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

This source preferred by Mel Hughes, Lynne Rutter and Jonathan Parker

Authors: Parker, J., Hughes, M. and Rutter, L.

Journal: Journal of Practice Teaching in Health and Social Work

Volume: 7

Pages: 49-69

ISSN: 1460-6690

DOI: 10.1921/19643

As part of the new social work degree in England all students must undergo a period of assessed preparation for practice learning which includes the opportunity to shadow an experienced social worker. This requirement has been implemented in different ways across social work programmes in England and providers have raised concerns about the assessment of students' fitness to undertake practice learning. This article explores the background to and potential of 'shadowing' as observational and preparatory leaning and surveys some of the differential practice amongst English social work programme providers. Following this, the article describes a small-scale research study in which the confidence (self-efficacy beliefs) of students were monitored before and after undertaking shadowing experiences and qualitative reports concerning the experiences were collected and reviewed. The study recommends the development of a rigorous approach to shadowing, that is assessed, made integral to social work programmes and is adequately resourced.

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