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Editor Gracious Thomas

School of Social Work Indira Gandhi National Open University Maidan Garhi, New Delhi-110068

July, 2010

Indira Gandhi National Open University, 2010

ISBN: 978-81-266-5474-9

Print Production : Shri Kulwant Singh, Section Officer, School of Social Work. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form, by mimeograph or any other means, without permission in writing from the copyright holder. Further information on the Indira Gandhi National Open University courses may be obtained from the Universitys office at Maidan Garhi, New Delhi-110 068 or the official website of IGNOU at Printed and published on behalf of Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi by Director, School of Social Work, IGNOU. Lasertypesetted at Graphic Printers, 204, Pankaj Tower, Mayur Vihar, Phase-I, Delhi-110091. Printed at :

The programmes of study in Social work developed and launched by IGNOU is timely and much needed when globalization is in full swing and the untrained workers, who are involved in welfare activities and looking for social work training programmes through distance mode as well as specific areas of specializations in philanthropy, counseling and criminal justice system. This volume gives an overview on theoretical understanding about social work practicum. This courses is very unique as compared to the courses offered under MSW programmes across the country. We have presented the basic information on social work practicum i.e. its concepts, importance, models national as well as international scenario, and its applicability in the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system. It also focuses on roles and expectations of various stakeholders involved in social work practicum. It has been extremely difficult for the social work profession to establish itself in developing countries like India due to the problems associated with voluntary work versus paid work. The most important task, therefore, for the professional is to make sure that clients understand the services they receive from professional social workers and not confuse it with services of other people. Thus, and expectations of people involved in social work process are important. Field Work Supervision is part of educational

practicum. It is generally defined as the relationship between a student or subordinate and supervisor where the later overseas the development of the student throughout the practicum experience. Some of the chapter have articulated various issues such as models, environmental aspects in social work supervision, supportive functions in supervision, and field practicum supervision in distance learning mode. We have also discussed social work practicum in various settings. It has incorporated specific roles of social workers in individual, family and community setting, medical and psychiatric setting, corporate sector, door agencies and NGO sector. The first chapter on Social Work Practicum concept: meaning, nature, importance and scope clarifies the term, field work practice. Then, it explains the various models such as medical, ecological, generalist practice etc. of social work practicum. Later on the chapter includes central themes in social work practicum, field work approaches, competencies for social work practice, and ethical as well as legal issues in social work practicum. The narration of the History of social work Practicum is based on US experience. It has first differentiated volunteering from the social work which is a profession. Gradually the chapter has comprehended the emergence of social work as a profession in the US compared earlier elitist model to the present situation examined the importance of interprofessional practice and related the practicum followed in USA to India context. Social Work Practicum: Global and National Scenario describes the methods of providing field education,

highlighting the difference and similarities between practices in India and other parts of the world. This chapter covers global standards for field education and training, field education in a developing country, problems in conceptualizing field training and field applications in Indian context. The chapter on Social Work Practicum in open and Distance Learning provide designs and strategies of field practicum in social work education offered in distance learning mode. It has first compared field practicum approach between the conventional and distance education systems, then incorporates field practicum in social work education in distance mode outside India, as well as the IGNOU model. IGNOUs field practicum for BSW 1st year has been illustrated as an example in this context. The chapter on Orientation for social work practicum describe the importance of practicum experience, relevance of practicum to the educational process of preparing you for an advanced level of social work practice, identify ways in which you can orient yourself to the client population, the agency, and the community in which you will be working, and to expand your knowledge base about the value of student exchange programmes and the practice of social work through a global perspective. The student will act as an agency staff member under a supervisor and, as time progresses in the agency, he/she will be given more responsibility as a member of the agency team. The on Roles and expectations in social work practicum highlights initially the specific roles and expectations of the supervisor as an educator in this facilitation process. This chapter also discusses

the administrative tasks of the agency in providing a structured environment in which you will learn how to apply the knowledge you have acquired. Lastly it explains your learning expectations while working with individuals, families and groups in a multi-disciplinary practice based setting. The chapter on Roles and Expectation of the social work Training Institute is a unique chapter in the entire social work curriculum of IGNOU. It has articulated issues like minimum criteria for becoming an agency to provide practical training in social work, role of training institutes, expectations of the learners, university-agency partnership and so on. Towards the end, the chapter has provided knowledge on international accreditation standards for social work programmes based on the International Association of Schools of social Work (IASSW) and International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) International Code of Ethics and academic standards for international social work education. Every profession has certain principles to be followed and several skills to be acquired by the professionals. These are applicable in most practice situations regardless of clients characteristics or practice setting or roles assumed by the professionals. The chapter on Principles and skills for social work and agency practice is designed to discuss these principles and skills. The chapter on Models and Modes of Social Work Supervision deals with the definition and general functions involved in supervision, developmental and

task models of supervision, modes of supervision, and culture as well as administrative context of supervision,. This chapter ends with the additional information on the role of supervision in professional development and within the administrative structure of a human service agency. Administrative and Environmental Aspects in Social Work Supervision provides a detailed discussion about the need to have knowledge on organizational structure of the field work agency; roles and expectations of supervisor, how to develop a positive supervisory relationship based on an identified style of supervision; performance issues relating to decision making, appropriate use of authority, professional boundaries, role constraints, etc; and how to deal with the conflicts in supervision. Supportive Function in Supervision relates to the process of developing essential skills that will be helpful in dealing with a variety of stress often associated with social work practice. By and large, this chapter discusses about common stressors leading to burnout, compassion, fatigue, impact of stress on professional functioning, using supervision to deal with stress, and dealing with conflict in supervision. The chapter on Field Practicum supervision in Distance Learning Mode focuses on nature, functions, roles and qualities of supervisors of field practicum in social work programme offered through open and distance learning mode. At the end, it reflects certain issues which are inherent in the supervisory process i.e. culture and perceptual disparity between student and supervisor, getting training to perform supervisory role, and

dealing with role conflicts which are inevitable components of the complex process of supervision. The Chapter on Individuals, Family and Community describes field work practice with individuals, field work practice with families, and field work practice with communities. It is aimed at helping you to practice social work with family by gaining certain amount of maturity before you attempt to apply skills as family problems are complex in nature. In the community setting, you should be sensitive to the value systems of community as it may differ from your own value system. The chapter on Medical, Psychiatry and Child Care explains the nature of social work practice in health care setting, mental health setting, and child care setting. This chapter makes the student aware that there is diversity as well as constant change in the field and therefore he/she should be prepared to deal with the changing scenario. The description on Education and Research examines avenues for field work intervention in the schools. Colleges and universities where students and youths are the targets. This chapter has also provided a glimpse on social work research and evaluation rsearch that assess the utility of social intervention and human service programmes. Correction is one segment of criminal justice system by which the society seeks to protect the public, punish offenders, change behaviour and in some cases compensate victims. The chapter on correctional Services is designed in this direction. It deals with the definition and philosophy of having correctional

services, history of development of correctional services, administration and correctional social work. In the recent years we find that several social workers are being employed in corporate, settings, donor agencies and NGOs. The chapter on Corporate Sector, Donor Agencies and NGOs explains the scope of field work in corporate sector, field work in NGO sector and field work in donor agencies. The academic exercise to prepare this volume extended over a period of two years. I had several rounds of dissension and radio conferencing with Professor Neil Abell and Prof. Patricia Lager of the college of social work at Florida State University (FSU). The Social work faculty at FSU were extremely helpful to me in getting several of the very important chapters included in this book. I am thankful to Professor Neil Abell, Professor Patricia Lager, Mrs. Manju Kumar, Professor P.K. Gandhi, Professor Asok Sarkar, Mr. Gurupada Saren, Dr. B. Hamann, and Professor M. Ashomore from FSU, Ms. Nita Kumari, Dr. K. Hemlata, Ms. Sushma Murthy, Ms. Manju Gupta, Mr. JoselynT. Lobo, Ms. Sangeeta Dhaor and Mr. Josheph Varghese for their hard work, enthusiasm, commitment and this valuable contribution.

Prof. Gracious Thomas Director School of Social Work, IGNOU, New Delhi

1. Social Work Practicum: Concept, Meaning, Nature, Importance and Scope
Patricia Lager, B. Hamann 9


History of Social Work Practicum: Development of Field Education

Patricia Lager, B. Hamann



Social Work Practicum: Global and National Scenario

Neil Abell, B. Bamann



Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning 65

Manju Kumar

5. 6.

Orientation for Social Work Practicum

Patricia Lager, B. Hamann, M. Ashmore


Roles and Expectations in Social Work Practicum

Patricia Lager, B. Hamann, M. Ashmore



Roles and Expectations of Social Work Training Institute

Patricia Lager, B. Hamann, Neil Abell



Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice

Gracious Thomas, Nita Kumari



Models and Modes of Social Work Supervision

Patricia Lager


10. Administrative and Environmental Aspects in Social Work Supervision

Patricia Lager

206 220

11. Supportive Functions in Supervision

Patricia Lager

12. Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode

Manju Kumar

236 263

13. Individuals, Family and Community

K. Hemlata, Sushma Murthy

14. Medical, Psychiatry and Child Care

Manju Gupta

286 320 350

15. Education and Research

Joselyn T. Lobo and Roshini Nilaya

16. Correctional Services

Sangeeta Dhaor

17. Corporate Sector, Donor Agencies and NGOs

Joseph Verghese


1 Social Work Practicum: Concept, Meaning, Nature, Importance and Scope

*Patricia Lager, B. Hamann

It is important for social workers to have a strong theoretical base. There is a necessity to provide opportunities for students to apply the knowledge acquired in the classroom. It is only by doing that the student can comprehend the nuances of working with clients. It may have seemed abstract while learning about skills and values in the classroom and this can be clarified when put into practice. In the beginning there may be anxiety and inhibition to work with people, but there is a positive learning process as the student gets more comfortable applying the values, skills and knowledge of social work. The skills will get honed only with practice, regardless of the amount of knowledge acquired. Some things learned in the classroom may seem very different in the real world. Studying about the developmental stages may seem simple in class but dealing with issues associated with
* Prof. Patricia Lager, FSU, USA & Dr. B. Hamann, USA

Social Work Practicum and Supervision

adolescence may be quite different. Social work practicum helps students deal with administrative, legal and communication issues. Practicum gives an opportunity to work with supervision, intake, and case recording and reporting. It is an integral part of the social work curriculum at the undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Definition of Social Work Practice

Various professions use different words to describe the practical use of classroom learning. Different terms used are practicum, internships, field work, or field experience. Some professions have a year long internship for the doctoral degree. Some placements in the field of shorter duration or which are less intense may be called field work or practicum. This is not true in all cases. In graduate or undergraduate social work, the terms used for practical training is field work, field placement or practicum. Social work practicum programs vary in different schools. Some may be structured and placements may be made by fitting the students interests and aptitude to the agency. Still other schools may allow the students to freely choose the setting or supervisor and coordinate with the agency. Some schools may define what the student is expected to learn in a particular setting while other schools may leave the decision to the agency supervisor. A student is usually made aware of what is expected in practicum. Arrangements are usually made with the agency regarding what practical experience the student is required to achieve. There are some agencies which have a specific practicum program and if the school finds that is acceptable then the agency

Social Work Practicum

determines the practicum program. In India, agencies would sometimes get the students placed to complete jobs that are pending in the agency (updating files, home visits). School field work liaisons usually work with the field agency supervisor to plan the students placement program. In a complex network of social, economic, political, cultural, and geographical factors, social workers perform various roles to promote social development. Social work practicum uses theoretical knowledge of human behaviour, social development, environmental effects (on individuals) and impact of individual behaviour on society. Social workers professionally apply skills, values, techniques, and principles, to help individuals, groups and communities overcome personal and social problems. In social work practicum, this, however, is secondary to the central objective of student, learning.

Models of Social Work Practicum

According to Zastrow (1995), the diagnosis of clients problems, the causes of which were believed to be in the client, was the model adopted by U.S. social workers in the 1920s to the 1960s. This medical model was used to assess and treat problems. Emotional and behavioural problems were supposed to be affected by genetics, diseases, early trauma, metabolic disorders, and conflicts within the individual or the defenses used to combat them. These problems were regarded as mental illnesses and given medical labels. The medical model was humane and treated those (with such problems) as persons in need of help and amenable to treatment.

Social Work Practicum and Supervision

In the 1960s U.S. social workers reemphasized the view that the environment affected the individual and was likely to contribute to causes of clients problems. A reform approach that attempted to change the clients system brought needed services to clients. In India, Balwadis were established in areas that did not have it, to ensure that children were educated. A snack or a mid-day meal was provided to enhance their nutrition. Health care centers were set up to motivate clients to take care of themselves. Family planning centers tried to motivate families to limit the number of children so that the quality of life would improve and reduce stress. These are examples of efforts to change the systems to improve clients well-being. The ecological model focused on the interaction between the individual and the environment that may not be conducive to a healthy balance. The people are not considered to be separate entities but rather as systems that actively reciprocate energy through their boundary with other existing systems, like the family and community. The person is helped to adjust better to the environment. The social worker sees to it that the persons needs are met by the environment. The ecological model seeks to work with individuals, families and small groups to help them cope better with regular changes in life like growing up, birth, death, sickness, marriage, divorce, empty nest, and other life cycle transitions. The interaction between people, families, and groups with their environment is also an area where social workers deal with. The maladaptive patterns are identified and dealt with using appropriate approaches. In this model, another area of social work is to see that the environment reciprocates with the

Social Work Practicum

individual to meet the needs, through services and accessibility to the resources. When a young girl from the lower caste is raped in the rice fields by the landlords son, the family blames her. They try to keep the matter concealed. The families in the lower caste gradually stop sending their girls to school or to even work on the field to keep them safe. The social worker would work with the individual girls self esteem and emotional problem. The social worker helps the family deal with their helplessness to fight against the higher class victimization. If possible the social worker may educate families in the lower caste about their constitutional, social, and legal rights and help them communicate with the landlord or the media if that does not work. On the other hand the social worker would work with the local government (Panchayat Raj) and see that laws against rape are upheld and the perpetrators are punished. This shows the social worker using the ecological model to work at three levels individual and group, the environment and the interaction or relationship between the two. The student may find it easier to work at the individual and family level. Working with the community (government, local leaders or upper class members) would be more difficult even for the social worker. The student can either accompany or observe the supervisor in action or can approach (escorted) with caution. Often, it would be more difficult for a female student to confront dominant male members in the community. It might be a good learning experience for the student to approach activist groups working for particular causes or media group with suggestions.

Social Work Practicum and Supervision

The Central Themes in Social Work Practicum

The process starts from the initial arrangements made for practicum through the final understanding of integrating theory into field work. It is divided under the following paragraphs (Birkenmaier and BergWeger, 2007): Preparing for a Social Work Practicum A student considering field work placement should accept personal strengths, weaknesses and emotions that could help or impede field work. It is important to acknowledge what one expects of the field placement, supervisor and what one expects to learn. Even though there may be areas that cannot be foreseen, there are others that can be anticipated and the student can prepare for the upcoming events. Some of them are as follows:

Building relationships with field instructor, staff and the clients Finding and accepting ones role and position in the agency Identifying and getting to know the agency and social work programs staff that will help answer questions, deal with problems and crisis situation. Chalking out a plan of action and managing time to avoid stress and overload. Identifying personal learning styles and roles to take on.

Social Work Practicum

Deciding how much personal information should be shared with field staff.

In preparing to be a professional social worker, the decision to become a social worker is the first step. To establish a professional identity and get affiliated to the professional group is a long process. Practicum is an important phase in this process. It is not an end as social workers keep growing and changing as skills are honed and knowledge gets wider. Social work practicum helps the student identify with the profession and establish personal and professional boundaries. Field work is an opportunity to adjust to transitions (of course work, supervision, practicum, graduation, professional social worker), variety of roles (case worker, group worker, community organizer, student, supervisee), and stresses. Safety issues in the field: In United States of America, social workers are second only to police officers in that they are at risk of having work related violence directed towards them (Landers, 1993). The level of danger has increased over the years along with the new child safety laws that need to be enforced, involvement of families in court cases, and expectations that social workers will solve violent cases (Berkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2007). Students may be threatened by clients, staff and other professionals. Identifying threats to physical, emotional and mental safety and taking reasonable precautions (client restraints, locks, working in teams, standard precautions against medical risks, attending workshops to train for defense against violence) are necessary for effective functioning.

Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Student may confront sexual harassment which may be verbal or nonverbal, ranging from sexual jokes to sexual intercourse. It can include asking for unwanted dates, unwanted touching, pressure for sexual activity, comments about body, sexual boasting, sexist and homophobic comments. Students need to document details of the harassment, work accomplishments, seek out other victims and directly approach the harasser to put an end to the harassment. If this fails, the agency or field work instructor should be able to address this issue. Other resources should be contacted if these steps fail. In India, prevention works better than taking steps after the fact. This is because even though laws exist against sexual harassment it would be near impossible to prove or get the laws to be enforced. Supervisors usually see to it that the student does not work late into the night or work alone with a client or professional. Students may not know where exactly their home visits would take them. Here too it is wise to go in pairs or decide to speak to the client outside the house. If sexual harassment does take place, it is best to speak to the agency supervisor and also to the school field work liaison. Supervision: is a form of teaching by a seasoned social work practitioner who imparts training and education with some level of authority. The mentoring relationship would include advising, consulting, understanding and helping. It is different from the job supervision because practicum supervision involves a teacher-learner relationship and not to oversee if the job is performed well. A student is not expected to know everything

Social Work Practicum

during practicum. A student also learns from mistakes made. However, the student should understand that a mistake could be costly and may really hurt a client. It is important that the student maintains open communication with the supervisor and is truthful about his/her actions, feelings and inhibitions to minimize the mistakes or its impact on the client. A supervisor may provide consultation or feedback. Organization of the agency: Expectations differ from one organization to another. A student also comes in with expectation of the organization. The student works within the organizations values, objectives, philosophies and resources. Knowledge of the organization is important to offer the best possible service to clients and for work with staff and other agencies. Governmental agencies are complex, with loads of paper work, rigid structure, conservative philosophy and larger salary. In for-profit organizations, the salary is higher and so are the expectations. There may be more resources, more flexibility to change in body and use of cutting edge technology. Non-profit organizations rely on government for partial funding and use a lot of volunteers. It could be based on a religion which could decide some policy. The size of the agency also determines what or how much and quality of treatment. Practicum with individuals and families (micro social work): This requires systems theory knowledge and development of skills and techniques. Skills required in this are to explore the problem, feelings, goal setting, termination and application of appropriate treatment. Critical thinking or conceptual understanding required


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

to integrate theories and treatment strategies is sharpened during field work. Self directed learning of professional competency requiring flexibility, self initiative and risk taking may be learnt over practicum and all through the work experience period. Interpersonal, administrative and professional skills can be learnt during practicum. Practicum with groups (mezzo social work): Intervention using groups can be cost effective and an efficient use of time, energy and skills. Skills of communication, education, mediation and negotiation are useful in group work. Even though many social workers may not primarily be group workers, generalist social workers may very well use group work for education or therapy at some time or the other. Social work administrators use skills in conducting groups when they facilitate committees, work groups and supervise groups of staff. Leading groups through discussions, conflict or education enables the student to gain valuable skills that come in useful in intervention and at the work place with colleagues or supervisees. The following are models of group work and the role of the social group worker (Berkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2007).

Social goals model is based on problem-focused interests and goals. They could include safety groups, parent-teacher associations, community development groups working on specific tasks, and coalitions advocating for improved welfare laws. The social worker would play roles of an initiator, convener, organizer, facilitator, and advocate or be a resource person.

Social Work Practicum


Reciprocal goals model is based on self-help, mutual aid in which members share experiences, support, ideas, solutions or their time. Anonymous groups o n 12-step programs, support groups for grief, caregiver and patient are examples of these groups. The social workers role would be that of a facilitator, mediator, educator and a support. Remedial goals model is based on the principle that group interaction brings about change. Psychotherapy, marital therapy, trauma survivors and child abuse perpetrators group are some examples of this group. The role played by the social worker would be that of a therapist, clinician, educator or mediator.

