Feeling Lucky: The Serendipitous Nature of Field Education
Field education and the supervision that occurs during this process cements learning and enhances preparedness for a career in social work. Graduate readiness for social work practice is however a contested subject in New Zealand with recent criticism focusing on the adequacy of social work education. This paper reports on findings from focus groups with twenty-seven faculty members and thirty-five students from 8 Schools of Social Work in New Zealand which explored aspects of the taught and learned curriculum. Overall, students and faculty revealed some dissatisfaction with the taught curriculum on supervision that occurs on campus prior to the placement experience. Many students reported irregularity of placement supervision and associated quality supervision with being lucky. We propose a series of recommendations to address these concerns, emphasizing that students should be able to consistently access effective placement supervision rather than consider this a matter of luck.
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