'Shadowing' and its place in preparing students for practice learning

Article · January 2006with 48 Reads 
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  • ... When the requirement to provide students with the opportunity to shadow a practitioner prior to their first placement was introduced (Department of Health, 2002) there was a small amount of research generated (e.g. Le Riche, 2006 andParker, Hughes andRutter, 2007). But that regulatory regime has since changed (BASW, 2018) and despite the fact that shadowing continues to be suggested as a useful learning experience by practice educators and tutors and is valued by students (Parker, Hughes and Rutter, 2006), it seems to have escaped critical analysis by those involved in social work education. ...
    Social work students shadowing more experienced practitioners is usually regarded as self-evidently a positive learning experience by practice educators, on-site supervisors; university tutors, and not least by the students themselves. Whilst it can form part of a formal practice learning agreement, much shadowing is also undertaken informally often on an ad hoc and impromptu basis. Given the extent to which shadowing takes place, it is a basic assumption of this paper that it must have a significant impact of what students learn about practice both in their specific placement but also more generally about social work. For this reason the primary aim of this paper is to bring more of a critical gaze onto shadowing as a learning activity in social work practice placements. The paper begins by examining the different purposes of shadowing and putting them into context. It explains how shadowing can be seen as both part of the process of socialisation into professional social work but also into a specific workplace culture. As such shadowing experiences need to be understood as part of the implicit (hidden) curriculum of social work. The second part of the paper considers some ways in which examining shadowing experiences more critically can improve certain aspects of practice. This includes understanding power relationships but also how shadowing can provide important opportunities for professional leadership. It is proposed that, often taken as a background or taken for granted activity, shadowing needs to be given a higher profile and therefore better preparation in social work practice placements.
  • ... The job shadowing can be conducted with an hour-long or several hours visit in the workplace to know someone person work in her/his job [5][6] Other definition stated that job shadowing is where an individual getting an experience of the role of another individual and gain an insight into that particular work area [7][8]. Even maybe they get the opportunity to work alongside [9]. With work alongside more experienced colleagues, students can learn and develop within their current role. ...
  • ... First, there is a gap between wider conceptions of social work education such as the PCF and the realities of child and family social work practice. Previous studies indicate that students struggle at times to reconcile what they learn at university with what happens on placement (Higgins, 2013(Higgins, , 2015Barnes, 2002;Delaney, 2007;Green, 2006;Nixon & Murr, 2006;Parker, Hughes, & Rutter, 2006;Walton, 2005;Wilson & Kelly, 2010). Students are confronted at times with differing aspirations between the academy and the practicum (Wilson, 2013). ...
    The goal of the social work reform process was to provide a generic framework and single professional body within a broad conception of generic social work. However, debates about the role and nature of social work continue to exist. This paper explores whether contemporary child and family social work is inclined at times to make use of a less humane social work practice with families and children. The policy context and the culture of child and family social work are considered. Implications for social work education are identified. The key message of this paper is twofold. There is a tendency in contemporary child and family social work to become synonymous with a particular version of child protection. The type of child protection adopted tends to be authoritarian with at times a limited consideration of the humanity of parents and adult carers in particular.
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