During practicum the student may not have a chance to work with all models of groups. Any practice with groups would erase some of the inhibitions and anxiety the student may have before group work practicum. Practicum in the community (macro social work): Some problems cannot be solved with micro and mezzo social work. They need a broader approach that tackles social policy, organizational change or community organization. Skills are listed for the different levels of macro social workers (Berkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2007). Skills required for administrative social workers could include budgeting, financial management, working with boards, organizational design, development, and diagnosis, computer information systems, human


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

resource management, networking, marketing, and media relations. Community organizers, social activists or social researchers may need skills of program development, implementation and evaluation, fundraising, coalition, planned change techniques, macro-level advocacy, community analysis, inter-organizational planning, leadership development, citizen participation, smallgroup decision making techniques, task force membership development and retention, economic development techniques and computer information systems. Social policy analysts or lobbyists or elected officials need skills in advocacy, lobbying, policy analysis, management, issue analysis techniques, social policy research and use of legal system. Legal issues in social work practicum: In the United States of America, social workers come in contact with the legal system on behalf of their clients, organization or themselves. Even though students undergoing practicum may not encounter such situations, they need to be aware of the legal implications of situations and activities related to courts and the law. It could include testifying in court, providing mediation, petitioning the court, help in class action lawsuits, advocating or helping draft legislation. In India, the legal system works very slowly and works more for those who have money. Many crimes are not reported because of the belief that the higher class can buy their innocence. Many times the police would falsify investigative reports. They have even reported

Social Work Practicum


dowry deaths as accidents and the victims and their families have been made to suffer even more. Law enforcers are afraid to do their duty because of repercussions on their job (transfer, demotion or loss of jobs) when the perpetrator is a rich, upper class person. Even though marital discord and conflict my break a family, there are not many divorces. When there is separation because of abuse, neglect or disease, then the father usually gets custody because of affluence or dominance in society. The wife may be sent home because she did not bring enough dowry (bride price), but her children would not be allowed to go with her (unless the husband or his family doesnt want the children). To prepare for termination, at the end of the practicum period, the student gets ready to close cases and projects. This closure is important for the student to come to terms with the end of practicum and focus on knowledge, skills and values gained during practicum, and note areas of learning for the future. An evaluation of what the student has learned is useful to reinforce the gains. It may be a good time to note what the student has contributed to the agency. It is important to end relationships with staff, co-workers and field instructor. This closure is important to realize that the supervision is ended and if the student graduates, it will be going on to an independent job. The client needs to feel respected and the relationship should be ended to reinforce the professional role and boundaries. In India the student is more direct, gives advice or may even take the role of a parent of older sibling. It is


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

important (even if the student feels that the sessions should not end) to terminate and say specific goodbyes to all the staff. Clients need to be made aware of their growth and encourage students to instill the confidence in the clients to carry on independently, while reassuring that the family will always be there for them.

Social Work Practicum Approaches

Social case work is used by practicum students to help individuals on a one-to-one basis. All social agencies that provide direct services have social case workers. The case workers job ranges from counseling individuals to adjust their environments to suit their needs or to adapt to changing environments. Caseworkers may help adolescents deal with emotional turmoil, women deal with joint family disputes, men deal with problems with landlords on the agricultural field, clients with an addiction to focus on their asking for help, or enable members to work with stigma of the lower caste, among many other issues. Group work consists of the group worker facilitating different group activities to meet various objectives. Individuals are helped to develop in different ways (socially, emotionally, and intellectually) through group processes. The groups are different in rural and urban areas. In urban areas, the group may provide information like marriage, religion, career, sex, legal rights, and art. In rural areas the groups are oriented to provide basic necessities and education of bank loans, private enterprise, child health and government programs. The Mahila Mandals or womens groups offer important information to women for social and economic improvement.

Social Work Practicum


Group therapy is used for individuals with emotional, behavioural, or social problems. Individuals are helped to overcome their problems through group processes. Many individuals can be helped at the same time in the group. The group worker is able to comprehend the needs and feelings of the group as he/she is a facilitator of the group unlike that of a case worker. This is used in hospitals, schools, agencies, or self-help groups. Family therapy is a type of group therapy that helps families deal with problems in communication, behaviour, emotion and relationship. The joint family system that includes the grandparents and siblings of the father, his wife and children may have complex problems that need help. Problems arising between parents-in-law and daughters in law, breadwinners loyalty to mother and wife, marital conflict, child rearing, keeping tradition and modernism are some issues that can be dealt with in family therapy. In organizing the community, the student in practicum encourages and stimulates the local residents to plan, develop, coordinate and implement programs. The community organizer is a catalyst of change. In the rural areas, the community organizer may enlist the help of the local Panchayat or village elders to settle disputes over building a school in the temple grounds. A social work administrator may lay down objectives, analyze conditions to provide services, recruit and supervise staff to form the organizational structure, and see to the budget and funding of the agency. Most administrators work in the urban areas. It would be


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

very difficult for a social worker to be an administrator in a very rigid, rural, hierarchical structure.

Competencies Required for Social Work Practicum

Social workers undergoing practicum may primarily be direct practitioners to clients or indirect service providers. However, the direct practitioners have to do some administrative work, supervise at times, have a good knowledge of the resources and be a team player. The administrators, supervisors and other indirect service providers, on the other hand may take up some case loads working as true generalists. According to Morales and Sheaffor (1995), the direct social workers need some basic competencies. Use of self that is sensitive of ones limitations and capabilities: The social worker needs to be aware of personal strengths and weaknesses and be able to use all the skills, values, knowledge in helping the client. Giving and receiving help: While helping clients, the social worker needs to be aware that the primary reason for this act is to benefit the client and not for self satisfaction. While receiving help the client may be embarrassed, feel inadequate or find it demeaning. An understanding of the intricacies of the helping process is necessary. Prof essional helping relationship: A po sitive relationship between the social worker and client, based on mutual respect and trust is important for an effective helping process. A genuine, warm, empathetic social worker, who has positive regard, can engage the client in a successful helping relationship.

Social Work Practicum


Sensitive approach: Social workers need to be aware of differences in culture, gender, age, religion, and disability. An understanding of variations in clients would enable the social worker to see the impact of such factors on the clients social, emotional and behavioural functioning. Code of Ethics: The social worker needs to be aware of the requirements for ethical practice. It is the public trust that grants professional sanction. To earn this trust the social worker must adhere to ethical practice of social work. The social worker provides the best possible service and tries not to control damage. Understand the behaviours of individuals and families: The professional social worker needs to have a repertoire of individual and family behaviour, family and social structure, family and individual life cycles, human physiology, anatomy, growth, development and anticipated times of concern. The impact of any event or situation on individuals and families is another area important knowledge required of the social worker. Knowledge is garnered from biology, psychology, sociology and anthropology. Gathering information on clients: Conducting an interview helps focus on information about the client and the environment while identifying resources that could be used in the treatment phase. This would help to easily determine the methods to be used in helping. Some of the skills that are useful in conducting an interview are listening, questioning, and reflecting help in establishing an empathetic relationship with open communication. Analysis of clients information: After the information


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

is gathered, the data is analyzed and the problem is identified. A proper determination of the problem situation would lead to selecting appropriate treatment methods. Once the strengths and limitations are assessed, resources that need to be garnered are sought. Information is gathered using a variety of tools and forms. Empowering the client: An important part of helping is to assist the clients understand and accept the problem and situation. It is a big step towards finding a solution. Assisting a client in clarifying a problem or resolving a conflict should not include deciding and functioning for the client. The client should be empowered to make decisions and actively solve the problem. This would give the client confidence to handle future problems that may occur. Helping the client throughout: Various skills are required when the social worker builds a professional relationship from intake through termination. After allowing the client to reveal his or her situation, the social worker collects data to describe the problem and identify resources and strengths that can be utilized in the helping process. Once the problem is analyzed and a plan of action or a contract is drawn up, then the client is helped to resolve his problem. At the end when the helping relationship is terminated, the process is evaluated to learn from the positive outcomes.

Ethical and Legal Issues in Social Work Practicum

Standards for treatment or codes of ethical practice by which professionals function have existed to ensure

Social Work Practicum


that the client does not come to any harm or mishap because of the professionals course of action. These standards are set up by professional organizations to restrict their members from committing malpractice. Such guidelines evolve from debates and discussions of practitioners and experts in the field, as represented, for instance, by the ethical standards adopted by the International Federation of Social Workers. Code of ethics is formulated according to conditions prevailing at some particular point. As a result they are bound to change as existing situation may require new standards. Such guidelines or standards are not law by themselves. However they are accepted by state licensing boards and practice laws. When a professional, acts in a manner that is not in line with the guidelines set by the professional organization, then sanctions may be imposed or worse still professional license may be revoked or the person may be removed from the profession. Civil action for monetary damages or criminal prosecution may be the outcome of certain violations. Some authorities that provide such guidelines or standards in the United States of America are the American Counseling Association (1995), American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (1990), American Psychological Association (1992), American School Counselor Association (1984), Association for Specialists in Group Work (1990), and National Association of Social Workers (1993).


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Any practicum experience should provide an opportunity to integrate theory into practice. A variety of settings provide the field work experience for the students to see how the knowledge they have gleaned in the classroom actually works. Students usually get to practice many approaches in social work. They get a chance to work with individuals, groups, community and get some awareness of social administration, social policy and social action. Along with the knowledge, students need to be aware of the skills, values and ethical guidelines that are required for practice of social work. It is very important to learn about the social practices and values of the community within which field practica take place. Supervisors can be important guides to understanding the network of social services available in a particular region, and can help orient the student to the agency context in which they will work. Clearly defining student learner roles is an important step, so the student can benefit fully from the educational opportunity, while still providing appropriate service to both clients and agencies. Faculty liaisons can help ensure that everyones needs are addressed and that opportunities to integrate classroom training with real world experiences are maximized. A fruitful social work practicum would be the final shaping of the student in becoming a professional social worker.

Social Work Practicum


American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (1990). Code of ethical principles for marriage and family therapists. Washington, DC. American Counseling Association (1995). American Counseling Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. Alexandria, VA Association for Specialists in Group Work (1990). Ethical guidelines for group counselors: ASGW 1989 Revision. The Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 15, 119-126. American Psychological Association (1992). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 46, 1597-1611. American School Counselor Association (1984). Ethical standards for school counselors. Alexandria, VA. Berkenmaier, J. & Berg-Weger, M. (2007). The practicum companion for social work: Integrating class and field work. 2nd Ed. Allyn & Bacon: MA. Engelbrecht, L. (2006). Cultural friendliness as a foundation for the support functions in the supervision of social work students in South Africa. International Social Work, 49(2), p. 256-266. Landers, S. (1993). Social workers combat on-the-job attacks. NASW News. February,3. Leslie, D. R. & Cassano, R. (2003). The working definition of social work practice: How does it work? Research on Social Work Practice, vol. 13, pp, 366-375.


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National Association of Social Workers (1993). NASW code of ethics. Silver Spring, MD. Pawar, M. Hanna, G. & Sheridan, R. (2004). International Social Work Practicum in India. Australian Social Work, 57(3). Rai, G. S. (2004). International field work experience: A survey of US schools. International Social Work, 472), 213-226. Zastrow, C. (1995). The Practice of Social Work. 5th Ed. Wadsworth Inc. Ca.

2 History of Social Work Practicum: Development of Field Education

*Patricia Lager, B. Hamann

Social work profession was not planned and thought out at the beginning. It emerged in response to human needs and suffering. In different parts of the world, lending a helping hand was instinctive. The development of social work was influenced by social, political and professional pressures. The economic changes, the wars and the rise of other helping professions have played a large part in the emergence of social work as a profession. It is essential for social work to be a profession so that clients can feel secure in the knowledge that they are given services by practitioners who abide by an ethical code of conduct. It would make the general public and other professions respect the profession of social work. This would ensure the recruitment of qualified social work personnel. A social worker finds the work personally satisfying, financially motivating and ensures a higher status along with other professions.When people could not cope up with their problems, when the suffering could not be
* Prof. Patricia Lager, FSU, USA & Dr. B. Hamann, USA


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

alleviated by the social network or when there was no help forthcoming, there arose the response of various helping professions. They responded to physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and social needs. It was soon noticed that the intervention was more effective and efficient when the professionals had advanced knowledge and skills. As the knowledge base increased for the profession with increased theory, concept, and practice, the membership became more restrictive and exclusive. The professional boundary became more defined. Social work is devoted to the individual and the environment and therefore has both public and private models of professions. Social workers can work both in the public and private sectors. The history of social work led to changes in education of social workers and the practical training they underwent.

History of Social Work Practice in the US

Social work developed due to various events like wars, economic depression, political stand taken, and international conditions. The history of US is presented as a model to show the development of social work and practical training in the field in particular. Some of the earlier history is comparable to that of India. Indian social work has its beginnings in voluntary helping of the underprivileged. Whether it was the Hindus, Muslims or Christians, each religion held helping the poor and needy in high esteem. To be a good person it was necessary to help the needy. Many organizations have existed over years that helped the underprivileged. Establishing social work as a profession has not been easy. People in India generally believe that social work

History of Social Work Practicum: Development of Field Education


is from the heart and should not be a paid work. It has not been easy for the profession to show the people the impact of change which is not dramatic as in the medical field. Some of the important events that influenced the changes and development of social work into a profession are displayed below in Table (Morales and Sheaffor, 1995).

Table : Events in Social Welfare and Social Work History in the US

Aprox Date Founding of US 1800 Dev. of S. W. Practicum Volunteer workers helped Volunteer learned from predecessors Paid workers trained with organizers Students were trained in agency Students train in hospitals Social work students placed in psych. Hosp. Practicum focus on the medical model of S.W. U.S. History Event Agricultural society Child labour laws Civil war Social Welfare Event Orphan homes and first charitable societies, Poorhouses Ma. General hospital. House of refuge for juveniles, NY MA. Board of Charities Social Work Event


1877 1899 1898

Buffalo Charity Aid Society

Spanish-Amer. War World War I

First juvenile court

Dorothea Dixs crusade for mentally ill Natnl. Conf. of Char. & Correction First paid s. wrkrs. Friendly visitors NY School of Philanthropy Introduction of medical SW Introduction of Psychiatric and School SW, Flexner Is SW a profession Richmond Social Diagnosis, Assn. of Trng. Schools for Profnl. SW


White House conference on children US Childrens Bureau NAACP National Urban League


Progressive era

1920 Development of professional case work

Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Womens suffrage, Stock mkt. crash The Great Depression F.D. R. Admin. Social Security Act World War II County and state relief agencies Freudian influence Am. Pub. Welf. Assn. New Deal programs Federal Emergency Relief Act Civilian cons. corp. Am. Assn. of SW Milford conf. Am. Assn. of Schools of SW


1935 1941


Practicum in group work Students get oriented to s.w. admn. and research 2-yr. grad. Prog for students Emphasis on knowledge & case work 2-yr supervised experie-nce & NASW membership for jobs Increase in no. of BSWs in practicum BSW pract. is generalist focus Students get oriented to standards of S.W. practice

Natnl. S. Welf. Assembly

Korean war Brown vs. Bd. Of ed. Kennedy admn. Kennedy assassin-ation Vietnam war

US Dept. of Health, Ed. And Welfare estbd. US Civil Rights Act Juv. Delinquency Act MR and Comm. Mental Hth. Facilities Act, Food Stamp Act, Civil Rights Act-1964


Am. Assn. of Group Workers Natnl. Assn. of Sch. of S. Admn. Assn. for study of comm. Orgn. S. W. research grp. Council of S. W. education (merger of AASW & NASSA NASW (merger of Defn. of SW prac. Code of ethics



M. L. King assassin-ation

Equal opportunity Act, Medicare Act, Medicaid, Narcotic Addict Rehab. Act



Watergate, Nixon resignation

Child Abuse, Prevention & Treatment Act

Academy of Cert. SW, NASW recog. of BSWorker as professional CSWE begins BSW Accredit. process (generalist focus) CSWE approves adv. standing for BSW graduates NASW Conceptual Framework series Expansion of pvt. Pract., Expansion of doctoral SW (GADE) Academy of Certified Baccalaureate SW


Carter admn.


Practicum Includes skills in pvt. practice

Reagan admn.

Ed. of all handicap. Child. Act, Indian Child Welf. Act, Pvt.iz.tion of human services Social Security Block Act, AIDS epidemic, Tax Equity & Fiscal Resp. Act of 1982


G.H.W.Bush admn. Students learn to be accountable Clinton admn. Health care reform Welfare reform


SW licensure in all states

Volunteering and Social Work as an Occupation

It can be seen from the table above that social work practice began in a voluntary capacity, as a response

History of Social Work Practicum: Development of Field Education


to human need. When family and mutual aid became inadequate, volunteers helped the poor and the infirm. At this time practicum for social workers was learning at the agency. There was no organized learning in schools. All the training was on the job and volunteers learned purely from practice and from the experience of their supervisors and predecessors. Social agencies sprang up in response to the need to relate warmly to people who asked for help. It was soon realized that social workers needed to be paid and this made social work into an occupation. Wars, passing of laws, specific administrations that supported particular programs, welfare programs and events and movements have all contributed to the development of social work as a profession. The wars gave rise to many women leaders who took it upon themselves to procure federal aid for the cause they were working for. In the late nineteenth century, social research was conducted to find out causes of poverty and suggestions for alleviating it were given. The first theory of practice was introduced by Mary Richmond with her Friendly visiting among the poor (1899) and Social Diagnosis (1917). The setting up of settlement houses also brought about a change of attitude in workers who respected the clients who came to learn skills for urban living. The early twentieth century brought about social workers who contributed to the development of children and other welfare programs. Case work in child welfare agencies and charity organizations was limited to a narrow base and economic focus. Medical social work in hospitals changed the sphere of casework and basis


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

of patients problems. The social and psychological aspect of patients illness was given importance by the medical social worker. Social workers were working in other areas like mental health, correctional institutions, schools and labor industry. This paved the way for social work practicum in specialized areas. The National Conference on Charities brought together volunteer and professional staff of social agencies to exchange ideas about the social services, problems faced, and to study the practical work done. This shows that there was concern about the development of practical work and how it should be done. By 1914, social work was established as a distinct occupation, quite different from volunteers and other professions helping the most underprivileged in the society. It was noticed that if, the theoretical knowledge, values and skills were channeled properly to the appropriate target group or individual, then, the outcome was more successful. As concepts and theories were developed and social work programs became more intense, the membership rules became more stringent and education more specific. This led to the profession becoming more exclusive.

