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What is Practice Teaching?

An image of a hand creating a stack of rock on a stony beach

"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. Additionally, please find guidance for completing the final report from the NPTSWI. These should be viewed with the Coru standards above. 

  • 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.

Ruth Murray in her article “In praise of practice teaching” from the Spring 2018 edition of The Irish Social Worker Journal published by the IASW  tells us “the significance of practice placements for students can not be underestimated.  Click here to access The Irish Social Worker Journal link on IASW Website

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 
  • 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.   

What have practice teachers in Ireland said about their experience of practice teaching?

Dr. Niamh Murphy worked with NPTSWI to research the experiences of practice teachers supervising students during the academic year September 2022 to May 2023. The research findings capture the opportunities and barriers to practice teaching in social work that exists at this time in Ireland. To download a copy of the report click on the link in the box below. 

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF