Journal Article

Talking about (Re)Generation: Practice Learning as a Site of Renewal for Social Work

Avril Bellinger

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 8, pages 2450-2466
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online June 2010 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcq072
Talking about (Re)Generation: Practice Learning as a Site of Renewal for Social Work

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Common sense would seem to indicate that the best practice learning placements for UK student social workers are those in mainstream state-regulated agencies where they are supervised, taught and assessed by experienced professionals. In this paper, the assumptions on which ‘common sense’ is based are critically examined and an alternative framework proposed for assessing the quality of practice learning environments. State-regulated agencies in the UK comprise a diversity of settings, structures, activities and professional groupings and it is not uncommon for students to be supervised by unqualified staff or professions other than social work. This tradition of students representing the social work profession resonates with some international practices and has the potential to inform both educational and professional practice development. Growing global and economic pressures mean that social workers need to be prepared to respond to rapidly changing circumstances. The model proposed allows for this to be possible both within and outside mainstream practice settings. Drawing on wider work-based learning literature, a generative and constructive approach is proposed for evaluating increasingly diverse social work practice learning opportunities and their potential contribution to professional practice.

Keywords: Professional practice; social work education; practice learning; innovation

Journal Article.  6143 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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