Emergence of Social Work as a Profession in the US

These ideas of channeling social work into a profession reinforced the need for formal field training. To create professional field training the skills need to be better grounded in principles like a critically defensible knowledge base. Focused goals, techniques and field

History of Social Work Practicum: Development of Field Education


training would help achieve such goals. Abraham Flexner (1915) laid out the following criteria based on which he absolutely stated that social work was not a profession: 1) Professions have a large individual responsibility. 2) Professions are mainly intellectual operations. 3) Professions draw their base from science and learning. 4) Professions work the base up to a practical and clear-cut end. 5) Professions possess an educationally communicable technique. 6) Professions generally organize themselves. 7) Professions become increasingly altruistic in motivation. In 1921, Mary Richmond pointed out that social work needed a code of ethics to have a high social standing among professions. The National Conference on Social Welfare initiated the proposal to draft such a code, but it did not materialize at that time. In 1917, the National Social Workers Exchange provided vocational counseling and placement and also worked towards defining and identifying professional standards. The American Association of Social Workers tried to develop a unified professional association but at that time there were specialized groups trying to establish their own identity (1918, American Association of Hospital Social Workers, 1919, National Association


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Visiting Teachers, 1926, American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers, 1936, American Association for the Study of Group Work, 1946, Association for the Study of Community Organization, 1949, Social Work Research Group). The struggle of these groups to thrust forward and maintain their identity shows the division of the wider profession of social work. There was an even greater need for a single unifying professional association. Students were trained in hospitals, psychiatric settings and communities. Students were trained to work with individuals and groups. At the same time there was a struggle at the administrative level to instill a set of standards by which social worker would abide to protect the clients. The students were educated in specialized fields based on problem faced and the setting of the clients. This further moved the profession towards other disciplines instead of furthering the professional skill, values and knowledge base. Up until 1919, social work training was based on agency training. Then the Association of Training Schools for Professional social Workers was set up (to establish standards in professional social work education) of members from agency and university affiliated schools. This was later converted to the American Association of Schools of Social Work which stipulated that only two year graduate programs would be recognized as professional social work education. At this time social work education programs were offered at agencies and at universities. These centers did not agree to the twoyear stipulation and this brought about the creation of National Association of Schools of Social Administration

History of Social Work Practicum: Development of Field Education


consisting of public universities that offered baccalaureate and one-year masters program. They did not feel the need for a two year program and emphasis on professional case work. These two organizations merged into the Council of Social Work Education in 1952. This came in response to the Hollis-Taylor study of social work education that suggested a two-year graduate program as minimum requirement for a professional social worker. The knowledge and skills in social work practice was also given due attention at that time. Richmond compiled a variety of techniques for use by caseworkers in different settings in her book Social Diagnosis. This developmental surge was stumped a bit, by the professions fascination with psychoanalytical approach and techniques. For a while there were no developments in the professional field of social work that developed methods other than casework. The need to form a unified association was seen in the formation of the Temporary Inter-Association Council of Social Work Membership Organizations. This came into being in 1952 with the merger of the American Association of Social Workers and other specialized associations. The National Association of Social Workers was formed with the merger of specialist associations that strove hard to maintain their identities. The purposes of the NASW are: 1) To streamline the administration of social work services 2) To develop research in social work


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

3) To make positive changes in social work practice 4) To advance social work education 5) To improve social conditions 6) To orient the public to social work profession 7) To enhance the salaries and working conditions 8) To develop, promulgate and enforce the Code of Ethics 9) To certify the competence to social workers 10) To aid in the development of social work in other countries 11) To recruit to the profession The Academy of Certified Social Workers required NASW membership and a two-year supervised experience. Many jobs required the membership in the Academy. The 1950s was a time of debating about the nature of social work and its future. Greenwood (1957) identified the attributes of a profession based on a relative approach. They included a systematic body of knowledge, professional authority, code of ethics and a professional culture. Based on these criteria he said that social work was indeed a profession. A year later the NASW came up with the working definition of social work practice that clarified the professional boundaries. Gordon critiqued the definition which helped clarify the knowledge, values and practice methodology in the definition. The Code of Ethics was the standard set up to guide the practice of ethical professional social work in 1960. Social work

History of Social Work Practicum: Development of Field Education


had become recognized as a profession and had a repertoire of its own jargon that made it exclusive. Graduate schools were university based or affiliated to the university and they could be accredited based on specific standards. All the changes in the profession and its growth do not really make the social worker deviate from keeping the clients needs first in the field. Providing service to the needy was still its main mission. Some states even started licensing social workers. However, a professional social worker needs to do more than follow the heart and help. It is important for supervisors to keep up with the changes in the profession and orient students to tie history with current events in social work and notice how the events have shaped field work over time. Organizations that once worked for the profession are later found to be less useful and therefore can be consolidated into one unifying unit. The unification of all the associations to form one single body strengthened the resolve to create one unique profession. Professionals know that even though helping is the main focus of social work, the political aspects of social work profession influence the nature of practice itself. In India, the specialist associations strive to maintain their identity (which weakens the professional identity). Psychiatric social workers for example tend to identify more with their inter disciplinary team members. The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences offers a two year post masters degree to psychiatric social workers (Master of Philosophy in PSW). This prestigious course was offered to only 12 students in the whole country after passing an entrance exam and interview. The curriculum aims at providing a pre-


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

doctoral training to the social worker. The training is intense and is geared more towards the field of Psychiatry (Neurology and Neurosurgery). Students spend most of their days in practicum doing intake interviews, making provisional diagnosis, prognosis and treatment regimen of patients. This may be due to administrative policy arising from need for more professionals for the large number of patients who come from all parts of India. Training does cover some social work intervention for individuals, families and groups. At the end of the two year program the student is proficient in Psychiatric disorders and even some neurological and neurosurgical terms. The social work research and core professional development is somewhat diluted. The weekly social work conferences and supervisory meetings offer potential for the future.

Elitist Model to the Present

At the end of the 1960s with the movements from the womens rights, civil rights, and welfare rights, there was a moving away from clinical social work and into social action and social welfare. Controversy was created by those upholding the clinical social work view to strengthen the profession and those who believed in social change. This was fueled by the Lyndon Johnson administration and the increased federal support. However, under the Reagan and Bush administration federal funding for welfare was cut short and social workers again turned towards the clinical aspect. Social work practice adopted a generalist approach. NASW relaxed its membership rules, inviting more members to join. A baccalaureate graduate from a CSWE

History of Social Work Practicum: Development of Field Education


accredited undergraduate program could become a member. The Academy of Certified Baccalaureate Social Workers in 1990 was set up focusing NASW on a multilevel social work. CSWE recognized many baccalaureate programs based on specific requirements. Many of these programs were situated in urban and rural areas. This enabled many aspiring social workers who could not have attended urban schools to take advantage of the schools in their area. Many students from disadvantaged and lower income areas were given an opportunity to complete the educational requirements without needing both levels of social work degrees. The graduates could also find jobs in smaller communities where urban graduates may have hesitated to take up jobs. This shift also makes an impact on the type of field work offered to students. Students can be placed in small agencies in the rural areas. They did not have to do their practicum in urban settings. According to Gore (1988), problems faced by the social work profession arise from a discontinuity between rural and urban life. In India this is especially important because most of the population live in rural areas. The main lifestyle is agricultural. Students who want to become social workers cannot only train in urban settings and hope to work in rural areas. To bring about social change it is important to focus on the rural areas and train students in those settings. Most schools of social work are in urban centers. It may be difficult to set up universities in rural areas, but distance learning can open doors to many more students from rural areas. Satellite centers that help students with distance learning and offer a library would be useful. Gore (1988),


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

also suggests that social work education must find a viable link between professional function of social work and the development process. Schools of social work in India have part of the practicum focusing on community organizing. Students do get to attend a few mahila mandal (womens group) meetings, see the balwadi (pre-school for children usually free and offered by the government in rural areas but can be private too in urban areas) functioning and may meet the head person or persons in the community. It is difficult for the student to see how social work intervention in the community actually works. Some schools sponsor free meal programs or skill based programs in the community. Students then see how this helps the community members. Some urban schools offer social research opportunities for students in the rural areas. Still other urban area schools work with the medical and psychiatric out patient clinics that offer free check up. Many times the students get to see how these programs work and may be help in setting up the clinic and hand out free material. The students do not really get to see any social work intervention at these clinics.

Inter-Disciplinary Practice and Education

Many service agencies that helped clients employed workers from different helping professions. Often the boundaries of the different helping professions were not distinct. There were areas where professionals overlapped their function. To avoid turf disputes and trouble and for the smooth rendering of service to clients, it was necessary for team work and interdisciplinary cooperation. Students learn about

History of Social Work Practicum: Development of Field Education


collaboration in theory and many times they do have an opportunity to put it into practice during practicum. Students learn that it is important to work within the protocol and limits set. At the same time it is beneficial to work with other professionals to ensure that the client gets the best service. Case managers are also in charge of individual cases and they see that the services are not duplicated and that the client gets all the required help. This collaboration of various related professions is also important so that each professional does not falsely believe that the other is taking care of the client and then let the client fall through the cracks. Good administration of the team approach sees that the interdisciplinary work is carried on smoothly. The field work supervisor (may be the case manager of the cases assigned to the student) helps the student with the cases and is responsible for the client getting the best help. The student in turn needs to make sure that the work done is reported in the case file and discussions are not missed with the field work supervisor. This would ensure that work is not duplicated or simply not done. When it is not possible to carry out a particular request or job, it is important for the student to discuss this with the supervisor who could delegate this to another social worker. In India, the interdisciplinary approach is seen working best at a medical or psychiatric facility. A hospital has a team of professionals who go on rounds discussing the problems, treatment and prognosis of patients. The social workers role is well defined, whether it is working with the patients family, community resources, or patients attitudes and feelings. The student at the practicum setting works with the team, under the


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

supervision of a field social worker. The social work student gets the feel of working with the team and collaborating in harmony for the welfare of the patient. This sort of team work can be experienced in different settings where social work is part of a team. In the industrial setting it may be working with the union or management for the workers benefit. In the correctional setting it could mean working with the administration, legal system, and/or psychologist in helping the client. The school system has the school authorities, school psychologist, health professionals, special education experts with whom the social worker works to aid the students. In any case the student doing a practicum can get the benefit of learning how to work in a team. Skills of adjustment, contact, listening, and team work help in this process. Practicum in India has many challenges. Working with diversity of language, religion, caste, culture and different socio-economic status is not easy. The student comes in with pre-existing beliefs and values. They may be in conflict with values of social work and the values prevalent in the society. A social worker from a middle class family (who gave hard work and education high priority) may find it hard to work with an upper class or upper caste youth who has paid an enormous amount of money in donation to get into a medical college. Showing respect for the client at the outset may not come easily for the student who feels anger with people who use money to get what they want regardless of merit. A student from a high caste on the other hand may have similar feelings towards a client from the lowest

History of Social Work Practicum: Development of Field Education


caste (harijan or sudra) because the client got into engineering because of government policy of reservation for the backward community. It is important that those feelings dont transfer to the practicum setting where the clients current problem is the issue and not societal values or prejudices. Low status of women, problems of girl children and attitudes of men towards women play a vital role in field work. It is difficult for a student who is aware that equal status should be given to both genders and see the submissiveness of girls and women when the male dominance is prevalent in the community. Students may feel angry at such injustice and may be provoked to a confrontation where the clients are unaware of the situation to be unjust or unacceptable. Even the women are ingrained in a society where such injustices are considered as part of religion (Muslim and Hindu) and a way of life. A female student may be prejudiced and take the side of the wife while doing marital therapy. A male student could be directive and not allow the right to individual self-determination to play a role because of the bias that the female client is not capable of making decisions. This right is not really seen at work for another reason. In India, the professional is given a higher status in the helping relationship and the client is submissive and expects to be directed towards the right path. Working with poverty at close quarters and at a regular basis has been difficult for students even though they encounter it daily (Pawar, et. al., 2004). An urban student placed in a slum to conduct an educative group session would need to walk through narrow squalid


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

streets into small huts and shacks. The student could be overwhelmed with the dirt and squalor and fail to see anything positive. The student could very well transfer such feeling of disgust and make the client feel inadequate and inferior. Pawar, et al. (2004) talk about begging that irritates the students who are not used to it. It is difficult for urban students to get used to public transport, infrastructure and different concept of time in rural areas (Pawar, et al., 2004).The public transport could be infrequent and very slow. Finding a particular address in an urban slum or a village is not easy. It could be frustrating at first but students should take the help of local people to direct them to the right place. The farmers go to work in the fields early in the morning and usually take some rest after lunch. Due to the seasonal nature of agriculture there may be times when they appear to be lazy and demanding of their wives. Students may not see them at all during peak planting and harvest time. It is important for students to attempt to meet clients when they can spare time and not intrude when they are very busy. Most people in the villages are very hospitable and welcoming. The social work student needs to be careful not to take advantage of their warmth. There is a need for longer supervisory sessions and different set of communication skills (Pawar, et al., 2004) when problems arise. The supervisor needs to be sensitive to the students capacities and weaknesses. Normally the supervisor may have a brief daily talk with the student about new and old cases. At the end of the week a time may be set to discuss progress or lack of it.

History of Social Work Practicum: Development of Field Education


At the end of the whole placement there would be a long feedback session. However this may not be enough for all students. A student may require discussing the case in detail everyday. A written set of directions may be needed by the student to carry out the responsibilities. Students placed in medical settings in India, tend to feel inferior to the other interdisciplinary professions. It is not uncommon for students to allow clients to call them doctors and even refer to themselves as doctors. Sometimes supervisors introduce the students to the clients as doctors. Supervisors are under the misconception that clients may not want their services if they are not doctors. This is not an ethical practice and should be avoided at all costs. Even if a few clients refuse to accept social work intervention there will be many more who will realize its benefits. This lowers the status of social work even more. Clients may falsely believe that doctors are helping is areas which is actually the boundary of social work. Students placed in research practicum (in medical set ups) should maintain similar ethical standards. Clients should be made aware of the true nature of the research and allowed to leave anytime without negative impact on medical treatment which was their primary reason for being there. It is not unheard of for students to imply that the research is part of the medical treatment and that they would be directly benefiting from it. It is the supervisors role to set this straight and direct the student towards maintaining proper standards of social work practice. If the supervisor does not do so, it is then the students duty to uphold high ethical standards when working with clients.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Over the years social work has grown from voluntary helping to an occupation and a recognized profession. It is a multilevel profession with baccalaureate and masters level of education offered in colleges and universities. Social workers in agencies and private practice have the autonomy to help clients in need. In the U.S., NASW is the national organization for social workers which clarify the knowledge, skills and values, and sees that social workers function ethically and do not violate the standards set down to protect the clients. Its equivalent in India is the National Association of Professional Social Workers in India (NAPSWI). The CSWE in the U.S. is the authority that is responsible for setting educational standards and assuring that colleges and universities adhere to common guidelines in developing and managing professional training. Some of the history of social work is comparable to that of the beginnings of social work in India. Social work in India had its beginnings in voluntary helping to the underprivileged. Even though most of the knowledge of social work in India is borrowed from the West, it is difficult to transplant the theory that is based on a different culture to India. India is now on the brink of major economic developments. The open market is doing well and the large middle class is thriving. The majority of the poor though, are facing deprivation and inequality. The governments priority is in industrialization, defense and growth of the market economy. Will the cast offs be apportioned to the care of social worker whose intentions notwithstanding, can play only a limited role in alleviating human misery arising out of structural force? (Kumar, 2002:80-90).

History of Social Work Practicum: Development of Field Education


This may shape the history of social work profession in India and in turn make an impact on the education and practical training of students to help the underprivileged. On the other hand would it be easier for social workers to ignore the poor and turn to other problems, which the rich middle class would face with the rise in new income and change in lifestyle and value system. Would social work education turn towards training the rural students and train them to empower the poor or would the focus be on training urban students to deal with new problems of multinational companies dramatically increasing the middle class income and change in life style? Social work practicum would shift accordingly.

Bruce, E. J. & Austin, M. J. (2000). Social work supervision: Assessing the past and mapping the future. The Clinical Supervisor, 19(2). Flexner, A. (1915). Is Social Work a Profession?) National Conference on Charities and Correction. Gordon, W. E. (1962). Critique of the Working Definition. Social Work, 7, p. 3-13. Gordon, W. E. (1965). Knowledge and Values: Their Distinction and Relationship in Clarifying Social Work Practice. Social Work, 10. p. 32-39. Gore, M. S. (1988). Levels of Social Work Provisions in Relation to Needs in a Developing Society. The Indian Journal of Social Work, vol. 49 (1), p. 1-9.


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Greenwood, E. (1957). Attributes of a Profession. Social Work, 2, p. 45-55. Hollis, E. V. & Taylor, A. L. (1951). Social Work Education in the United States. New York: Comumbia University Press. Ivry, J. & Lawrence, F. P. (2005). Fieldwork rotation: A model for educating social work students for geriatric social work practice. Journal of Social Work Education, 41(3). Kumar, 2002. Social Work in India: A Bright Future? The Indian Journal of Social Work, 63(1), p. 80-90. Morales, A. T. & Sheaffor, B. W. (1995). Social Work: A Profession of Many Faces. 7th ed. MA: Allyn & Bacon. (Pawar, M., Hanna, G. & Sheridan, R. (2004). International Social Work Practicum in India. Australian Social Work, 57 (3), p. 223-236. Richmond, E. M. (1917. Social Diagnosis. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

3 Social Work Practicum: Global and National Scenario

*Neil Abell, B. Bamann

Field education is widely considered to be among the most important components of training for professional social work. Its diverse functions include grounding the theories and methods established in the core, classroom curriculum in the real world experiences of persons providing and receiving social services. As such, careful construction of field learning opportunities for students is among the most challenging tasks faced by social work educators. Like their students, teachers are required to test what they have carefully constructed in the protected atmosphere of the university against the realities of practice environments and the providers and clients who work and seek services in them. As we will see, careful attention has been paid to the foundations for field education. A major example of this is the extensive process undertaken by the IFSW and the IASSW to develop the field components of their
* Prof. Neil Abell, FSU, USA and Dr. B. Hamann, USA


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Global Standards document. To achieve these recommendations, the authors found it necessary to address standards first generated in the West (chiefly Europe and North America), and to critically assess their relevance across the diverse social and cultural settings encompassed by their organizations. The result was a set of guidelines covering curriculum, settings, supervision, and the responsibilities of all parties to the exchange. These guidelines were not viewed as rigid mandates, but as carefully considered recommendations to be adopted only after careful consideration of their usefulness in specific local contexts. Ultimately, translating students learning goals into concrete, specific learning objectives required a deepened understanding not only of the nature of social problems, but of the balance social workers collectively seek between providing remedies for people suffering from existing conditions and confronting the social circumstances, political, economic, and otherwise, that make such problems possible. The result has not always been comfortable, as field education pressed concerns with taking on the causes, and not just the symptoms, of social distress. Consequently, implications for social development are introduced below, with special consideration for the potential that field education can provide. We consider not only students formal learning opportunities but also the meaningful dialogue and community development that can occur where field education takes place. Along the way, we address the selection of field settings and supervisors, relationships between academic institutions and local communities, and issues that help

Social Work Practicum: Global and National Scenario


or hinder development of successful social work field experiences. Issues in field education in India illustrate this range of concerns, and set the stage for making the most of your own field experiences.

Global Standards for Field Education and Training

In 2004, the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) published their Global Standards for the Education and Training of the Social Work Profession (Sewpaul & Jones, 2005). As part of this comprehensive and carefully crafted document, the authors developed a set of specific recommendations for field education. These included the recommendations that programmes should consistently aspire to achieve:

Field education (that is) sufficient in duration and complexity of tasks and learning opportunities to ensure that students are prepared for professional practice. Planned coordination and links between the school and the agency/field placement setting. Provision of orientation for fieldwork supervisors or instructors. Appointment of field supervisors or instructors who are qualified and experienced, as determined by the development status of the social work profession in any given country, and provision of orientation for fieldwork supervisors or instructors.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Provision for the inclusion and participation of field instructors in curriculum development A partnership between the educational institution and the agency (where applicable) and service users in decision-making regarding field education and the evaluation of students fieldwork performance. Making available, to fieldwork instructors or supervisors, a field instruction manual that details its fieldwork standards, procedures, assessment standards/criteria and expectations. Ensuring that adequate and appropriate resources, to meet the needs of the fieldwork component of the programme, are made available (2005: 220). The authors noted that, in some countries, the recommended links between schools and their agency/field placement settings take the form of independent student units established by schools in communities defined either by their locations, or by their specialized interests. These, too, could be acceptable field training sites. The larger goal with respect to international field education standards remains achieving a balance between universal recommendations to be adopted everywhere, and culturally relevant recommendations tailored to the customs and needs of specific sites.

