• Is there a shared social work signature pedagogy cross-nationally? Using a case study methodology to explore signature pedagogy in England, Israel, Finland, Spain and Sweden

      Thomas, Roma; Wallengren Lynch, Michael; Chen, Henglien Lisa; Muurinen, Heidi; Segev, Einav; Carrasco, Marta Blanco; Hollertz, Katarina; Bengtsson, Anna Ryan; University of Sussex; Sapir College, Israel; et al. (Taylor and Francis, 2020-04-24)
      While there is an international definition of social work as a profession, little is known about whether there is also a shared pedagogy in social work cross-nationally. To our knowledge, this paper is the first empirical study which aims to fill this gap by applying the concept of signature pedagogy in social work education to explore the commonality of social work pedagogy across countries. The study uses a multi-site case study (six universities in five European countries) through applying a ‘critical teacher-researcher’ approach in generating the data, followed by a two-phased thematic analysis. The study evidenced a shared principle of social work pedagogy which nurtures social work student to think and perform like a social worker and develop the professional self through developing relationships and dialogue, professional practice, group work, self-reflection and critical thinking. It is argued from, this exploratory study, that even between countries which have different welfare ideology as well as social work history and education systems, there is some common ground in social work pedagogy where one can learn from another through the use of ‘teacher as researcher’ methodologically.
    • ‘It's been hell.’ Italian and British practice educators’ narratives of working with struggling or failing social work students in practice learning settings

      Poletti, Alberto; Finch, Jo (Taylor & Francis, 2013-05-20)
      Periods of assessed learning in practice settings are common requirements for social work students worldwide. The ‘practice learning opportunity’ as it is known in the UK, and ‘tirocinio di servizio sociale’ as it is referred to in Italy, are important sites of gatekeeping in preventing unsuitable people from becoming social workers. The experience of assessing failing students in practice learning settings, however, has been found to be particularly stressful and challenging for practice educators. This article documents findings from two qualitative studies that explored field educators’ experiences of working with struggling or failing social work students in Italy and England. The study finds both similarities and differences in the narratives of the assessors from the two countries. Similarities include, unpleasant emotional experience of working with a failing student, internalisation of the students’ failing as the practice educators’ own failing, perceptions that the universities may hide negative information about students and lack of acknowledgement of the gatekeeping function inherent in the practice educator role. Differences include the level of emotionality experienced by educators, the way students are spoken about and the perceived role and responses of the university. Further comparative European research that focuses on practice education is indicated.
    • Simulating supervision: how do managers respond to a crisis?

      Wilkins, David; Jones, Rebecca (Taylor & Francis, 2017-08-28)
      Supervision is fundamental to child and family social work practice, in England as elsewhere, yet there is little research regarding what managers and social workers do when they meet to discuss the families they are working with. Recent years have seen a growing interest in the use of simulated clients and Objective Structured Clinical Exams to help develop and evaluate the abilities of social workers and students. This paper describes a study of 30 simulated supervision sessions between English social work managers and an actor playing the role of a student social worker in need of support. The simulation concerns a referral regarding an incident of domestic abuse. During the simulations, managers typically asked closed questions to obtain more information before providing solutions for the supervisee in the form of advice and direction. There was little evidence of emotional support for the social worker, nor empathy with the family. Managers typically acted as expert problem-solvers. The implications of this are discussed in relation to current theoretical models of supervision for child and family social work and in relation to how Children’s Services responds to domestic abuse.