Experience in study practice of social work students: analysis of written reflections

Rita Raudeliūnaitė

Abstract


The article analyzes the peculiarities of social work students’ experience in practice fields based on their written reflections. The qualitative research method was chosen for this study, using written student reflections. Fourty-seven social work students from Mykolas Romeris University participated in the research which took place in 2010.
The analysis of written reflections allow for a better understanding of students’ experiences during their practice, highlighting the positive and negative factors that could affect what a student learns in practice and the overall effectiveness of their practice.
The study results highlighted a positive student experience, which is associated with successful relationships with customers (positive peer relationships and mutual relations based on respect and trust), the institution staff (positive relationships with staff, working closely with the practice mentor, creating a favourable work atmosphere, a positive example of a social worker), their relationship with themselves (self-awareness, self-overcoming, acquisition of new experience). Students’ positive experiences from their practice are an important factor in maintaining the practice of education, the prerequisite for successful learning.
On the other hand, the main negative factors that emerged were those that hindered students learning from their experience, i.e. a negative relationship with customer (a result of fear, anxiety, lack of skills and practice experience), the institution staff (lack of communication and feedback with mentor, the social workers’ dissatisfaction with their profession), their inadequate behaviour with clients (access to clients, understatement of their abilities, labeling, disrespectful talk about clients), as well as the lacked self-confidence and hyper emotionality.

Keywords


study practice; experiential learning; students’ experience; reflection; supervision

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789