Field Education in a Developing Country

Rambally (1999), writing on her field education experiences in the Eastern Caribbean, noted the differences between working in some developing

Social Work Practicum: Global and National Scenario


countries where a network of social work agencies and trained supervisors are in place, and in other developing countries where field settings were still being established. These circumstances, she wrote, suggested an intersection between field education and the promotion of organizational change and social development. Such development may occur in the forms of therapy, organizational change, community development, social education, and social action, and represent opportunities for social work field education to contribute to the social development of the settings where it takes place. Defining Social Development Social development is a broad concept, which must be approached with the utmost respect for the cultural values and social norms of the settings involved. Rambally noted that it included:

the integrated, balanced, and unified development of society and the capacity of the social system to generate broad and favorable changes in levels of living planned social change and economic development to promote the well-being of all.and principles shared with social work, such as collaboration, cooperation, and social justice (1999: 488).

Citing Falk, she observed that most social workers have difficulty making the connections between these broad concepts and their day-to-day work.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Establishing Field Sites and Opportunities A hands-on approach is often required to establish field settings, including such tasks as building supportive relationships with key persons in the community, meeting with agency and community representatives to ensure their concerns and goals are being included, and obtaining approvals from decision makers and authorities to increase the potential for future success (Rambally, 1999). Clearly specifying the qualifications of potential supervisors required an understanding of agency bureaucracies, and skill in avoiding giving offense or settling for less skilled instructors simply because they had worked in their environments for a longer period of time. Respecting the extra effort expected once field supervisors assumed their new responsibilities was also an important way of minimizing future problems as agencies absorbed students into their midst. In small communities with relatively limited field training opportunities, other concerns arise. Students, for instance, may come from the very same agencies offering field training. Great skill is required when educators negotiate new roles and responsibilities for the student and attempt to ensure that if he or she completes a field practicum in an agency where he or she is also employed, that educational goals are not compromised while juggling the student and employee roles. Further, when almost everyone in a service network knows (or knows of) each other, achieving unbiased, objective supervision may be difficult. Where possible, it seems best to avoid mixing student/ employee roles, or establishing supervision with persons

Social Work Practicum: Global and National Scenario


who already have existing relationships. In some settings, the small number of qualified supervisors makes it necessary to establish joint, or group student supervision, with responsibilities shared by the Schools Field Placement Coordinator, and the agencys field instructors. Resolving some of the issues identified above can lead to social development in the host community. Working with agencies to lay the foundation for field supervision can raise awareness of the scope and helping role of social work. Upper level students may learn how to be assertive, to negotiate with authority figures, and to form clear, theoretically sound arguments backing up their needs and requests (Rambally, 1999). In addition, organizational boundaries in service delivery can begin to blur when field instructors meet for training seminars and deepen their collaborations and communication. Finally, supervisors and supervisees, guided by the formal educational objectives of a learning contract, may help to anchor aspects of agency practice in current theory and literature, and provide students with bases for becoming more assertive and assuming greater responsibility for their own learning. These small changes can combine over time, creating a strategic position for field education, leading to clearer identification of social needs or problems in service delivery, and generating ideas for productive improvement. Depending on the context, field education can become more than a medium for the integration of knowledge and values.and can act as a force for organizational change and a catalyst for social development (1999: 494).


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Problems in Conceptualizing Field Training

Even in the best of circumstances, achieving field education ideals remains challenging. In a study including respondents from 67 countries and all seven regions of the world as identified by IASSW (Africa, Asia, Australia/Oceania, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America) (Skolnik, Wayne, & Raskin, 1999), some common points of concern included:

a shortage of qualified field instructors a shortage of appropriate field settings questions regarding the role of the field liason, and how to help students integrate field and practice.

In nearly two-thirds of the countries sampled, no outside standard-setting organization mandated guidelines for conducting field education. (Note that the IFSW/IASSW Global Standards may serve as guidelines internationally, but are not necessarily formally adopted and/or mandated in specific countries.) In 94% of the programs surveyed, agency employees, most often selected by the schools, serve as field supervisors. Respondents cited the lack of properly trained, highly qualified practicum instructors as the most critical problem in field education. Worldwide, most field placements take place in medical hospitals, family service agencies, and psychiatric hospitals. To support this work, schools provide social work methods training in specializations including practice with individuals, families, and groups; community development; social planning and change;

Social Work Practicum: Global and National Scenario


administration/management, and research. Fields of practice included child welfare, gerontology, and mental health, with womens issues being least frequently taught. Only one-third of schools required that practicum assignments were linked specifically to methods taught in classrooms, and about half required assignments linked to their fields of practice. Consequently, establishing clear connections between students classroom learning and field educations remains problematic worldwide. Consistency of placements also varied widely, with students receiving their training in as few as one and as many as four different settings. Practicum requirements ranged from 200 hours to 1000 hours, with some consisting of rotating through a series of observational opportunities and others involving semester or year-long placements. As Skolnik, et al. (1999) observe, advantages of these options deserve consideration. While observational experiences and rapid rotations limit the opportunity to gain practice skills by doing, they do offer potential benefits. Rotations through a series of agencies can provide a breadth of experience to support a foundation curriculum which seeks to help students grasp the full range of social work practice and provide a context for understanding the transferability of professional skills (1999: 479). Challenges to a Social Development Approach Finally, Skolnik, et al.s (1999) survey highlighted the difficulties in addressing social development concerns, and associated these with the observation that less


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

widespread attention is given to macro-practice addressing the socio-political context of social problems. Many areas, they write, sanction social workers primarily to help individuals adapt within society, rather than to change that society (1999: 480). This issue was echoed by observations in South America where some schools attempted to teach an integrated method, placing greater emphasis on changing social structures than on helping those who suffered in relation to them (Resnick, 1995). Schools teaching such approaches had serious problems finding agencies that could support related field training. Ultimately, this led social work educators to realize that no matter how important and interesting it had become, in most cases, it was too idealistic an approach to be applied to the real world and that they had to return to more conservative models(1995: 78-79).

Illustrations and Applications in India

National Scenario India is rich in diversity with regard to religion, language, lifestyle, geography, castes, class and culture. India is now on the brink of major economic developments. The open market is doing well and the large middle class is thriving. The majority of the poor though, are facing deprivation and inequality. The governments priority is in industrialization, defense and growth of the market economy. Will the cast offs be apportioned to the care of social workers whose intentions notwithstanding, can play only a limited role in alleviating human misery arising out of structural force? (Kumar, 2002)

Social Work Practicum: Global and National Scenario


This question may well shape the history of social work profession in India and in turn make an impact on the education and practical training of students to help the underprivileged. On the other hand would it be easier for social workers to ignore the poor and turn to other problems, which the rich middle class would face with the rise in new income and change in lifestyle and value system? Problems Faced by Student Social Workers in India There is a serious lack of literature that is of Indian or foreign origin available to the students and professionals in India. Even though most of the knowledge of social work in India is borrowed from the West, it is difficult to directly apply the theory that is based on a different culture to India. Some of the history of social work is comparable to that of the beginnings of social work in India. Social work in India had its beginnings in voluntary helping to the underprivileged. There are major differences when one considers the family structure, religious beliefs, legal emphasis, status of women and prevailing value system. There is a dire need to develop indigenous social work literature. Many social workers who are qualified are attracted to western universities and jobs in the west for many reasons. It is very difficult for social workers to be proud of their profession when it is generally believed that they probably ended up in social work profession because they could not get into engineering, medicine, law or business, (the professions that are held high in peoples esteem). Social work as an occupation is looked down upon because helping another human being is considered as a voluntary act of human nature since


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

centuries. There is a constant need to justify social work to be an occupation and to prove that the reason for becoming a social worker was because one wanted to. The low pay scale of social workers and lack of widespread public support of this occupation has led to brain drain to the U.K., U.S.A. and Australia. Another reason social workers go abroad is for higher studies. Many get frustrated when they see that ethical standards that they read in theory are not really practiced. This is especially seen in social work research. The emphasis (by some professors) of students conducting research interviews, entering data and not actually getting experience in doing analysis and writing articles also frustrates social workers. Harassment of students by professors is another reason that makes students dejected and turns them to other countries or other fields. In India, the specialist associations strive to maintain their identity (which weakens the professional identity). Psychiatric social workers for example tend to identify more with their team members from other disciplines. The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences offers a two year post masters degree to psychiatric social workers (Master of Philosophy in PSW). The curriculum aims at providing a pre-doctoral training to the social worker. The training is intense and is geared more towards the field of Psychiatry (Neurology and Neurosurgery). Students spend most of their days in practicum doing intake interviews, making provisional diagnosis, prognosis and treatment regimen of patients. Training does cover some social work intervention for individuals, families and groups.

Social Work Practicum: Global and National Scenario


At the end of the two year program the student is proficient in psychiatric disorders and even some neurological and neurosurgical terms. The social work research and core professional development is somewhat diluted. The weekly social work conferences and supervisory meetings offer potential for the future. According to Gore (1988), problems faced by the social work profession arise from a discontinuity between rural and urban life. Most of the population lives in rural areas. The main lifestyle is agricultural. It may be difficult to set up universities in rural areas, but distance learning can open doors to many more students from rural areas. Satellite centers that help students with distance learning and offer a library would be useful. Gore also suggests that social work education must find a viable link between professional function of social work and the development process. In India, the students are taught the generic course content in the first year of some of the masters programs on the basic premise that a social worker needs to be able to manage various types of situations, playing different roles and adopting appropriate methods. The second year would allow the students to choose their specialization area. Schools of social work in India partly focus on community organizing. Students attend a few mahila mandal (womens group) meetings, see the balwadi (pre-school for children) functioning and may meet the head person or persons in the community. It is difficult for the student to see how social work intervention in the community actually works. Some urban schools offer social research opportunities for students in the rural areas.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Problems Faced by Social Workers In India, the interdisciplinary approach is seen working best at a medical or psychiatric facility. The social workers role is well defined, whether it is working with the patients family, community resources, or patients attitudes and feelings. The social worker gets the feel of working with the team and collaborating in harmony for the welfare of the patient. This sort of team work can be experienced in different settings where social work is part of a team. Skills of adjustment, contact, listening, and team work help in this process. Low status of women, problems of girl children and attitudes of men towards women play vital roles. It is difficult for a social worker who is aware that equal status should be given to both genders and see the submissiveness of girls and women when the male dominance is prevalent in the community. When a young girl from the lower caste was raped in the rice fields by the landlords son, the family blamed her. Families had to yield to the landlords unjust wishes. The social worker worked with the individual girls self esteem and emotional problems. The social worker helped the family deal with their helplessness to fight against the higher class victimization. The social worker could have educated families in the lower caste about their constitutional, social, and legal rights but it would be dangerous to work with the landlord or the media. In a just world, the social worker could help the client work with the local government (Panchayat Raj) and see that laws against rape are upheld and the perpetrators are punished.

Social Work Practicum: Global and National Scenario


Social workers feel angry at such injustice and may be provoked to a confrontation where the clients are unaware of the unjust situation. The right to individual self-determination is not really seen at work in India. Professionals are given a higher status in the helping relationship and the client is submissive and expects to be directed towards the right path. In India, prevention is better than treatments because existing laws are not easy to enforce. The legal system in India works for those who have money. Many crimes are not reported because of the belief that the higher class can buy their innocence. The police have been known to falsify investigative reports. They have reported dowry deaths as accidents. Law enforcers are afraid to do their duty because of repercussions on their job (transfer, demotion or loss of jobs) when the perpetrator is rich and from the upper class. Marital discords and conflicts cause stress in families. There are not as many divorces as there are separations because of abuse, neglect or disease and the father usually gets custody because of affluence or dominance in society. The wife may be sent home because she did not bring enough dowry (bride price), but her children would not be allowed to go with her (unless the husband or his family do not want the children). Social workers find such injustice difficult to work with. Working with diversity of language, religion, caste, culture and different socio-economic status is not easy. The social worker comes in with pre-existing beliefs and values. They may be in conflict with values of social work and the values prevalent in the society. A social worker from a middle class family (who gave hard work and


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

education high priority) may find it hard to work with an upper class or upper caste youth who has paid an enormous amount of money in donation to get into a medical college. Showing respect for the client at the outset may not come easily for the student who feels anger with people who use money to get what they want regardless of merit. A social worker from a high caste on the other hand may have similar feelings towards a client from the lowest caste (harijan or sudra) because the client got into engineering because of a government policy of reservation for the backward community. It is important that those feelings do not hinder the helping process. The social worker would have to acknowledge personal prejudices while working in an urban slum. A hut dweller may have different priorities (from that of the social worker) and not care for his family. The social worker understands the clients right to determine his priorities and does not impose his/her own bias. The social worker may find it easier to work at the individual and family level. Working with the community (government, local leaders or upper class members) would be difficult. Working with poverty at close quarters and at a regular basis has been difficult for students even though they encounter it daily (Pawar, Hanna, & Sheridan, 2004). An urban social worker placed in a slum to conduct an educative group session would need to walk through narrow squalid streets into small huts and shacks. The social worker could be overwhelmed with deplorable conditions and fail to see the positives. The social worker may show disgust and make the client feel inadequate

Social Work Practicum: Global and National Scenario


and inferior. It is difficult for urban social workers to get used to public transport, infrastructure and different concepts of time in rural areas (Pawar, et al., 2004). The public transport could be infrequent and slow. Finding a particular address in an urban slum or a village is not easy. Social workers in medical settings in India tend to feel inferior to the other interdisciplinary professions. It is not uncommon for social workers to allow clients to call them doctors and even refer to themselves as doctors. Sometimes other professionals introduce the social workers to the clients as doctors. They are under the misconception that clients may not want their services if they are not doctors. This is not an ethical practice and should be avoided at all costs. Even if a few clients refuse to accept social work intervention there will be many more who will realize its benefits. This lowers the status of social work even more. Clients may falsely believe that doctors are helping is areas which are actually the domain of social work. Social workers in research practica (in medical set ups) should maintain similar ethical standards. Clients should be made aware of the true nature of the research and allowed to leave anytime without negative impact on medical treatment which was their primary reason for being there. It is not unheard of for social workers to imply that the research is part of the medical treatment and that they would be directly benefiting from it. It is important to have a basic generalist foundation and use specialized techniques where appropriate. A generalist social worker would be sensitive to different


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

cultures and be able to approach with varied skills. In families where the young girl child is given up to the temple in prostitution (devadasi system), a social worker would serve as a social activist in promoting the rights of the girl child at the macro level. The social worker would also have to work with the family with sensitivity to the cultural needs. A generalist social worker also works with the girl child at the individual level. A social worker needs to have different skills to work with clients in urban areas and rural settings. A social worker from an urban setting would have to draw on a different repertoire of skills when working with clients in a village. The social worker may have to work through existing groups in the village (mahila mandal /womens group and Balawadi/pre-school.

Global standards for social work field education have been developed as recommendations, rather than mandates, for conducting this critical component of professional training. Given its importance, field training requires extensive advance planning, thoughtful and sophisticated engagement with local communities, and careful recruitment of institutions and individuals with the right set of opportunities and skills. Faculty liaisons must have clear understandings of both the learning objectives established in the classroom, and the real world possibilities available in community settings. Respect for existing bureaucratic structures and cultural practices and values are critical to development of realistic field training opportunities. Social development opportunities naturally arise when

Social Work Practicum: Global and National Scenario


the skills and talents essential for good field training converge. In such instances, opportunities to move beyond providing remedies and on to addressing root social, economic, and environmental causes sometimes emerge. When this is the case, all involved are encouraged to remember the values of social justice and human dignity, and to carefully consider when it is and is not useful to pursue larger rather than immediate goals. Skolnik, et al., citing Slocombes experience in Australia, conclude that field work still remains the single most important factor in the preparation of social workers, yet is the most vulnerable to mediocrity, lack of standardization, poor quality control, few resources, and the myriad of other frailties so prevalent in the welfare and educational climate today(1999: 482). Students are encouraged to approach these exciting opportunities with respect for the clients they will observe and serve, and for the agency administrators and supervisors who work hard, along with classroom instructors, to provide them with the best opportunities possible. The supervision process, whether in individual or group formats, provides opportunities for applying prior training on social work methods and specializations and for critically assessing ones strengths and weaknesses as a developing professional. When approached with reasonable confidence and a willingness to learn from both successes and mistakes, the outcomes for all concerned can be great.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Gore, M. S. (1988). Levels of social work provisions in relation to needs in a developing society. The Indian Journal of Social Work, 49(1). Kumar, A. (2002). Social Work in India: A bright future? The Indian Journal of Social Work, 63(1), 8090. Pawar, M., Hanna, G., & Sheridan, R. (2004). International social work practicum in India. Australian Social Work, 57(3), 223-236. Rambally, R. E. T. (1999). Field Education in a Developing Country: Promoting Organizational Change and Social Development. International Social Work, 42(4), 485-496. Resnick, R. P. (1995). South America. In T. D. E. Watts, Doreen;Mayadas, Nazneen S. (Ed.), International Handbook on Social Work Education (pp. 65-86). London: Greenwood Press. Sewpaul, V., & Jones, D. (2005). Global Standards for the Education and Training of the Social Work Profession. International Journal of Social Welfare, 14, 218-230. Skolnik, L., Wayne, J., & Raskin, M. S. (1999). A Worldwide View of Field Education Structures and Curricula. International Social Work, 42(4), 471-483.

4 Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning

*Manju Kumar

The main purpose of social work education is to prepare competent and effective professionals who can meet complex client needs within diverse public and private human service settings. Social Work Education combines scientific enquiry with the teaching of professional skills and values. The training in social work enables the practitioners to perform a variety of roles using multiple social work practice methodologies. It is crucial that the education and preparation of budding professionals is provided at levels that are suited to their heavy responsibilities and demands of the field. The increasing complexities of life require the practitioner to intervene in a number of human systems and at different levels. You may recall that major changes have been witnessed (relatively) recently in Social Work Education System. Two main reasons have lead to these changes.
*Manju Kumar, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar College, Delhi University, Delhi.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

First, there has been an acknowledgement of the need of larger number of trained professionals to operate social care and social developmental programmes at different levels of intervention. This means that social work educational system has to equip professionals not only for senior and supervisory level jobs, but also to produce professionals who could operate, with sensitivity and empathy, at grass root levels in wider geographical areas. Second, there has been a growing criticism of the elitist and urban slant in social work education. Practitioners in the field (especially in India) claim that the aspirations of students with masters degree do not match the realities of social work practice at the grass root levels where they are needed the most. Also, postgraduate qualified professionals find it hard to bridge the socio-cultural gap between themselves and the people in rural / tribal / remote areas. Besides, the existing systems of higher education have not been very accessible to persons in disadvantaged positions whether socially, geographically or economically. A number of initiatives have been adopted in the last few decades to respond to the above-mentioned developments. Most educational programmes abroad now offer degrees at undergraduate and / or postgraduate levels. Undergraduate degree is generally perceived to equip entry-level professionals for direct generalist practice, leaving those with postgraduate qualifications for supervisory and macro level interventions. Explosion in information technology has opened diverse

Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning


avenues for reaching out to potential students so far excluded from the higher education network. Like many other professional education systems, Social Work educators have experimented with online / web-based learning, multimedia initiatives, interactive TV and so on. Most of these technologies have helped in enriching students learning of the theory and information contents in Social Work Courses. In India, The Second Review Committee on Social Work Education (UGC, 1975) emphasized the need to provide a holistic framework for the development of a ladder programme of education where there were several termination points related to job functions in the country. The UGC Committee recorded in its findings that Social Work Educational Programme in the country tended to be elitist. Two of the conditions, which supported this observation, were that most of the educational institutions were located in cities and the students hailed largely from the urban middle class. The committee felt that there was a need for a systematic geographical distribution of social work education. The conventional system of social work education has not proved to be responsive to social development concerns of contemporary society and to the need for trained professionals to manage social development programmes. There is also a demonstrable need for social workers in areas, which lack educational opportunities and resources. Inadequate number of formally trained social work professionals forces local organizations to employ paraprofessional and nonsocial work personnel.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

The alternate educational strategy in the form of Distance Learning Mode extended to social work education has been one of the most significant developments in the field of Social Education System. A large number of educational institutions in countries like UK, USA, Canada and Australia offer BSW and /or MSW degrees through distance learning. After an extensive analysis of the published literature authors of a review concluded that course and program outcomes achieved in social work distance education courses and programs are comparable to those achieved in traditional face-to-face programs. (Macy, et. al, 2001, p.72) Provision of Field based learning has been one of the most important concerns, however, that delayed considerably the acceptance of Distance Learning Mode for social work education, particularly in India. The School of Social Work (SOSW) at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) recognized the need to initiate an alternate educational programme to address the training needs of large number of untrained staff already employed in the social welfare sector. SOSW believed that Distance Education programme could help a large number of those persons who are unable to avail the benefits of the conventional, expensive and full time education system. Supported by a need assessment survey, the School pioneered the design of a first Three-Year Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) course programme grounded in the Distance Learning methodology. Introduction of BSW course aims to meet the need for

Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning


a broader based trained social care / development workforce. The students enrolled from across the country will be equipped to address the social service needs of the underserved indigenous populations. It is also vital that the profession reflects the wider composition of the communities it serves. For those who are already employed in the social care sector, the course offers an opportunity for upward mobility, economically, socially and professionally by pursuing part-time educational programme. Extensive use of multimedia- teleconferencing, videoconferencing, and video lectures added to study materials and face-to-face interactions with the tutors at the study centres provide effective support to the students learning of theory component of the BSW Course.

