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Evaluation of Practice

Evaluation of Practice Karl Heilman Field Education Seminar SW 4442 Professor Althea Grant March 2, 2014

Evaluation of Practice

Introduction As a Bachelor of Social Work student at Wayne State University, I knew that field placement was going to be extremely beneficial to my education and practice as a future professional. When deciding where to be placed for this educational experience, I thought to myself, Where will I get the most experience using essential skills and tools relevant to practice as a BSW or MSW. After asking myself this question, I decided to work within the East China School District. The reason for this decision pertained to the endless educational opportunities one within this particular school district would be exposed to. Although research and inquiry were beneficial to my decision, prior testimony from past social work interns for East China School Districts Social Worker Linda Bruckner, were essential in my decision making process. Having been placed within the school district as a social work intern for nearly six months, I have been able to evaluate the effectiveness of social work within the school district, and most importantly the effectiveness of myself as an intern. Although six months is relatively a short period of time as a beginning student social worker, I have been able to identify both strengths and weaknesses in myself pertaining to practice within this complex system. The identification or evaluation of practice is imperative to my education and used as a guide to becoming an effective social worker.

How do I evaluate my practice with client systems? I would say that working with client systems is very difficult within the school district because of the restrictions a social worker has within each clients life. Although restrictions are evident, my skills pertaining to client systems is effective within the school setting. What is a client system within a school setting? Well, I like to refer to the P.I.E. model to answer this question. P.I.E. refers to person in environment. Within East China School District and

Evaluation of Practice

individual client systems, a student is the center of various systems or environmental forces. A student is subject to their peers, teachers, social workers, teacher consultants, psychologists, principles, staff and other environmental factors. With P.I.E. defined, how is working with client systems an effective tool pertaining to my personal practice? I have found this to be an effective tool or skill because of my ability to gain understanding of the client or student within different environments. This skill has evolved within my independent practice with an identified caseload and used to improve each students experience within the school as well as allowed them to become academically successful. What we know is that students environments impact their lives and particularly their success academically. By gaining understanding of each individuals environments, I am able to effectively relay this information when developing an individualized educational plan and when identifying services which would benefit the client as well as those within their environment. How do I know that what I do with client systems has an impact? Because of the structure within a school district and identified roles when developing individualized educational plans for students, I am able to see the impact my work has on client systems as well as other systems within the school district. This is evidenced by assessment and evaluation of the students academic success as well as their physical, mental and social wellbeing since first being identified as a client. This assessment and intervention technique is used daily through various tools by myself and imperative to my success as a school social work intern. Not only are these tools used by myself, but also by those within the students environment. This being said, not only am I becoming aware of students behaviors within the

Evaluation of Practice

classroom, but so are those within the students environment. This demonstrates the impact my work has not only on the client, but their entire environment. What skills do I need in order for me to work in my current field placement setting? There are many skills which a social work intern must have to be effective within a school setting and in order to advocate for those within the system. Skills I have identified as being essential are observational skills, critical thinking skills, assessment and intervention skills as well as a well-rounded education on different client populations one works with in a school setting, particularly pertaining to those within special education. These skills have evolved within my time at East China School District and as my role has evolved within the system. I would say that my observational skills are and have been the key to my success within the school district. This being said, my weakness or area of opportunity has been related to my knowledge of different client populations in regard to assessment and intervention strategies. Because social work is often used within the special education department more frequently than in general education, I have spent most of my free time researching and reading information about those eligible to receive special education services through the East China School District and the process of doing so. This brings to light another topic which is imperative to effective social work within a school setting, which is legal factors which social work and special education must abide by. As I began my placement as East China School District, I was unaware of the laws pertaining to education and particularly special education and the process of those within this system becoming eligible for services. I would say that this again was an area of opportunity which is slowly becoming a strength as I make my way through the school year within my field placement.

Evaluation of Practice

Are the population and field of practice a good fit for me? I believe that the population and field of practice are a great fit for me and my personal style of practice. The reason for this conclusion is that the effectiveness of my practice is highly impacted by the client population I do work with and the field in which I am placed. I have found it comforting working with those who range in age from three to twenty six. Although this age range is comforting, the population I work with is younger and their academic success is the goal of the agency which I work with. Because I value education and the advocacy of those within the agency, I find my work and placement to be aligned with the values and beliefs system I have developed throughout my life. In addition to the value and belief system which aligned my practice with the goals and objectives of the agency, comes a new light which I believe to be lacking within the agency. I think that my role within the school district is imperative to the effectiveness of the school social worker and the success of the client population. The reason for this belief is an outcome of the time which I was raised and my ability to relate to an oppressed and diverse population. Because I am part of this population, I can empathize with clients unlike many within the school district. This has been an effective skill, which has also aligned my practice with the needs of the population and field setting. What can I do to improve my social work practice with client systems? To improve my practice within client systems, I must implement a more time effective strategy to see individual clients within the short amount of time I spend within the agency. This is evident in the number of times I see a client each month because of the individual needs of particular clients which I find more important than others. Although I find it more important to

Evaluation of Practice

spend additional time with such clients, it is also as important to see all of those within my caseload. This is also relevant to the direction I am given from my field advisor, which highly impacts where and when I see clients and for the duration of each visit. Although individualized educational plans dictate the number of times a client is seen each month, it is important to identify the accuracy of the plan and assess if an adjustment is needed based on the needs of the client and their success within the school system. How have my experiences at this agency contributed to my knowledge of ethical social work practice? I think as though my experiences within East China School District have hindered my knowledge of ethical social work practice because of the guiding forces within this field setting. I continuously guide my practice based on the Code of Ethics and my internal drive for excellence, yet the environment has challenged this theory with lacks views on ethics and over pursued academic goals. Although this has been a personal challenge, I continue to allow the Code of Ethics to guide my practice and challenge those within my environment in hopes of reevaluating practice and the implementation of social work values and beliefs. Having addressed my thoughts on ethics within the school district has allowed me to see how knowledge of ethical social work practice is important and why its importance is imperative to the effective practice of social work within a political arena. Although law and policy guide a great deal of social work practices within a school setting, it does not change the way in which clients should be advocated for. My challenge is to advocate for students as I have been taught and to implement practice which is aligned with the NASW Code of Ethics.

Evaluation of Practice

How has this placement helped me to understand the values of the social work profession and how has it assisted me in the development of ethics for social work practice? As previously mentioned, the assessment of social work values within the profession has allowed me to see a much needed reevaluation of practice. This reevaluation of practice is needed to implement one in which is guided by ethics in pursuit of effective social work skills necessary to help those within East China School District. I am unsure if my observations are accurate within this field placement and within myself, but I believe the goals to be of the environment and not of the client. Throughout my education, I have always been told to start where the client is and allow the client to set the goals which he/she wants to achieve. Throughout my experience within a school district, the goals have been set previous to initial contact with the client. This is and has been difficult to understand and I have been having a hard time adjusting to this way of thinking. Conclusion Throughout my time within East China School District, I have learned a great deal about practice within a school district and the skills necessary to be an effective school social worker. Although there have been identified weaknesses within myself as it pertains to practice, I am confident that this evaluation will help me in using my strengths to leverage and eliminate those identified. The time within the school setting has been short, but effective in building the skills and tools I shall need as a future professional.

Evaluation of Practice