The Impact of Emotions on Practicum Learning
Nine mature aged, experienced practitioners enrolled to gain a BSW qualification in social work were interviewed regarding a course requirement to complete the first placement. At the time of interview no recognition of prior learning for previous experienced in the field was made possible for these students. As educators we had experience considerable hostility from students who believed they should be exempt from completing this course requirement. This paper reports on interviews with the nine students, where we consider how student sentiment about completing the practice learning component might impact upon their learning experience. As anticipated some students expressed strong negative views about being on placement. However, others were much more positive about the experience. These mixed views prompted us to explore further the relationship between emotion and practice learning. The article begins with a review of the literature concerning mature student engagement with tertiary education, followed by an overview of theory and research related to the ways feelings and emotion influence learning. Using passages from the interviews, expressions of participant anxiety, anger and excitement about the practicum are discussed with the view to extending discourse about practicum learning to include consideration of emotional intelligence and investment.
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