Field Practicum in Conventional and Distance Education Systems

Even at the risk of repetition, I will reiterate that you can learn social work only by doing. It is widely acknowledged among Social Work educators that Field Work is an integral and necessary component of Social Work Education. This component of learning by doing in social work education is variously designated as Field Work, FieldBased Learning, Field Instruction or Field Practicum. The uniform content in all of these is a field based placement of students, planned assignments to be undertaken by them at these placements, recording of the work done, reflection and evaluation of experiences in the field; and utilizing supervisory guidance to


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

achieve specified sequential learning. To make it a professional learning, this practical work is grounded in classroom course content (theory) and is done within an ambit of overarching ethical code. Achieving minimum standards of performance in Field Work is essential for successful completion of the course in Social Work. In the available literature on social work education in India and abroad, Practicum have been used to describe the content that educational institutions organize for students practical experience in the fields of social work practice. In pursuit of Social Work degrees, students are required to undertake varied and challenging practice placements. In these placements, the students are required to draw on theoretical knowledge from their formal courses in order to place their field experiences in a broad context and to develop practical skills. Learning by doing has been the hallmark of social work education and the thrust of a social work practicum is to learn how to apply theoretical social work material to a hands-on situation; how to cope with the practical limitations of a real-life environment and how to be useful to real people with real problems in a real setting that is less than ideal. Conventionally, bulk of learning through Field Work Placements occurs concurrently with classroom teaching. Students are placed in one / two settings during each year of the total course period. Each student is assigned to a qualified and social work trained Field Work supervisor who guides his / her supervisee throughout a specific placement. Besides, ideally an

Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning


experienced social work trained professional employed at the placement agency works out assignments for the student and provides on-the-spot guidance. Field Work programme requires students to fulfill certain mandatory conditions like, attending specified number of field work days and number of hours at the social agency where the student has been placed for field practicum, and regular submission of records of experiences at the placement to the Field Work supervisor. Successful completion of field instruction is essential for obtaining social work degree. The evaluation process (often in formal or informal consultation with agency supervisor) is based on parameters drawn from objectives and learning outcomes stated in the Field Work Programme. The potential student entering the conventional system of social work education is one who has been pursuing his/her educational career continuously without major breaks i.e. those joining bachelors course after senior secondary certificate or its equivalent; and those seeking admission to masters course after graduation. Very few of those who are already working in the social work fields manage to enter the portals of social work education institutions except when a particular institution accepts candidates sponsored by their employers. This trend is gradually disappearing with almost all of the students being inexperienced and raw. Historically, social work education in India followed the western model and depended almost entirely on western literature. The language, culture and socioeconomic status of the students and the people they


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

were expected to serve became increasingly divergent. Further, as the educational institutions have been located chiefly in urban areas, students in remote areas are not able to access facilities of higher education. One of the main differences between a distance education student and a campus student is that many distance education students are part-time students, and thus tend to take their courses over a greater number of years than students in full time conventional system. Secondly, the potential students availing of the Distance Learning System present a mixed lot. The students enrolled for Social Work Courses under the Distance Learning (DL) System present, understandably, a wide variety of levels of education and / or work experience. They belong to different regions, speak different languages and come from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds. Designing a Field Practicum Programme in Social Work within the Distance Learning Mode is indeed a challenging task. Drawing a rough parallel with the conventional system, Social Work Educational Institutions incorporate all significant components of field-based learning in the structure of Field Work Programmes within the distance learning mode as well.

Field Practicum in Social Work Education in the Distance Mode Overseas

In almost all the countries, the Schools of Social Work offering BSW / MSW courses through Distance Learning have developed Field Work Manuals and guides giving detailed guidelines for students and supervisors respectively. While all the components of field practicum

Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning


as extant in the conventional system are there, the actual patterns of field practicum differ chiefly as to (i) the number of placements in each year, (ii) types of social agencies specified for each successive year of the course, (iii) focus of the learning outcomes expected to be successfully achieved, (iv) number of hours / days to be spent by the students at their placements; and (v) supervision to be provided by the faculty of the School or the Trained Agency Staff member or jointly by both. The students are permitted to carry on their field practicum in their own communities and, in some cases, in the agencies where they are currently employed. Specific guidelines have been provided to work out their assignments in field practicum. Field Work Manuals provide parameters for selection of placements as also the responsibilities of the agencies for sharing in the educational enterprise. Roles of the field work guides and code of conduct for students being placed for field learning are clearly delineated. Some of these Manuals have been listed at the end for your reference. A serious and concerted effort is made to give due importance to field practicum so as not to dilute this vital component of social work education. A large number of Courses offered through distance education in the USA have been accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE).

Field Practicum in Social Work Education in the Distance Mode IGNOU Model
As said earlier, designing a Field Practicum Programme in Social Work within the Distance Learning Mode was


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

a challenging task, particularly taking into account the reservations of a number of social work educators about offering social work course through distance learning medium in India. The School of Social Work (SOSW) at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) initiated BSW Course for a wide variety of student population. As true to distance learning mode, use of self- instructional study materials is supplemented by use of audio-visual media and face-to-face interaction with tutors in the study centres. Field Work Program is designed to provide students with a wide range of social work learning opportunities. The BSW students enter the course with different levels of experience and learning. The field experience is expected to build on what the individual student already knows. The Field Practicum has to cater to the training needs of a young raw student, coming right after completing senior secondary school as also of a much more mature student who may have been working in an agency similar to the ones selected for Field Placements. With the offer of MSW, PG Diploma in Social Work, M.Phil courses on the anvil, designing of relevant field based learning has assumed much higher significance. Keeping in view the significance of field-based learning, satisfactory completion of field work is mandatory to secure the award of social work degree. Achieving minimum standards of performance in Field Work is essential for successful completion of the course in Social Work.

Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning


While students are required to put in 25 field work days during BSW course, they will put in 45 to 60 full field work days during MSW. During PGDSW (MSW I Year), students will be expected to complete a small research study beside the field placement work. Evaluation of BSW students, done both by internal and external examiners, has equal weightage. This is expected to maintain objectivity in evaluation of students work. Recognizing the importance of personalized supervision and guidance in field practicum, each student is assigned to a Field Work Supervisor (FWS). Supervisors are required to be trained social workers with MSW qualification. Supervisors are given an orientation to their role and function at the beginning of each year through teleconferencing, radio and face-to-face contact. Profile of Students The students of BSW course of IGNOU present, understandably, a wide variety of levels of education and / or work experience. They belong to different regions, speak different languages and come from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds. They belong to different age-groups bringing, therefore, varying levels of maturity. They could be married, with children. They may be returning to academics after an interval of some time; they may have come without any prior exposure to the field situations; or they may belong to the marginalized social groups which are in need of professional interventions. A significant number of students are females, requiring special care in arranging field-based learning in rural / remote areas.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

The students in post graduate programmes may be drawn from among BSWs or graduates from allied disciplines. The field experience has, therefore, to fulfill different set of learning objectives. More opportunities for critical thinking, reflection and analyses of micromacro linkages need to be planned. Strategies of Field Instruction The training in social work enables the practitioners to perform a variety of roles using multiple social work practice methodologies. Within a dynamic interactional process of expectations and outcomes (Brij Mohan, 2002) students acquire: a) A repertoire of knowledge and skills in analysis and assessment;

b) A confidence to apply knowledge to practice; c) The ability to create opportunities for growth of those in need of help and;

d) Work collaboratively with other professions. To facilitate this learning for the widely divergent potential student population, a number of strategies have been adopted. i) Specific learning objectives and targets for achievement have been delineated. B S W perceived both as a terminal point for entry-level professionals as well as a step to post graduate course specifies certain educational objectives which need to be achieved by each student by the end of the Course.

Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning


Appropriate learning objectives have been clearly specified for students working towards post graduate degree. ii) Field learning is planned sequentially for each successive year of the Course.

Completion of First year of MSW leads to the award of Post Graduate Diploma in Social Work. As such field training during the first year equips professionals for generalist practice in a wide variety of fields including social and corporate sectors, civic administrative and financial institutions and the media centres. The final year of MSW, leading to degree of MSW focuses on training in primary methods of social work like case work, group work and community organization etc. All the three years of BSW cover different dimensions of professional training and socialization. A different set of objectives have been worked out for Field Work for each of the three years. These objectives associated with learning outcomes for each year reflect the sequential nature of field-based training.

During the first year, students develop an awareness of roles and functions of professional workers and acquire basic skills of teamwork, observation and communication skills and learn to deal with simple problems of individuals and families. Also, they are exposed to institutions carrying out development work in the community and learn how to use supervision.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

During the second year, they get opportunities for practicing case work and group work methods and get exposed to the agencies carrying out welfare functions. Third year exposes students to agencies addressing special problems, social or individual. They are expected to perform professional roles, work within social work ethics and begin to think critically on the problems requiring professional interventions. iii) Components of field practicum are clearly specified. iv) Students of each year receive their Field Work Journal, which acquaints them with the expectations and gives guidelines for working in the Field. The journal states clearly the dos and donts in field work, i.e., a code of conduct; the learning outcomes expected to be achieved; the structure of field work; and the inputs of supervisor they can avail of. The Journal also provides space for recording their field experiences and reflections along with comments of the Supervisor. Field Work supervisors are provided with Field Work Guides that include, beside the above information, guidelines for supervising and evaluating students. v) Learning is provided to the students at their doorsteps'. The field practicum whether placements or supervision takes place in their own communities. This is in tune with the philosophy underpinning the distance learning mode as an alternate educational system to reach out to the so far inaccessible population.

Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning


vi) Field Practicum is a mandatory component in M. Phil course as well. This is an innovation in social work education system, at least in India. Structure of Field Practicum in BSW Courses Field Practicum in BSW course consists of Nine Components. Enumeration of Components of Field Work Programme is not intended to indicate that they are independent entities. They are rather parts of a composite wholethe total learning experience in the field. 1) Orientation Visits 2) Field Placement 3) Agency Client Relationship 4) Assignment of Tasks 5) Nature of Social Work Process 6) Teamwork 7) Administrative assignments 8) Recording 9) Field Instruction 1) Orientation Visits: These observational visits expose the students to a wide range of social work practice and help them find a context for understanding the transferability of professional skills. They are helped to identify different concerns that the organizations are focusing on and their responses to the same. Helped by the Supervisor, the students use the guidelines provided in the Field Work Journal for recording their observations, analyze the same and reflect on their experiences


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

in respective agencies. These visits, thus, enable them to develop observational skills, a spirit of enquiry, and appreciation of social work interventions. These visits further prepare them for their Placements. 2) Field Placement: The aim of Field Placement is to enable the students to respond to real life situations, adjust to people from different backgrounds; and to gain experience in reconciling different approaches towards the same problem. Agencies are the settings where students acquire essential skills, tackle ethical dilemmas, test professional values and learn to apply knowledge gathered through academic course work. Some of the factors influencing the placement decisions include existing experience or orientation of the students; distance to be commuted by the students; interest and preferences of the students; and needs, expectations and limits of the agencies. Groups of three to six students are placed in each agency. The purpose of placing students in groups is to help them learn how to adjust with each other and to acquire teamwork skills. Another important factor influencing the selection of the placement agency is to ensure a fit in the mission, aims and service delivery system of the agency and the learning objectives of the field practicum. At the beginning of the fieldwork session the supervisor along with the student makes a learning plan based on fieldwork situation and the fieldwork objectives of the particular year.

Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning


In case a student is already working in social sector and the work place is selected for field work, the Fieldwork Supervisor will help the student to get maximum exposure in practicing those skills, which cannot be practiced in the employing agency. 3) Agency-Client Relationship: The client is the center of the whole social work process and therefore the client-social worker-agency system is to be understood properly. The students learn to appreciate the significance of establishing positive relationship with the clients who seek help at the concerned agency. Students try applying the principles of relationship while assisting in the helping process of the agency. It is by establishing a relationship with the client that the social worker achieves the aim of improving the clients social function. They learn to appreciate the value of sensitive, humane and empowering approaches to interventional strategies whether in direct interaction with the clients or in referral services. 4) Assignment of Tasks: Breaking down of the field work objectives into tasks and relating these to the expected learning outcomes is quite a challenging exercise. The aim of doing specific tasks is to expose students to situations where the social work methods are used in rudimentary form. The task may or may not directly be perceived as social work input, but the process of its planning and execution is likely to involve interaction with individuals, groups and other agencies. The tasks can be chosen


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

depending on the need of the target population and the resources available. Working out of assignments also requires keeping in view the differential in the experience and capabilities of the students. Planning of tasks is vital to the students learning as it is through the doing of these tasks that students acquire social work skills, identify their strengths and areas for improvement, gain knowledge of the needs and problems of client groups and critically review the services and service delivery systems meant for the people in need of professional intervention. More than the actual task, it is the total experience that provides necessary learning environment. 5) Nature of Social Work Process: Field Practicum enables the students to analyze processes involved in the application of different social work methods in the field. Working on field-based assignments, students get familiarized with different tools for assessing needs and problems of the client groups, planning and implementing interventions, for example interviewing; home visits; recording; positive worker- client relationship and networking; and evaluating the results of the interventions. They learn to recognize different steps involved in systematically planning and organizing various activities. Identifying social work processes was all the more important for those already working in social work agencies so that they and their employers could appreciate the value of professional training.

Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning


While in the first year, students identify processes of need assessment, planning, execution and evaluation of different tasks, during 2 nd and 3rd years, students learn the processes involved in application of case work and group work; problemsolving at different levels of intervention; processes in performing different social work roles; and micromacro linkages. 6) Teamwork: Social workers have to work in teams and the team members may be other professionals like lawyers, doctors, nurses or volunteers. The approach of other professionals will be very different from social workers. The social work in such cases has to not only take care of the psychological and social needs of the individual/s, but also has to humanize and integrate the various approaches. Students learn to work as members of the team of their co-workers. They also observe about staff of the agency working as team members. 7) Administrative Assignments: To be able to work as efficient professionals in the social agencies students are expected to take up administrative tasks like maintaining simple service statistics of the agency; participating in the planning of basic programmes; assisting in tasks like maintaining correspondence, documentation and report writing, project proposal formulation, conducting need assessment surveys; learning to keep simple accounts and budgeting; attending decisionmaking meetings etc. 8) Recording: Recording is one of the important tools


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

of social work practice. Social work records serve to review, check and monitor the progress of the case; to facilitate consultation; and to form the basis of referral. The records provide significant data for administrative decisions regarding clients and services; and for purposes of research, education and advocacy. Students learn to differentiate between professional records and literary or creative writing. Starting to write verbatim descriptive records with some analytical inputs in first year, they learn to write increasingly more professional records of their field experiences. They learn to write case studies of individual clients, reports of home visits, group process records and to develop community profiles. They learn the application of processes of selection, analysis and reflection in recording. They learn to write process records of case work interviews and group sessions, analyze and evaluate the sessions and prepare future plans based on the same. The students are encouraged to write in vernacular so that they have comfort level in communicating their field experiences and learning from the same. 9) Field Instruction: This is a very crucial component of the Practicum. The Field Practicum design provides for at least five individual and five group conferences to be conducted at the Study Centre. Individual Conferences enable students to process their experiences in the agency placements linking knowledge, skills and values acquired in academic course work to experiences and activities

Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning


in the field. They are encouraged to discuss workplace issues such as self-care, stress in the helping process and concerns about service delivery system at the agency. Sometimes, students may share their personal problems which are impinging on the their performance in the placement. Group Conferences: Group sessions have proved to be very important medium for students getting peer support. It has been found that common areas of teaching like induction, skills of recording, presentation skills, and discussion of common problems in working with clients could be dealt more effectively and economically in the group conferences. Students learn to present their view points logically and convincingly, field questions and receive feedback. In these group sessions an increased variety of learning experiences become available. Group conferences help students to appreciate effectiveness of alternative solutions to similar situations as they are exposed to a range of opinions and viewpoints. However, the Supervisors have to be cautious about potential rivalry, which may inhibit learning. Negative feedback from peers could expose individuals to ridicule. The Supervisors help students to be supportive rather than overly critical of each other. Guided Field Learning a Component of Field Practicum Field Work Supervisor is the hub of all field work learning and professional socialization of social work


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

students. His role has been envisaged as a crucial link between the students and the field-based learning. It is the Field Work Supervisor who is responsible to achieve a degree of fit between the field work programmes objectives and expectations and the bureaucratic arrangements of the agencies. Supervisors liaison with the Agencies is an important form of educational support for the Practicum. Administrative, teaching and helping the three basic inputs by the supervisor are put to a tougher test here than in the conventional system. The students profile, the selfstudy mode of the course and the goal of developing competent, sensitive and committed professionals require the Supervisor to be creative, innovative, dynamic and perceptive.

