Integrating Theory and Practice in Social Work Education

Integrating Theory and Practice in Social Work Education

Integrating Theory and Practice in Social Work Education

Integrating Theory and Practice in Social Work Education

Synopsis

The authors explain about how to go about gathering evidence from fieldwork and practice placements and how to prepare and plan an assignment or project. Guidance is given on applying law and policy, and how to react in the case of failure.

Excerpt

Theory and a foundation academic knowledge of a given occupation and its sphere of work has traditionally been used as one of the bases on which occupations lay claim to being professional. The extent to which this actually assists an occupation to achieve professional status is highly contested (MacDonald 1995). Nonetheless, professional expert knowledge, discretion and judgement rest at the interface between the work or tasks involved and the skill achieved through on-the-job training and practice and the abstract knowledge or theory that underpin this (Abbott 1988). The tension between theory and practice is thus ever present in professions and in education for professions. Usually the need for formal training in both theory and practice skills is achieved through a combination of academic college or university based teaching and work-based experiential learning achieved through some form of apprenticeship – or in the case of the Diploma in Social Work (DipSW) supervised practice placements (Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work (CCETSW) 1996a). This pattern of professional education, in turn, is closely linked to the ongoing debate about whether education and training for a practical occupation are better done within an academic institution or through work-based training (which is resurfacing as discussions about the future shape of social work education continue).

This debate is not unique to social work, but is peculiarly acute within this occupation because within the profession there remains a vocal anti-professionalism ethical stance which leaves some of its members ambivalent about the supposed benefits of professional status (Hugman . . .

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