During their studies, social work students tend to think highly of their field education, but little is known about how they perceive it retrospectively after graduation. This question is relevant in view of the continuing debate on the nature and costs of field education. This, together with the advance of evidence-based social work practice, raises questions about the optimum balance between learning in the field and in the classroom. The two-year follow-up study presented here explored differences in the perceptions of fifty-eight social workers about various aspects of field education. The findings of this quantitative study reveal that, after working one year in the 'real world', participants tend to think less of their field education. Moreover, they evaluate the associations between their academic courses and field education significantly lower than during their studies. We discuss the relevance of field education to current needs of the profession and suggest that field education should provide not only in-depth understanding of complex situations, but also skills for dealing with the overwhelming and broad nature of work in the social services.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2013 The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.
- Social work field education
- novice social workers
- social work students