Field Practicum for BSW I Year: An Illustration

To illustrate some of the components of the Field Practicum design here is a brief description of Field Practicum as organized for students of BSW I year (IGNOU) at a Study Center in Delhi (Kumar & Thakur, 2005) Students Profile: of 17 students enrolled in the BSW Course, more than half were females. Barring two, all the students (15) were working. Most of those employed were engaged in social care and community work. This conforms to the students profile anticipated in the designing of the course. The students demonstrated high degree of motivation and commitment to their own learning. Those employed perceived the course as an opportunity for enhancing their professional skills and for improving their job profiles. The students employed

Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning


in non-social work jobs had wished to join this field because it offered them both a career and a sense of worth. Their career plans were well crystallized and this resulted in their positive response to all supervisory inputs. Orientation Visits: Students visited five social service agencies such as AVARD, Project Concern International, Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, Promotion of Employment for Disabled People and Prayas Observation Home for Boys. These observational visits provided the students a wide range of social work practice and helped them find a context for understanding the transferability of professional skills. They identified different concerns that the organizations were focusing on. The students were helped by the Supervisor to use the guidelines provided in the Field Work Journal for recording their observations, analysis of the same and reflection on their experiences in respective agencies. Placements: Students put in at least 25 full working days at the agency selected for placement. Some of the factors influencing the placement decisions included existing experience or orientation of the students; distance to be commuted by the students; interest and preferences of the students; and needs, expectations and limits of the agencies. The Supervisor arranged field placements, as far as possible, close to where students lived or worked. Groups of three to six students were placed in each agency. The purpose of placing students in groups was to help them learn how to adjust with each other and to acquire teamwork skills.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

The aim of Field Placement was to enable the students to respond to real life situations, adjust to people from different backgrounds; and to gain experience in reconciling different approaches towards the same problem. Agency-Client Relationship: The students learnt to appreciate the significance of establishing a positive relationship with the clients who sought help at the concerned agency. Students tried applying the principles of relationship while assisting in the helping process of the agency. They realized the value of sensitive, humane and empowering approaches to interventional strategies whether in direct interaction with the clients or in referral services. Assignment of Tasks: As it was the first year of the Course and the students group was a mixed one the supervisor actively engaged the Agency Supervisor (a trained social worker responsible for guiding students in the agency) in interpreting the goals and identifying relative complexity of tasks. This helped in matching capabilities of students, particularly those fresh from school or working in non social work jobs, with competence required in different activities. Students engaged in individualized problem-solving process, and assisted the agency staff in planning and organizing of sports events, cultural programmes, health and awareness camps. They conducted educational and recreational activities in groups to learn to observe processes of interaction and programme planning. It became necessary to plan assignments for those already working in social sector in such a way that they

Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning


learnt to appreciate the difference in the approach of a trained social worker. An effort was made to diversify their assignments so that they did not repeat the kind of tasks their existing jobs entailed. Nature of Social Work Process: Working on field-based assignments, students got familiarized with different tools for assessing needs and problems of the client groups, planning and implementing interventions, and evaluating the results of the interventions, for example interviewing; home visits; recording; positive workerclient relationship and networking. They recognized different steps involved in systematically planning and organizing various activities. Identifying social work processes was all the more important for those already working in social work agencies so that they and their employers could appreciate the value of professional training. Teamwork: Students learnt to work as members of the team of their co-workers. They also recorded their observations about staff of the agency working as team members. Administrative Assignments: The students being in first year received limited exposure to administrative tasks. One of the students was able to analyse data gathered in a research enquiry and prepare a report for the same. Some others were engaged in documentation, and correspondence. Recording: Students were helped to comprehend the difference in literary or creative writing and professional records. They were encouraged to write accurately in simple but clear language. They wrote in Hindi or


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

English, depending on their comfort level. They learnt to write case study of individual clients, reports of home visits, group process records and to develop community profiles. Field Instruction: As per the programme design, five to six individual were conducted at the Study Centre. Besides, the students frequently contacted the Supervisor through telephone and e-mails. Group conferences were not conducted due to constraints of resources but out of a conscious choice. The knowledge that students problems in the field were common to their co-workers kept their morale and motivation high and helped develop professional identity. Overview: The students demonstrated a very high degree of commitment to field learning. They completed the stipulated field work days within the year. The feedback from the agency supervisors was very encouraging. This was particularly gratifying as most of the field placements selected also received student trainees from social work institutions following the conventional system.

Field Practicum in Distance Learning Mode Evaluatory Comments

There is much controversy over the delivery of social work education via distance education. People will question, how can you learn to relate to people and help them if you are not interacting with them face-toface? This question fails to understand that while some content is delivered in a DE format, the application of

Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning


the acquired knowledge is usually practiced face-toface, and always under the supervision of an approved social worker who serves as your supervisor and mentor. Sometimes, this mentoring/supervision may take place over teleconferencing or interactive TV, but it usually involves being assigned to a social service agency where you will perform your work face-to-face and receive supervision in the same manner. (Marshall L. Smith, 2007) Brief description of the Field Work Programme under the BSW and MSW Courses of IGNOU brings out the fact that it is the design of Social Work Field Practicum that brings the Courses very close to the conventional system of social work education. Distance Education technologies have come to stay. There are those groups of potential students for who distance education is the only viable alternative. In these cases, distance education technologies become a mechanism for delivering resources courses and programs into remote service delivery areasThere are fewer alternative routes to raising the level of professional social work practice (Mcfall & Freddolino, 2000). Successful implementation of an elaborately designed Field Work Programme as part of BSW Course launched by IGNOU has demonstrated that Social Work Education through the distance mode is here to stay.

Field Education is a central component of social work education. It is the only course which is completed primarily within a workplace setting, whether in direct practice, policy analysis, research and/or community


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

development, and as such it offers key opportunities for the synthesis of theory and practice.Field Practicum in DL mode as in the conventional system ensures that students are placed in a range of social work settings according to their learning needs and goals. You have acquired knowledge about the strategies adopted by Social Work Educators following the DL Mode in India and abroad. Outlining the Design of Field Practicum within the IGNOU Model, the only initiative in India, we have covered the different components of this design in detail. The case study of Field Learning of one of the groups of students enrolled in BSW Course I Year illustrates these components in actual practice. Although no scientifically designed comparative study of field based learning through conventional and DL Mode has so far been undertaken, it is widely acknowledged among social work educators the world over that social work education through the DL mode has come to stay. It is largely on account of elaborate design of field practicum that social work courses in the distance learning mode have received due recognition in the Field.

Brij Mohan :The Future of Social Work Education: Curricular Conundrums in An Age of Uncertainty, Electronic Journal of Social Work, Vol. 1 No. 1, February 15, 2002 Macy, J.A., Hollister, C.D., & Freddolino, P.P.: Evaluation of Distance Education Programs in Social

Social Work Practicum in Open and Distance Learning


Work, Journal of Technology in Human Services, 18 (3/4), 63B84, 2001 Smith Marshall L.: Distance Learning: The Future Has Arrived!, The New Social Worker, Vol.13 No.1 , Winter 2006 Smith Marshall L.: Toward a Guide to Distance Education in Social Work, http:// Technology, December 2007 University Grants Commission: Report of Second Review Committee for Social Work Education, University Grants Commission, Govt. of India, 1975 School of Continuing Education: Field Work Guide for Social Work Educators and Supervisors, IGNOU, 2004 Kumar Manju L. & Thakur Manish K.: Social Work Practicum in Distance Learning: Indian Context, paper presented at 2nd National Seminar on Social Work and HIV / AIDS, New Delhi, Sept. 16-18, 2005 Student Field Manual: A Guide for Distance Education Students, Faculty of Social Work University of Manitoba, 2005 Field Education Manual: School of Social Work, Michigan University, 2004 Field Education Manual: Masters of Social Work Program, University of Victoria, 2002 MSW Field Practicum Manual:


*Patricia Lager, B. Hamann, M. Ashmore

Social work exists because it fulfills crucial social needs. Social work serves people and society where there is malfunctioning or inadequacy. Enhancing the human potential is another important aspect of social work. Social workers provide important services to help people solve problems that limit their functioning and services to enhance the quality of their lives (Morales & Sheaffor, 1995). These services may be direct counseling or working with clients individually or in groups to solve specific problems or enhance their general functioning. Indirect services are also rendered on behalf of individuals or groups to make the organizations and institutions more responsive to human needs. In most countries social work exists because society sanctions the services provided to fulfill the needs. However in countries like India, especially in the rural areas, despite the felt need for external help, people do not totally sanction the role of professional social workers.
* Prof. Patricia Lager, FSU, USA & Dr. B. Hamann, USA and Prof. M. Ashmore

Orientation for Social Work Practicum


Social work has existed in India for centuries in the form of voluntary service. This makes it difficult for society to sanction the remuneration paid for social services rendered. In many cases, social workers render their services along with other professionals as a team (doctors, teachers and with those who provide basic necessities). Many social workers have rendered services under the guise of other professionals. As a profession, it has been extremely difficult for social work to establish itself. It is therefore twice as important in countries like India to thoroughly train students to maintain their own professional identity. It is important for students to make sure that their clients understand the services they render are from professional social workers and not confuse it with services of other helping professions. A social worker requires training and skills in diverse areas to be able to effectively help individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations deal appropriately with their problems. The theoretical knowledge is provided by schools of social work and agencies and institutions in the society that offer practical training to reinforce the classroom experience. Practical training or field placement is the internship served by the social work student within an agency or community affiliated with the social work program. The objective of this field placement is to enable the student acquire supervised social work experience to enhance the knowledge and skills learnt in the classroom. It is the practicum experience that allows the student to put the critical thinking skills taught in class into practice. It is an opportunity for the student to leave the classroom and enter the world of the social


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

work profession. This type of training under close supervision allows the student to apply the concepts learned in the classroom to real life client situations. Social work values and ethical dilemmas discussed in the classroom take on a new and deeper meaning when working with live clients and their life situations. In India students are placed in agencies that help women and children, hospitals, psychiatric institutions, prisons and industries. Many schools of social work emphasize the placement of students in rural communities. Often it is not easy for field work coordinators from the social work program to get the field work plans to work as planned because the agency or community may have constraints in carrying out the plans. It is not easy to commute from one place to another in India. The roads are crowded and public transport is not very reliable. Students would probably go to one agency or field placement on a given day and not make it to two. Some schools of social work push students to go to two settings on the designated field work day, in order to give them a more diverse experience. Students from urban areas find the rural placements very difficult to handle emotionally and physically. It is a rude awakening to see that many other people do not live the comfortable life that the students were used to. Despite the difficulties in making the field placements structured, every effort is taken to ensure that the students get adequate opportunity to put their theoretical knowledge into practice.

Social Work as a Profession

A profession needs to have three unique characteristics (Morales & Sheaffor, 1995). There is a need for

Orientation for Social Work Practicum


professional autonomy, to be free from constraints that could limit its (professions) ability to act in the best interests of the clients. Society grants professional authority to people who have the required knowledge and skills to provide the needed services. Professional responsibility is required by developing codes that identify the expected ethical behaviour of practitioners and establish procedures for restricting unethical or incompetent practice. Social work therefore needs to provide responsible and competent service to be granted the exclusive authority to offer its services to people. In reference to the discussion written earlier, it has been very difficult for social workers in India to establish the professional base and carve a permanent niche in the professional rank. Culturally it is believed to be an intrinsic right of the needy to be voluntarily helped by other humankind. It would take concentrated efforts to bring about this attitudinal shift. It is crucial for social workers to be ethical and conform to the codes of the profession. Society would be more open if they notice social workers being truthful about their professional background, not hiding behind other professions and being upfront about what service they can offer and their limitations. Students need to know that they can be proud of their professional identity. In a land that reveres engineers and doctors, many students have stumbled into social work because they did not meet the requirements for engineering and medicine. Schools welcome all types of students regardless of their aptitude and interests in order to maintain their enrollment quota. This perpetuates the low self esteem of students who start their social work career thinking that they are in a less sought after profession because


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

they did not have the higher competence required by the more sought after professions. Even if it is difficult for the schools of social work to raise their standards for entering the profession, there is a definite need to weed out students who have no interest in human services. There is a continued necessity to remove students once enrolled into the program, who show poor interest and embarrassment in the profession. On the other hand the teachers have to emphasize the importance of the profession and the crucial role it plays in fulfilling societies needs. At a macro level, the community and agencies can work with media to portray a positive image of the social work profession. According to the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics (2) the historic and defining feature of social work is the professions focus on individual wellbeing in a social context and the well-being of society and environmental forces that create, contribute to and address problems in living. The profession of social work covers many practice areas involving a continuum of client systems. They may be individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities or combinations of any of these systems. The profession is committed to the values of service and social justice. Social work upholds the dignity and worth of the individual and emphasizes the importance of human relationships, integrity and competence. These values differentiate social work from all other professions. In India, supervision is an important component of social work program. The field work agency supervisor takes over the role of teacher and mentor. The supervisor gives the student the opportunity to see social work in

Orientation for Social Work Practicum


practice and be a part of the change process. Depending on the personal style of the supervisor and the agency policy the student may be allowed to work independently or under guidance with clients and see theoretical knowledge put into practice. The social work program coordinator makes sure that the field work supervisor knows what the student is expected to learn at the placement. The field work supervisor in turn ensures that the student is given enough exposure to learning skills and putting theoretical knowledge into practice. The student will draw upon the skills practiced in classroom role-plays as well. There are some skills that student can learn only by doing. Role plays and simulations can help but not really show the student the seriousness of helping clients. What seemed easy in the classroom may seem overwhelming in practice because of the anxiety involved with helping change some aspects of peoples lives. In the practicum experience students will begin to apply the skills learned in class to clients served by the agency. Some of the skills will be learned through observation of the supervisor or other social workers within the agency. Some agency policies may require that the student always work under supervision. In such situations the student can learn a lot from watching the supervisors doing their job. There may be clients who are very sensitive or the nature of the job may require licensed or professionals with the required qualifications. Here too the student can learn by sitting in on interviews and counseling sessions. Some situations may be regarded as too dangerous for the student. There may be such times when the student can learn by listening to the experiences of the


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

supervisors. Students sometimes get to simulate field work situations and work through solutions. The student will also be faced with agency protocols and real life in work situations that affect both clients and employees in the agency. These experiences prepare the student to enter the practice field upon graduation with some experience and confidence in having already faced real situations. The experience gathered in the field help to alleviate the anxiety the student usually has in dealing with clients for the first time. With this out of the way, the job experience would be started with more confidence that can benefit the client, social worker and agency. The students skills and performance as an entry level professional social worker will be observed and evaluated by the supervisor. Instruction will be provided by the supervisor on ways to improve performance helping the student to gain the necessary skills and confidence to practice upon graduation. The field work supervisor gives feedback that encompasses skills in dealing with clients, families, agency staff, and the general community. The feedback could include some aspect of the students attitude or behaviour that has a bearing on working with clients in the agency. It is important for the student to receive seemingly negative feedback in the healthy spirit of training to be a better social worker. The student is also given the opportunity to give feedback about the field work supervisor and the agency. In some cultures even though feedback is invited by the supervisor the students are at a disadvantage purely because of the student teacher

Orientation for Social Work Practicum


distance that is usually kept at all levels of learning. It is only the positive feedback that can comfortably be given by the student. In India, placements at times lead to job offers by the agency. Many times local students demonstrate their knowledge, skill base and ability to learn while undergoing field training. Supervisors spot bright students and readily offer jobs that are open. Students are also encouraged in India to make contacts during field placements for future job searches. Many students get certificates from the field work supervisors about their work at the agency to use as references for their first jobs.

Orientation to the Practicum

In most cases students will have a formal orientation to the field agency. During the orientation students will be provided with information such as the agency personnel and their roles, a tour of the building, where to find and file agency paperwork, how to request supplies needed for the job, agency policies and procedures, protocols for serving clients within the agency and expectations in terms of timeliness to work and professional dress code. Students must remember as they enter their field placements they will no longer be viewed as students in the classroom but as representatives of the agency. They should present themselves in both dress and demeanor as such. In addition, unspoken rules should be observed by the student. For example, observation of how the social work staff conducts their practice with clients is important to note. Actions that maintain confidentiality, such as discussing client cases behind closed doors


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

and only within the agency, making sure client paperwork is not open to public eyes, and following the guidelines of the agency in releasing confidential information are expected. In India, even though girls can wear western style clothes to classes, they are advised to wear traditional dresses (salwar kameez, saree or something long and covering most of the body) in keeping with the culture. It is true that clients judge the social worker based on what they wear and how they conduct themselves. This judgment is harsher for girls and women in keeping with the prevalent culture. Some students may find it difficult to work with certain cultures where women are not supposed to raise their head when speaking to men. Such male clients may refuse to be helped by female students. Instead of taking this personally, students can respect the culture and observe and help in other ways that dont have this face to face interaction with men. Examples of such work would be working with the community, contact collaboration, funding or moving paper work in the agency. There may be times when there are few or no cases to work with. Usually agencies have plenty of brochures, literature on their history and functioning in society for students to read. Students can discuss hypothetical cases or previous case files with the supervisors. Some supervisors in India plan the training period well and see that students get to do some research in the spare time. They allow the students to conduct case studies or mini surveys to support a hypothesis. Where supervisors are not as structured, students are advised to be assertive and ask questions and try to learn as

Orientation for Social Work Practicum


much as possible. Students come with so much enthusiasm and sponge as much information as possible. In some cases, students zest for learning has been quelled due to apathetic field work supervisors or agencies that do not really respond to such earnestness. This could be avoided if the field work coordinator from the social work program had made adequate arrangements with field work supervisors and matching of students to appropriate agencies. Students can learn from observing the supervisors at work. Their kindness to clients, maintaining confidentiality, showing respect, and being empathetic are qualities to uphold and practice. Some field work supervisors may be unkind to the clients like inmates in prisons, destitute women, abandoned children or families of sick patients. The supervisors may be overworked, overburdened with lots of cases or just feel superior to the helpless clients. Whatever the reason, it is important that the students note this as a negative and unacceptable behaviour and definitely not put it in practice. The student should show respect to the client especially because they feel helpless and that they are at a disadvantage. It is important to put into practice all the values and principles of social work learnt in the classroom even if they dont see it practiced around them. It is usually not proper for students to bring up such observations in the agency. However it is important to make note of the discrepancies in theory and practice and discuss it with the supervisor, field work coordinator and other students. Students can and should take an active role in orienting themselves to the agency by researching information


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

regarding the client population served by their agency, reading and discussing the agency mission statement, reading literature/brochures about the agency, researching the history and role of the agency in the community, observing the interactions of staff and supervisors with the clients and asking questions in supervision sessions. Such preparation before starting the field work placement would really enhance the quality of the learning experience. In India this is not as easy to research the agency or community because of lack of resources, literature and computers. However, staff and other related personnel have vast stores of knowledge and discussing various aspects of the agency and community with them would be really beneficial. Questioning students who were placed in the agencies earlier would be helpful. Making a list of questions to ask the supervisor or other staff members helps to channel the learning process and get some answers to make up for the dearth in literature. Student easily learn about forms to be filled, reports to be written, trail of paperwork, the basic functioning of the agency and its role in the community. It is not as easy to learn skills in working with clients and agency staff. Once the skills are conceptualized, they can be honed with practice. It is true that the more one works with clients the better one becomes. When students are placed in rural communities or urban slums, very little is available in the form of literature. Much of the information gathered prior to the field work placement is purely from other students, staff and community members. Many times such placements are a surprise or total shock to students. It

Orientation for Social Work Practicum


is very difficult for students from relative comfort to see people live in squalor or with very little basic necessities and definitely no comforts. It is heart rending to see children with large bellies and brown hair and learn they are signs of malnutrition. Many people may wear rags, sleep on the bare ground and eat one meal if they are lucky. Much of the intervention done would be enabling people to get community support and mobilize funds. Students can learn a lot while working with mahila samaj, local panchayat or school teacher. Even if they do not see the fruit of their intervention students can be assured that they have sown the seed to change attitudes that are detrimental to development and educated the people to available resources. Learning at this level involves attitudes, emotions and behaviour. Classroom lessons or books do not prepare students for such exposure and deep learning. Different students learn varied lessons from such placements. While one student may think that his/her whole outlook to life and social work has changed after this placement, another student may think that it was a total waste of time because he/she may never want to work (after graduation) in such a place in reality because of little or no remuneration involved. In some cases, where the number of cases to be worked is of paramount importance, then the quality of work with clients may be compromised. For instance while working on a team in a public psychiatric hospital, each member may be required to take on a heavy load of cases in the outpatient clinic. The social worker may have to work up many case histories or follow up procedures and hand over the final treatment care of the clients to the doctors. This would definitely improve


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

the interviewing techniques of the social worker. On the other hand the diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and social work intervention plan of the client may be decided by the doctors leaving out the crucial input of social workers. At some institutions in India, the social worker is required to work up about five to six new case histories (per day) and fifteen to twenty follow up interviews (per day). Some institutes require the head of team to involve all the students in determining the treatment plan or at least listen to it.

International Practicums through Student Exchanges

Social work practicum in a different culture is both challenging and rewarding. There is a need for positive mental attitude, good psychological make up and an open mind. A lot of preparation and planning goes into such placements. There is a dearth of literature regarding field education in general and international placement in particular. Patford (2000) analysed seven significant learning experiences (feeling at a loss and need to gain knowledge and skills; academic learning operating solo organizational constraints; discomforting social interactions; regulating emotion; and reappraising his/her commitment to social work) and seven lessons (the embodiment of social work principles/values in practice; self-management; the impact of organizational structures and staff relationships on practice; the management of emotion; that life is fragile and unpredictable; the importance of process; personal suitability for particular social work roles in particular settings).

