Students’ understanding of and involvement in field education in social work in Delhi, India
This article explores students’ understanding of and opinions on field education including theoretical background on social work practicum and supervision; involvement and performance of the learners; comments received from both school and agency supervisors; and contribution of school and agency supervisors. Some of the challenges and constraints experienced during their practicum were examined. The study was conducted in the National Capital Region of Delhi. Purposive sampling technique was adopted to choose the institutions, school supervisors, agency supervisors, students and agencies for data collection. The study found significant variations regarding the duration of the orientation programme across institutions offering social work education in Delhi. The findings of the study reveal that the school supervisors have played a significant role compared to the agency supervisors in enhancing students’ skills and knowledge on field work practicum. They have also played a vital role in changing their attitudes. The study also found that students were not placed in the field work settings as per their specializations and it was reported in the study that the majority of them were placed either in the health or educational settings. The study also established that students were not given sufficient opportunities to apply social work methods/principles and theories in the field work settings and were not permitted to develop innovative ideas/solutions. Rather, they were provided with irrelevant tasks in the practice settings. Consequently, the study recommends various ways to improve the quality of field work in social work education.
Keywords: field education, social work, supervision, individual conference, group conference