Journal Article

Developing Perceptions of Competence during Practice Learning

Jonathan Parker

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 6, pages 1017-1036
Published in print September 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Developing Perceptions of Competence during Practice Learning

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Practice learning is central to the changes in social work education in the UK but the evidence-base indicating why this should be has not been rigorously examined. Studies of effectiveness conducted to date centre predominantly on the satisfaction of participants, relationships between teachers, supervisors or fieldwork educators and students, educational opportunities and developing aspects of competence. This paper explores the concept of perceived self-belief or self-efficacy as an indicator of development of competence during practice learning, examining whether self-beliefs in student competency do increase during placement and considering how this might be harnessed to enhance the experience and effectiveness of it. Findings from the study described indicate that student perceptions of competence in relation to particular future performance do increase from pre- to post-test during practice learning, suggesting that practice is effective in this respect and the concept of self-belief can be utilized to challenge and extend student competence or identify areas for further work and development. However, the mechanisms by which these perceptions develop are not clear and further research into practice learning is warranted given the prominence accorded to it in social work education.

Keywords: practice learning; social work education; competence; self-efficacy

Journal Article.  7957 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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