Orientation for Social Work Practicum


Pawar, Hanna and Sheridan (2004) write about two Australian students who were sent to India for their field work placement. The systematic preparation began a year in advance. The students safety and convenience was given prime consideration. Direct meetings were held between the mentor (to provide personal and professional support) and the students, the field education supervisors, the students and the coordinator. The roles, tasks, expectations of the practica and communication channels were discussed along with bureaucratic and administrative procedures. There were orientation sessions to familiarize the students with the Indian customs, dress code, eating behaviour and religious beliefs. Personal preparation dealt with dealing with anxiety, health, food, dress, finance, legal requirements, travel documents and contacts. The academic preparation included familiarizing with language, culture, purpose of the placement, process of placement, considering a framework for critical incident analysis, reading field work manuals and attending and recording orientation sessions. The learning objectives included being able to articulate the importance of the UN Convention on Child rights and to be aware of the issues and gaps in agency policies and procedures. They were required to identify the priorities within the agency and identify community needs. It was important to know the evaluation process in group work and give children the opportunity to talk. Another objective was to feel confident to discuss a range of cultural and learning issues with the supervisor and make use of constructive criticism. They had to be responsible, accountable for the work and be acutely aware of their values which are different in an


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Indian context. They had to ensure that there is professional and personal growth and define the common themes used in group work and analyze and critically evaluate models used in practice. To achieve these objectives, the students had regular discussions, read funding reports, policy manual and relevant Acts. Group work, practice of code of ethics, supervisory discussions, and daily record writing was an important aspect of the field placement. The issue of girl children in India was researched mainly due to the students interest. The objectives at the health setting included identifying the nature and limitations of the health project, Indian health and educational systems. The students had to identify a group with unmet needs, understand their perspective and need for social work intervention. They were required to prepare effective needs-based workshops for the group and work with relevant skills. They had to develop knowledge, ethics and values about social work practice in India and work effectively with staff and colleagues. The students strengths and areas for future development needed to be recognized. There was a need to understand the role of educator in the group, the situation of Indian female adolescents, and to integrate theory and practice in group processes and recordings. The activities included, visiting agencies, hospitals, observing doctor/patient interactions, social work intervention and formulating specific skill base. The students prepared, conducted, and recorded series of preventive and educative sessions for adolescent girls. They ran discussion group with hospital social workers

Orientation for Social Work Practicum


and students. They addressed differences and similarities in ethical issues in the two cultures and adapted to and learnt to work within time frames and health and education infrastructure. Regardless of challenges encountered during the placement, the students believe that the benefits outweigh the difficulties. It is an unique opportunity to overcome challenges, gain insight into a new culture, observe social work in a different milieu, learn to be sensitive and work with Indian social workers with different values and attitudes.

The field of social work serves an important function in India by responding to the crucial social needs of individuals who are having difficulty functioning in a society in which these needs are not being met. The role of social work is to enhance human potential through the provision of services that allow these individuals to meet their needs and attain a satisfactory level of functioning. The development of theoretical knowledge and skills is an integral part of social work training. The objective of the field placement is to enable the student acquire supervised social work experience to enhance the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom. The field work agency supervisor takes over the role of teacher and mentor in assisting the student to meet this primary objective through the practicum experiences. However, students must also take an active role in their learning through selfdirectedness in seeking out learning opportunities and researching various aspects of the agency and client


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

functioning. An international practicum is an unique opportunity to gain insight into a new culture and Sobserve the practice of social work within a different milieu.

Morales, A. T. & Sheaffor, B. W. (1995). Social Work: A Profession of Faces Many. 7th ed. Allyn & Bacon: Boston. Patford, J. (2000). Can I do social work, and do I want to?: Students perceptions of significant learning incidents during practica. Australian Social Work, 53(2), 21-28. Pawar, M., Hanna, G. & Sheridan, R. (2004). International Social Work Practicum in India. Australian Social Work (57), 3, 223-236.

6 Roles and Expectations in Social Work Practicum

*Patricia Lager, B. Hamann, M. Ashmore

The student will act as an agency staff member under supervision and as time progresses in the agency will be given more responsibility as a member of the agency team. Many agencies are multidisciplinary settings where a variety of professional groups are represented. In a hospital setting, for example, the student will work alongside other social workers, nurses, doctors, physical and respiratory therapists as well as clerical staff. The student will need to become familiar with each professionals role on the team. Protocol in resolving any conflicts must be understood and adhered to. It is important to understand the agency hierarchy and the mission of the agency. Students can find out this information prior to beginning the field placement by reviewing the literature or website of the agency. Further, students should ask questions during their orientation process that will help to define the roles of all professionals as well as the role of intern within the agency setting.
* Prof. Patricia Lager, FSU, USA & Dr. B. Hamann, USA and Prof. M. Ashmore


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

In the classroom students explore many change theories that are applied to case examples in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of a particular intervention. While in the practicum, students may find that in real life client change occurs much more gradually. It is important for students to be aware of this and understand that the change process when applied to people takes time. Students may find themselves frustrated when clients do not seem to be getting better. This is a great topic for supervision. Learning the boundaries of a helper and our limitations as social workers is one of the most valuable lessons learned through the practicum experience.

Roles and Expectations in the Social Work Practicum

Field work is an interactive learning process in a structured environment. The social work curriculum does expect certain learning and teaching goals of students and supervisors. It is important for graduate students to develop specific expectations of the agency or setting field instructor. In India, even though a formal contract or form is not usually signed, the social work program liaison arranges for the students to undergo field work training in various agencies. The student and the field work supervisor are made aware of the knowledge and skills that the student is expected to learn. Role of a Field Work Student The most important role is that of integrating oneself to the functioning of the agency or setting. At the

Roles and Expectations in Social Work Practicum


graduate level, the field work student would probably have earlier field work experience. However, there would be a first time experiences involved at some point of time. There is a need to understand the following areas in order to ease the integrating process (Birkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2007). 1) Understand the mission, services, population or community served policies and funding. 2) Find out what discipline and service is the primary focus of the organization. 3) Comprehend the knowledge, values and skills needed. 4) List the knowledge and skills expected to be learnt in the field work experience. 5) Acknowledge the strengths possessed that would help in this experience. 6) Familiarize the traditional roles that students have previously taken up. 7) List out questions that one would like to ask the supervisor. Expectations from Student in Field Work The initial field work may comprise of observing, attending orientation, reading manuals and literature. Such passive learning would progress to facilitating groups, meetings and case work. This could lead gradually to more autonomous working with clients. In some settings in India there is more structure than in others. In a hospital, the student would be expected to


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

attend rounds, treatment conferences and group work sessions. The student may or may not be allowed to autonomously conduct a treatment plan or group work session even at the end of the training period. This depends on the policy of the agency. In a rural community, the student may attend balwadi (preschool), mahila mandal meetings (womens organization) and panchayat (village local government). The student may be allowed to enable the women to get bank loans for starting small businesses or arrange for the bank officers to talk to the women. The students at times work through the balwadi to reach out to the families who need help or information. The students may take up an issue with the panchayat or just observe its session. How active or passive the field work training in the community would depend partly on the particular communitys openness, field work supervisors limits and greatly on the students initiative. There are some general guidelines for students and field work instructors for optimizing the field work experience (Munson, 2002). 1) Observing experienced social workers perform their roles 2) Gain orientation to specialized cases and practice approaches 3) Engage in collaborative co-facilitation activities 4) Invite and accept feedback of work done 5) Request direct supervision 6) Develop more self awareness

Roles and Expectations in Social Work Practicum


7) Welcome support and encouragement 8) Obtain training in group work 9) Improve diagnostic skills Expectation of the Student from Social Work Programs Many social work programs are required to adhere to the accreditation requirements of the council on Social Work Education. There is flexibility in the method of delivery of the field work curriculum. In the United States of America the following tasks are required of students (Birkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2007): 1) Completion of practicum forms required by the agency and the school 2) Verification of health status and completion of health related requirements (immunizations, medical tests, or health related precautions and regulations) 3) Verification of malpractice coverage 4) Completion of personal information (background, criminal records, child abuse checks, health information, or drug screening) In India, many of these tasks are not required. Students are however required to take health related precautions while working in hospitals and communities where there may be a risk of contracting contagious diseases. Students are also required to ensure that they do not pass on infections to susceptible patients (renal failure, burn or surgery patients).


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Students are also required to respect different cultures prevailing in India. They are oriented to various religious practices and are required to abide by them to avoid offending clients because of ignorance. During home visits, they remove footwear before entering the clients houses. The proper form of address is required to be used while referring to elders.

Students Expectations of the Field Supervisor

In general, the field instructor should support the student and facilitate learning by ensuring that the environment is conducive to acquiring knowledge and skills. A good balance between offering challenges and support would be best for the students field experience. The student can expect the following tasks of the field instructor (Birkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2007): 1) Be committed to the educational growth and development of the student 2) Take on the role of a mentor 3) Show respect and fair treatment 4) Provide continued feedback of students strengths and areas of growth 5) Communicate supervisors expectations of student, evaluation philosophy, availability, supervisory sessions, contacts and resources 6) Support in developing a plan of learning (orientation of activities, staff, schedules; opportunity to observe instructor, staff and other

Roles and Expectations in Social Work Practicum


students; case assignments; staff student collaboration). 7) Provide information (agency, field work parameters, structure, organizations plan, students role) 8) Clarify physical and emotional boundaries of the field work experience 9) Make available agency, field, professional, administrative and logistic information required for the student to function adequately 10) Inform student of dates and schedules of meetings, events and conferences 11) Making clear expectations of student regarding dress, behaviour, work hours, homework, and collaboration with staff and other professionals. 12) Provide adequate feedback regarding, writing, learning and skills. In India, there is a more submissive role adopted by the student in relation with any teacher. Unlike in the United States of America, the students defer to the higher teachers authority. Students address the teachers with Sir / Maam. It is the social work program and the field work liaisons plan that determine what the student should expect and learn at the field work placement. In most cases the students personality and motivation to learn, determine the amount of knowledge and skills garnered at field work training. A relatively shy student or one who does not really care about making the most of the field work placement, coupled with supervisors who do not make sure that the student fulfills the obligations of the field work


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

training, would result in little learning during the field work training. Students Expectations of the Faculty Supervisor A faculty supervisor or liaison can be a valuable support and resource in India. A supervisor who is particular about structure and believes in the importance of enabling the students to optimize the field work placement would really make sure that the student acquires adequate knowledge and skills. There are some field work liaisons that offer the student some flexibility and encourage the student to help in making the learning goals and plans. There are still other laissez-faire field work liaisons who may give the student the whole freedom and responsibility to make sure they learn something during the field work placement. In this case the student must have the motivation and initiative to make the most of the field work placement. The following are the general expectation a student can have from the faculty supervisor (Birkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2007): 1) Serve as a link between the agency, field instructor and social work program 2) Orient the student to the field work process and social work program expectations 3) Inform and assist the student about the learning agreement, tasks, activities, evaluation criteria and outcomes 4) Respond to questions regarding field work, mediate conflicts, advocate on behalf of the student

Roles and Expectations in Social Work Practicum


5) Serve as a consultant to field work agencies and instructors in establishment and evaluation of field work plans, structure and roles 6) Monitor the field work experience to ensure goal achievement 7) Remain available throughout the field work experience to assess goals, interests, skills and aspirations 8) Provide a safe space to process field work experiences and challenges.

Learning Expectations while Working with Individuals, Families and Groups

At this level the focus is on the systematic application of focused theory and development of skills, knowledge and techniques conducted with professionalism (Dore, Epstein & Herrerias, 1992). The focus would be on problem solving and empowerment while the practice may be multilevel, multimethod and theoretically eclectic. The emphasis would be for the student to learn assessment and intervention skills. Dore, Epstein & Herrerias, (1992) have identified eight specific areas of skill, knowledge and value development that are critical for micro-practice learning. 1) Specific micro practice skills including engagement of client system, exploration of problems and feelings, goal setting, contracting, termination and application of appropriate treatment strategies (relationship building, empathy, cultural competence, assessment, intervention, termination and evaluation)


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

2) Capability for critical thinking (conceptual understanding and integration of values and theory) 3) Capacity for self directed learning (e.g. management of dependencies and ability to seek and accept new knowledge) 4) Professional competency (flexibility, self- initiative, and risk taking). 5) Leadership ability (e.g. Communication, advocacy, and commitment to social change) 6) Caseload management (e.g. Knowledge of community resources and time management skills) 7) Interpersonal skills (e.g. Use of self in the helping relationship, relational capacities and ability to engage in effective collaboration with and on behalf of the client) 8) Administrative skills (e.g. Case preparation and presentation and self-evaluation). In the Indian context, the student would get more than adequate opportunity to work with individuals. At agencies helping children, women and in those that work with clients with medical, psychological and substance abuse issues, the students are able to develop knowledge and skills. They learn skills in building relationships, identifying the problem area, assessing needs and resources, make prognosis and finally work with the treatment plan. It may be more difficult to work with groups and families. In institutions, there may be opportunity to form groups

Roles and Expectations in Social Work Practicum


and acquire skills in group work. It is usually more difficult to work with whole families. Many times the breadwinner cannot take time off and other family members may be busy especially in rural areas. When it comes to womens problems, very few husbands would support the wife asking for external help. They either deny the problem or try to conceal it. In still other cases, the family members are expected to get help from within the family which comprises of the joint or extended family members too. The student usually works with parts of the family at different times or just works with the few available family members. Group work comprises of groups differing in goals, sizes, formats and agendas. The general skills required are communication, mediation, negotiation, education, leadership and knowledge of members roles. Even if the primary method of intervention for some social workers may not be group work, many engage in groups at some part of their practice. It is considered to be cost effective and used with clients and in management and administrative duties. According to the NASW Code of Ethics, enhancing the wellbeing of individuals, families, social groups, organizations and communities is considered to be paramount to the function of social work. In general Yalom (1995) suggests that the social worker is the group leader and needs to be emotionally stimulating, caring, interpreting feelings, group process, and executing group rules, and limits. The group leader is flexible, aware of clients issues, has insight into group process, able to confront, clarify, interpret and support. The social worker is also


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

expected to respond appropriately to frustration and resistance. Three models of group work are briefly described followed by the roles that the social worker may be expected to take on (Birkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2007). 1) Social goals model is based on problem-focused interests and goals. It could include neighborhood safety, parent-teacher, community development task force, coalition of professionals advocating for improved welfare legislation. The social worker may be an initiator, convener, organizer, facilitator, advocate or act as a resource. 2) In the reciprocal goals model the groups are based on mutual aid and self-help in which members support one another through sharing common experiences. It could include 12-step programs (Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Alanon, and Alateen), grief support groups, caregiver support groups, or disease specific patient support groups (cancer, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, renal failure). The social worker fulfills roles of facilitator, mediator, educator or support. 3) The remedial goals model is based on the philosophy that the group member interactions facilitate change. It includes psychotherapy groups, marital therapy groups, child abuse perpetrators groups, trauma survivors groups. The social worker is the therapist, clinician, educator or mediator. Various group leaders draw their styles and behaviours from multiple areas depending on the situation at hand and required response. Even though social workers

Roles and Expectations in Social Work Practicum


would predominantly have one of the following styles, they are expected to adopt any of the following depending on the response required by the group situation: 1) The energizer who is charismatic, energetic, supportive and attacking. They set stringent rules and limits. 2) The provider conveys meaning and caring to group members and effects positive outcomes with minimal risks. 3) The social engineer uses group process and support. 4) The impersonal leader is more distant, minimally caring, and rigid in rules and high level of stimulation. 5) The laissez-faire leader is minimally caring and attends to procedures. 6) The manager uses structured interventions. Le arning e x p ec tations while wo rkin g with organizations and communities Social workers can bring about large scale change among many clients through systemic solutions when working with organizations, communities and policy change. In India, the students rarely get an opportunity to work with organizations and deal with policy change. In some cases they get the chance to work with social activist groups that work for womens development, environmental issues and other social and religious causes. Students get adequate opportunity to work in communities. Many schools of social work make it a


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

point to place students in rural communities. This is a unique opportunity for students from the urban areas. Whatever area of specialization is chosen by the student, there is a required placement in a rural village or urban slum. In large cities where the rural community would be a great distance, the community placement may be in a slum district which functions as a separate community. This experience is very different from that of a rural village. In the urban slum, the student may get to work with transient workers, problems of construction workers, social action with leaders working against eviction of slum dwellers, enabling the dwellers to get water or electricity and such issues. The nature of this community is not permanent and therefore the students work would be directed towards helping dwellers to get benefits and better their situation. In the United States of America, social workers working at this level may be social planners, program developers, administrators, executive directors or organizational developers. Breuggmann, (1996) suggests the following skills required by social work administrators. 1) Budgeting and financial management 2) Working with boards 3) Organizational design, development, assessment and diagnosis 4) Computer information systems and other technology 5) Human resource management (selection, training, supervision and staff compensation)

Roles and Expectations in Social Work Practicum


6) Management (including use of affirmative action principles) 7) Marketing management techniques 8) Networking 9) Financial resource development 10) Media relations Community development social workers, community organizers, social activists or social researchers are expected to possess the following skills (Breuggmann, 1996). 1) Program development, implementation and evaluation 2) Fundraising (grant writing) 3) Coalition formulation and maintenance 4) Planned change techniques 5) Macro-level; advocacy 6) Community analysis 7) Inter-organizational planning 8) Leadership development and citizen participation 9) Small-group decision-making techniques 10) Community organizing 11) Task force membership 12) Membership development and retention 13) Economic development techniques


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

14) Computer information systems and other technology Social policy analysts, lobbyists or elected officials are expected to have the following skills (Breuggmann, 1996): 1) Legislative (advocacy and lobbying skills) 2) Policy analysis and management 3) Issue analysis techniques 4) Social policy research 5) Legal (e.g. ability to use the judicial system or draft legislation) The skills grouped under different headings share a symbiotic relationship in practice. Practitioners in one area are often required to possess other related skills too. To be an effective group worker, the social worker must have knowledge of working with individuals and families. The same could be said of working with communities too. Knowledge of one method helps in utilizing other methods of social work. The level of skills required by the social worker depends entirely on the type of agency or community and the situation at hand. It is important for the social work student to possess a wide repertoire of knowledge and skills in order to meet the field work demands.

Field work is an interesting and interactive learning process. There are various roles a student has to perform while learning to practice social work. A student has certain expectations from field work, and the field

Roles and Expectations in Social Work Practicum


supervisor. A learner gets several opportunities to work with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities and have certain learning expectations while dealing with numerous situations. The aim of this chapter is to provide you guidelines to understand the various roles and expectations in social work practicum. We have discussed in detail the students expectations from the field work supervisor. The chapter provides you an understanding on the systematic application of focused theory and development of skills, knowledge and techniques associated with professionalism. This chapter will enable you to recognize how social workers can bring about large desired changes among their clients through systematic interventions while working with individuals, groups, families, organizations, communities and policy formulation.

Birkenmaier & Berg-Weger, (2007). The practicum companion for social work: integrating class and field work. 2nd ed. Allyn and Bacon, Boston, Ma. Breuggmann, W. G. (1996). The practice of macro social work. Chicago: Nelson-Hall. Dore, M. M., Epstein, B. N. & Herrerias, C. (1992). Evaluating students micro practice field performance: Do universal learning objectives exist? Journal of Social Work Education, 28(3), 353-362.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Munson, C. E., (2002). Handbook of clinical social work supervision (3rd ed.). New York: Haworth Press. National Association of Social Workers (NASW). (1999). Code of ethics. Avialable at pubs/code/code.asp.1996; revised. Yalom, I. D., (1995).The theory and practice of group psychotherapy (4th ed.). New York: Basic Books.


