Narrative reasoning and coherent alignment in field placement
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionVindegg J, Smeby J. Narrative reasoning and coherent alignment in field placement. Social Work Education. 2019 https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2019.1641192
In social work, field placement is considered an essential component to prepare students for professional practice. A significant degree of disjunction between academic and practical learning also is asserted. The present study aims to explore how students develop their professional competence in field placement and relate their learning outcomes across the university setting and the field. Data from students’ learning contracts and placement reports and a focus-group interview are analysed. Concrete practical experiences and the complexity of problems in specific contexts seem to provide inputs on the development of students’ knowledge, skills and personal competence outside the university setting. Although the students were asked to account for these three dimensions separately, the findings demonstrate their ability to connect and integrate them in the narrative reasoning that characterises students’ reflections on their learning from placement. Moreover, our findings show that all three dimensions are developed in both the university setting and in field placement. Preparing students properly for placement training and calling for specific reports on learning outcomes allow access to meaningful connections that are created and developed between the university setting and field placement.