaver, Mark (2022) On a wing and a prayer! An exploration of students' experiences of external supervision. British Journal of Social Work, 52 (1). pp. 217-235.

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Field education is a core component of social work courses globally and has been recognized as providing significant learning opportunities to develop professional practice. Evidence highlights the strong correlation between student satisfaction with their supervisory relationship and their satisfaction with placement, but current practices have resulted in more reliance on placements with a variety of supervisory arrangements, which may be compromising a quality and supportive supervisory relationship. This paper reports on an Australian online survey of 284 social work students about their experience of supervision, focusing on 119 students who received external supervision. Both quantitative ratings and qualitative comments showed that students generally described their external supervision as valuable and offered space to reflect critically on practice. Nevertheless, many felt disadvantaged without a social work presence onsite and not being observed or observing social work practice. Concerns were raised about task supervisors who offered supervision ‘on the run’ and had limited understanding of social work roles and values. Many students struggled on placement and felt that, once placement was confirmed, they received minimal support from University staff. Findings should alert field education programmes that students require consistent and ongoing involvement.

Item ID: 65161
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1468-263X
Keywords: student supervision, task supervision, external supervision, practice learning, field education
Copyright Information: Published Version: (C) The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved. Accepted Version: Available from Author's Institutional Repository after 24 month embargo
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2020 02:52
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4409 Social work > 440903 Social program evaluation @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930102 Learner and Learning Processes @ 30%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930203 Teaching and Instruction Technologies @ 30%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9305 Education and Training Systems > 930502 Management of Education and Training Systems @ 40%
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