- National Practice Teaching in Social Work Initiative
- What is Practice Teaching?
What is Practice Teaching?
"Practice Teaching is an important part of the profession in that we are supporting and guiding our future colleagues. It is also a positive manner in which to review your own practice and refresh on areas that you may have forgotten." Practice teacher
Practice teaching is where *practice teachers supervise, teach and assess social work students on practice learning placements and make a recommendation of pass or fail based on the CORU Standards of Proficency.
- A pass recommendation at the end of a first placement is that the student is competent to continue to a second placement.
- A pass recommendation at the end of a second placement and completion of the relevant programme means the student can progress to apply to register with CORU.
The objective of the social work practice placement is to provide students with opportunities to acquire relevant knowledge, skills, values and professional training in social work practice, supervised by a practice teacher i.e. a CORU registered social work practitioner.
What is a practice teacher?
*A practice teacher in Ireland is a CORU registered social worker who takes responsibility for teaching, supervising and assessing a social worker student on placement in their Agency over a 14-week period.
How can I be a practice teacher?
- Practice Teachers must have two years post qualification experience
- Be a registered Social Worker with CORU and
- A minimum of 6 months in your current post
- Participate in practice teaching workshops offered by the HEI that you have a student from.
- Must have the support of your team members and manager/organisation
Practice learning experiences would not be possible without the investment of time and commitment from professionally qualified social workers working as practice teachers.
The role of the Practice teacher reflects the functions of social work supervision which are support, education, and accountability.
- Read the Practice Learning guidelines that are provided by the university and be familiar with the practice learning procedures, roles, and responsibilities.
- Be familiar with the Social Work Registration Board’s (CORU, 2019) Standards of Proficiency for Social Work.
- Prepare and implement an induction plan for the student.
- Provide clarity to the student around the student’s role and responsibility and ensure that the student is aware of what is expected of them.
- Work with the student’s learning needs as identified at the outset of the placement and allocate developmentally appropriate pieces of practice work for the student.
- Engage the student in a minimum of 1.5 hours of supervision per week at an agreed time and provide opportunities for informal consultation and advice.
- Provide ongoing feedback to the student on their practice work.
- Deal with difficult issues with students and address concerns or issues as and when they arise. If a successful outcome is not achieved, liaise directly with the practice tutor.
- Complete the mid-placement and final reports on the placement, using the Social Work Registration Board’s (CORU, 2019) Standards of Proficiency for Social Work and the relevant university policies to assess the student’s practice.
Long Arm Supervisors
In some placements there are external supervisors or long arm supervisors/ peripatetic practice teachers (ppt's) to support placements where there is not a social worker or CORU registered social worker on site. The responsibility of the external supervisor is to provide a social work framework to the onsite learning and to work in collaboration with the onsite supervisor. They provide weekly supervision sessions.
The tutor is an interface between the university and the placement setting acting as a support to both the practice teacher and student. Across social work programmes models of tutoring vary. Both academic staff and social work practitioners can act as tutors.
- Act as a resource/support/advocate for the student throughout the placement.
- Help the student to identify their learning needs.
- Help the student and practice teacher develop and evaluate realistic learning plans aligned with the CORU Proficiencies.
- Represent the university and resource and support the practice teacher and host agency.
- Arrange with the practice teacher and the student all tripartite meetings.
- Attend & facilitate all placement meetings and record key activities and action plans.
- Support the student to raise concerns/issues in circumstances where he/she feels unable to do so.
- Regularly liaise with the practice teacher & student when concerns/difficulties arise.
- Ensure the provision of appropriate and adequate learning opportunities, supervision, safety and support in order to practice in accordance with the CORU Proficiencies.