Perceptions of Practice Educators in Social Work: Exploration of the Effects of Change

Burton, Jenni Elizabeth (2018) Perceptions of Practice Educators in Social Work: Exploration of the Effects of Change. Doctoral thesis, Buckinghamshire New University (validated by Coventry University).

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The dissertation explores lived experiences of practice educators, to capture their impressions of recent social work reforms affecting the assessment of social work students. A three-stage research study was conducted, aiming to gain the views of practice educators before, and then during the early stages of implementation, followed by a review of the data gathered involving social work professionals, to incorporate peer feedback, cross reference data and add research rigour. The rationale for the three-staged approach was to understand how participants perceived their changing role, explore personal and professional motivators for assessing students and identify ways of strengthening the available infrastructure of support. The strength based methodology, Appreciative Inquiry, was selected to shape the three stages of the study, seeking to draw out peak experiences as a catalyst for managing change. Data collection started with four small group interviews, progressing six months later to the completion of twelve individual interviews, culminating in sharing research findings with social work professionals six months hence, to validate emerging data about how practice educators could be better supported. By reframing the challenges expressed by participants, such as limited support, role marginalisation and low extrinsic reward, research findings have captured aspirations for increased support to sustain the climate of change and uncertainty for practice education. Solutions emerging from findings include strengthening local and national drivers to raise the profile of practice education, building research capacity, streamlining regional channels of support for individual, peer and group support and championing the practice educator role by raising awareness through inter-agency training and building more robust local partnerships.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: Practice Assessment, Professional Social Work, Power, Relationship Based Social Work, Collaboration
Depositing User: RED Unit Admin
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2018 15:32
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2019 11:01

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