*Patricia Lager, B. Hamann, Neil Abell

Role and expectations of the social work training institute is a unique chapter in the entire social work curriculum of IGNOU. In social work practicum there are several persons and institutions involved which include the student, staff at the school/college/ department of social work, functionaries at the agency, faculty supervisor, agency supervisor and the client system. Each of these units have specific role and contributions to be made in the training a paraprofessional. The social work institute could be an independent college of social work (we have several in India in the conventional system), college having one department and universities having one department or a school/college of social work. For example college of social work is one of the colleges within the Florida State University and School of Social Work is one of
* Prof. Patricia Lager, FSU, USA & Dr. B. Hamann, USA and Prof. Neil Abell, FSU, USA


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

the schools established by IGNOU which has the mandate to develop and launch programmes of study in social work. In this chapter we shall describe the minimum criteria required for social work training institute in identifying suitable agencies for field placement and in providing the much needed guidance for supervision by agency supervisors. Apart from diserssing the criteria set by IGNOU, This unit also examines the policies of the college of social work, Florida State University which has regular students, distance learners as well as online programmes of study in social work. Field work standards and activities are very important in social work practicum. We have described the same along with employment based practicum and guidelines for inservice placements which are relevant to several IGNOU BSW and MSW students. Students learning expectations and responsibilities, placement contents, student education contract, university agency partnership contract in the case of FSU and the international policies regarding accreditations and standards are other matters that will be discussed in this unit. This chapter will be of great help not only to you as a student, but also to agency supervisors and faculty involved in extending the much needed guidance of students of social work.

Minimum Criteria for Social Work Training Institute

Identification of suitable agencies in the area where field work can be done and securing their cooperation

Roles and Expectations of Social Work Training Institute


and consent for the same is an important function of the field work supervisor. Agencies are now found in most parts of the country and the selection of suitable sites for training students is based on the following criteria established by IGNOU:

An agency that is registered is preferred over an agency that is not registered. An agency that has professional social workers employed who are available for guiding learners is preferred over an agency that does not have trained social workers. The agency should have a well defined structure and well defined roles for its employees as opposed to a loosely structured agency with informal lines. An agency that provides a variety of services from simple to complex so the learner can obtain a diverse experience. An agency that reflects the philosophy and practice of social work. An agency committed to providing quality educational experiences to the learners and help them become good social workers.

College of Social Work : FSU policies Florida State University (College of Social Work) has a set of policies which lays down certain criteria as necessary conditions for agencies to meet in order to be a field placement site for students. The agency must agree to:


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Provide opportunities for students of the school in accordance with the cooperative planning by the faculty of the school and the agency staff. This should include individual, family, and group experiences. Meet the expectations of the program in the provision of diligent supervision for students with a qualified field instructor who is an MSW with at least two years experience in the field. Assist in the orientation of the students to the agency policies and procedures, and provide access to equipment and records as necessary for teaching purposes. Provide work space for the students to the extent feasible through mutual planning and learning materials appropriate to the students responsibilities during the period of placement. Assist in the evaluation of students learning and performance. Provide students with experiences and supervision that meets the ethical standards of the profession and inform them of the ethical and legal requirements regarding confidentiality of communications and records with regard to the agencys clients. Make provision of orientation of students and faculty members of the school to the facilities, philosophies, policies, and programs of the agency. Provide an interdisciplinary team experience, if possible.

Roles and Expectations of Social Work Training Institute


Allow the student to participate in social histories, progress notes, treatment plans, and other appropriate documentation. Assignments for students will be planned by the faculty of the school in cooperation with the supervisory staff at the agency. Faculty, supervisory staff, and students will work together to maintain an environment which provides quality service to the client and student learning. Arrange for agency field supervisors and field students to meet with representatives of the school at least once during the term of the placement for a joint review of the students progress. These individuals will communicate more often as needed. Refrain from discriminating in the assignment of social work students to the internship program because of race, color, creed, national origin, disability, or gender.

Field Work Standards and Activities; Employment Based Practicums

When the social work programme contracts with a training institute to provide a practicum site for students, a number of expectations are communicated during the process of evaluating the agency as a potential site for students to obtain a positive learning experience. It is an expectation of the social work programme that field work supervisors have the following necessary


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

qualifications: an earned MSW from an accredited school of social work; two years of post-masters work experience in an agency setting; and an interest in students and willingness to accept the role of field instructor. If a qualified MSW is not available, undergraduate field students can be supervised by a BSW field instructor with extensive practice experience. Field instructors are expected to be competent and ethical social work practitioners in one or more areas of service and to be willing to work within the programs philosophy of social work education and general field learning objectives. Students are expected to meet with their MSW field instructor for a minimum of one hour of supervision each week. In agencies where there is no MSW field instructor on-site, the agency is expected to provide an external off-site MSW to supervise masters students. The agency then agrees to identify a task supervisor qualified to provide on-site guidance regarding appropriate assignments and agency policies and procedures. The task supervisor maintains close contact with the field instructor and actively participates in the evaluation process. In general, the field work supervisors responsibilities include coordinating with the social work program to provide a field experience that augments and compliments classroom learning; orienting the student to agency policies, procedures, and population served; coordinating involvement with other staff members; scheduling weekly supervisory conferences; and assisting the student in developing professional work habits. In order to assist the student in the development of professional skills, knowledge and values, the field

Roles and Expectations of Social Work Training Institute


work supervisor maintains an ongoing evaluation of the students progress, prepares a written evaluation of the students performance at the mid-term and at the end of the field practicum; and communicates regular feedback to the student about his/her performance. The field supervisor is also expected to keep the faculty liaison informed about the students progress and advise the liaison of concerns, after having first discussed them with the student. In addition, the field supervisor provides feedback to the field program about various programmatic issues involving curriculum, placement content and expectations, and field policies and procedures. Employment Based Practicums Traditionally, social work field placements are educationally focused, unpaid training experiences in social work settings that are selected on the basis of the students level and/or concentration in their programme of studies. There are some situations, however, in which paid employment can meet the standards for field placements therefore can be accepted by the field work programme as a suitable practicum alternative. The guiding principle for these exceptional decisions is that the field placement experience must constitute new learning, appropriate supervision, and an opportunity to apply theories and knowledge from the classroom in a practice setting. The social work programme organizes course requirements and field instruction in a particular sequence, which is structured in that way for educational reasons. Therefore, this new learning opportunity must fall at a certain point


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

in the program of studies and additionally must meet our established guidelines for field placements. Problems Confronted in in-service Field Placement There are a number of potential problems which may arise when students attempt to combine jobs with field placement. (1) The agency may emphasize productivity of the student employee, rather than the students own learning. (2) If job duties change, the position may no longer meet the criteria for social work activities for that students concentration. (3) Both the student and the agency may be less willing to disclose problems that arise during the field placement, such as inadequate supervision, activities that are incongruent with placement expectations, situations that threaten their employment status, etc. This could lead to a delayed intervention by the field work program, sometimes resulting in Unsatisfactory or Incomplete grades for the field placement. In our experience, paid employment can present many complicating factors which limit students full utilization of this educational opportunity and should be weighed carefully by the student and the employer. Guidelines for in-service Placements The field work program cautions students about the potential problems of these placement situations and reserves the right to approve paid employment sites as field placements based on the following guidelines. These would apply to new jobs as well as to existing employment. 1) All of the required field hours must take place under the supervision of a new (to the student) MSW field

Roles and Expectations of Social Work Training Institute


supervisor. This supervisor must meet the educational standards of the social work programme. 2) The activities must be congruent with the students concentration or level (graduate or undergraduate) in the program. Some jobs that are assigned the title of Social Worker do not meet the expectations of the practice activities for a particular field experience. Students are responsible for the understanding and adhering to the course objectives for field instruction. 3) The activities themselves must constitute new learning for the student (i.e., a new population, utilizing new treatment methodology, and/or in a new field of practice). 4) There must be caseload control (if applicable) in this position in order to ensure that the students educational goals are the primary focus, not simply the needs of the agency. 5) The employment date or date of reassignment within the agency must be no more than 90 days from the first day of the semester in which the student is registered to start the placement, in order to ensure that the field instruction experience falls in sequence with academic course work as structured by our program of studies. 6) The student must have demonstrated a clear understanding and endorsement of the educational principles involved. The Office of Field Instruction retains the right to grant this employment-based exception only for students who demonstrate high


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

standards of professional and ethical behaviour and a strong academic record. 7) Students will only be given permission to complete one employment based internship during the course of their programme. Based on the above principles and other basic standards of the programme regarding acceptance of placements and supervisors, the field work programme will allow an exception to our standard practice of having employment separate from an internship. This decision will incorporate faculty experience and judgment in evaluating the appropriateness of the exception request. According to the School of Social Works (FSU) student policy, the field work programme has the authority and responsibility to carefully select and assign field placements; students should not assume that these placements will be automatically approved. In order to be considered for this special placement request, the student is responsible for the completion of the Proposal for Employment Based Internship and must submit it to the field work programme at least one month (30 days) prior to the beginning of the placement. The decision will be made by the field work director with feedback from faculty involved in the students placement planning. The decision will be communicated directly to the student as soon as possible.

Student Learning Expectations and Responsibilities

The field work programme encourages all students

Roles and Expectations of Social Work Training Institute


entering field to identify their individual learning needs and assume responsibility for shaping their educational process. Prior to beginning the field pacticum, students are required to attend an orientation meeting in which the expectations and responsibilities of the field programme are communicated, both verbally and in written handouts. The content of the planning meeting includes field policies and procedures, the field application and interview process, deadline dates, expectations regarding supervision, the integrative seminar, field agency requirements, the role of the liaison and the MSW field instructor, field placement objectives, the Learning Contract, termination policies, sexual harassment and safety issues, liability insurance information, and the field evaluation process. Placement Contents Students are also given information on preferred placement content based on the learning objectives of their concentration. The following content areas are communicated to both students and field instructors as minimum expectations when structuring the internship experience: 1) Provision of a comprehensive orientation of the student to the agency staff, client systems, agency policies and procedures, safety concerns, supervision expectations and requirements, casework requirements, legal and ethical requirements, etc. 2) Substantial amount of client contact with approximately 50 per cent of the time at the internship involving direct work with clients. The


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

student is expected to eventually begin carrying a small caseload of his/her own. 3) Exposure to one or more theoretical practice frameworks (with individuals, couples, families, or groups), either directly or through observation. 4) Experience with case management and networking responsibilities. 5) Experience with case recording and developing intervention plans. 6) Completion of a bio-psychosocial assessment, process recordings, and/or video or audio recordings with feedback from the field instructor. 7) Exposure to agency administrative meetings, policies and procedures, and case staffings. 8) Exposure to inter-agency meetings or staffings. 9) Exposure to a diverse client population. 10) Exposure to advocacy experiences on a macro level, if possible. 11) Completion of a learning contract outlining specific learning objectives and activities consistent with the objectives of the students concentration. 12) Provision of open communication with the field instructor and faculty liaison on the quality of field experiences and learning needs, in addition to areas of concern. 13) Opportunity to participate in an agency-based research project, if possible.

Roles and Expectations of Social Work Training Institute


Student Educational Contract The purpose of this agreement is to clarify roles and responsibilities regarding the students field work experience and to clarify how educational goals and objectives are to be met. The student and field instructor develop this portion of the contract together. It will specify educational goals, student assignments and educational learning experiences. This should be submitted to the students faculty liaison and/or seminar instructor no later than the 3 rd week of placement. It is recognized that specific content may change in response to the developing needs of both the student and the agency. If changes in this contract are necessary, they should be agreed to by all parties involved. In order for students to meet field requirements, assignments should begin immediately and not be deferred until the contract is completed.

University-Agency Partnership: The Contractual Agreement

A well defined agency-university partnership is an integral component of a successful field work programme and practicum experience for social work students. Agencies that have met the minimum criteria for acceptance as a field practicum site are expected to sign a written agreement detailing the overall expectations of the social work programme in assuming responsibility for meeting the educational objectives of the programme. The agreement details what the agencys tasks are in meeting the expectations of the student and programme during the course of the placement. It also includes the duties assumed by the social work programme in the placement of students


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

at the agency and how specific expectations of the training institute will be met. The overall purpose of this agreement is to guide and direct a working relationship between the agency and the school in providing learning experiences for students during their internship as a partial requirement for a degree in social work.

International Policies regarding Accreditation and Standards

In the Global Standards for the Education and Training of the Social Work Profession (International Association of Schools of Social Work, 2004), members of the IASSW provided clear guidance on a range of issues governing the ethical conduct of social work education in general, and field education in particular. As emphasized elsewhere in this curriculum, the development of the Standards document was intentional and contentious, resulting in a set of guidelines to be regarded as a meaningful starting point in what would remain an ongoing, dynamic dialog among member nations. As Sewpaul summarized. The global standards document is characterised by flexibility, with an overarching and embedded human rights and social justice emphasis, yet with a simultaneous emphasis on historical, sociopolitical, economic and cultural context specific realities. Of absolute premium is the documents emphasis on dialogue within and across nations and regions (2005, p. 213). In that context, a set of guidelines were proposed including, among other topics: field curricula; structure,

Roles and Expectations of Social Work Training Institute


administration, governance, and resources for field programs; and values and ethics for the conduct of social work field education. Selected elements of the Standards are inserted below (retaining their exact wording from the complete document cited above). Standards with Regard to Programme Curricula including Field Education With regard to standards regarding programme curricula, schools should consistently aspire towards the following:

Clear plans for the organization, implementation and evaluation of the theory and field education components of the programme. Involvement of service users in the planning and delivery of programmes. Recognition and development of indigenous or locally specific social work education and practice from the traditions and cultures of different ethnic groups and societies, in so far that such traditions and cultures do not violate human rights. Ensuring that the curricula helps social work students to develop skills of critical thinking and scholarly attitudes of reasoning, openness to new experiences and paradigms, and commitment to life-long learning. Field education should be sufficient in duration and complexity of tasks and learning opportunities to ensure that students are prepared for professional practice.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Planned co-ordination and links between the school and the agency/field placement settings. Provision of orientation for fieldwork supervisors or instructors. Appointment of field supervisors or instructors who are qualified and experienced, as determined by the development status of the social work profession in any given country, and provision of orientation for fieldwork supervisors or instructors. Provision for the inclusion and participation of field instructors in curriculum development. A partnership between the educational institution and the agency (where applicable) and service users in decision-making regarding field education and the evaluation of students fieldwork performance. Making available, to fieldwork instructors or supervisors, a field instruction manual that details its fieldwork standards, procedures, assessment standards/criteria and expectations. Ensuring that adequate and appropriate resources, to meet the needs of the fieldwork component of the programme, are made available.

Collectively, this section of the Standards specifies the wide range of activities to be considered in planning and sustaining social work field education. From an institutional point of view, the expectations are quite large, and require a dedicated professional staff to manage and implement. As far-reaching as these components are, they are seldom considered complete.

Roles and Expectations of Social Work Training Institute


Once a working program is in place, it requires nearly constant maintenance and revision as communities, service organizations, and the individuals working for or served by them change. To function successfully, all parties must know their roles and be willing and able to fulfill them. Administrators, as indicated in the next section, must keep their attention on all these issues while also attending to the bureaucratic and management concerns necessary to support them. Standards with Regard to Structure, Administration, Governance and Resources With regard to structure, administration, governance and resources, the school and/or the educational institution should aspire towards the following:

Social work programmes are implemented through a distinct unit known as a Faculty, School, Department, Centre or Division, which has a clear identity within the educational institution. The school has a designated Head or Director who has demonstrated administrative, scholarly and professional competence, preferably in the profession of social work. Where the school offers distance, mixed-mode, decentralized and/or internet based education there is provision of adequate infrastructure, including classroom space, computers, texts, audiovisual equipment, community resources for fieldwork education, and on-site instruction and supervision to facilitate the achievement of its core purpose or mission, programme objectives and expected outcomes.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

The school develops and maintains linkages within the institution, with external organizations and with service users relevant to its core purpose or mission and its objectives.

Organizational structure can never be overlooked. To function effectively, schools of social work must hold positions of respect among their peer organizations in the larger university environment, and be directed by leaders who are themselves respected both within and beyond their professions and academia. Like the issues raised in the preceding section, neither of these can be assumed to be permanent or static. Priorities change within universities and the larger governmental structures within which they operate, and program leaders are continuously challenged to stay on top of emerging issues, opportunities and obstacles alike, that impact the programs they direct. As addressed in the following section, administration and governance also depends on anticipating resolution of problems and disputes, and on provision of a structure within which to assess and, when necessary, sanction violations of ethical codes. Standards with Regard to Values and Ethical Codes of Conduct of the Social Work Profession In view of the recognition that social work values, ethics and principles are the core components of the profession, schools should consistently aspire towards: Registration of professional staff and social work students (insofar as social work students develop working relationships with people via fieldwork placements) with national and/or regional regulatory

Roles and Expectations of Social Work Training Institute


(whether statutory or non-statutory) bodies, with defined codes of ethics. Members of such bodies are generally bound to the provisions of those codes. Ensuring that every social work student involved in fieldwork education, and every professional staff member, is aware of the boundaries of professional practice and what might constitute unprofessional conduct in terms of the code of ethics. Where students violate the code of ethics, programme staff may take necessary and acceptable remedial and/or initial disciplinary measures, or counsel the student out of the programme. Taking appropriate action in relation to those social work students and professional staff, who fail to comply with the code of ethics either through an established regulatory social work body, established procedures of the educational institution, and/or through legal mechanisms. Ensuring that regulatory social work bodies are broadly representative of the social work profession, including where applicable social workers from both the public and private sector, and of the community that it serves including the direct participation of service users. Upholding, as far as is reasonable and possible, the principles of restorative rather than retributive justice in disciplining either social work students or professional staff who violate the code of ethics. The collective cultural wisdom reflected in codes of ethics provides a firm foundation for consideration of problems in professional behaviour. As detailed elsewhere in this curriculum, such text covers


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

considerable ground in defining what is right and wrong ins social workers interactions with clients, peers, supervisors and administrators, and the wider communities where practice takes place. Still, in cannot be taken for granted that all actors involved in a dispute will share a common view, or agree spontaneously to solutions to their problems. In this section, advocating that all members of the field enterprise (students, faculty, supervisors, and administrators) be joined as members in professional organizations provides one basis for establishing common ground. When problems persist despite best efforts to find mutually agreeable resolutions, the principles of restorative rather than retributive justice are recommended. Restorative justice, whose aim is to establish or reinforce positive skills in the person found at fault, the goal is more than retribution or punishment. As one would hope in an educational field setting, when problems have been recognized and defined, the best choice is always to help all parties learn from their mistakes, and follow a path towards better, wiser decisions in the future.

Social work professionals are expected to approach a problem from a wide variety of perspectives. The intent of social work training institute is to provide a solid base of skills in working at the micro, mezzo and macro levels of practice. In this chapter we have presented the roles and expectations of the social work training institute by setting certain minimum criteria for practical training. The discussion also covered the

Roles and Expectations of Social Work Training Institute


policies of school of social work, IGNOU and the college of social work, Florida State University. We have also seen the field work standards and activities, employment based practicum of FSU, guidelines for in-service placements, student learning expectations and responsibilities, placement contents, student education contract, university agency partnership and the international policies regarding accreditation and the standards set by International Association of Schools of Social Work, 2004. On the whole this unit is expected to provide adequate information and knowledge to distance learners about the roles and expectations of the social work training institute with regard to field practicum in social work.

Florida State University College of Social Work Field Reference Manual, Graduate Field Instruction I & II. International Association of Schools of Social Work. (2004). Global Standards for the Education and Training of the Social Work Profession. Retrieved June 10, 2007, from Sewpaul, V. (2005). Global standards: promise and pitfalls for re-inscribing social work into civil society. International Journal of Social Welfare, 14, 210-217.

8 Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice

*Gracious Thomas, Nita Kumari

Every profession has certain principles to be followed by the professionals.these principles are applicable in most practice situations, regardless of client characteristics, practice settings or roles assumed by the professional. Knowledge becomes useless if the person is not able to communicate properly. Therefore it is expected that a professional social worker should have adequate knowledge and training in communication skills in order to successfully practice social work. He should also have capability to carry out all the documentation and other similar tasks needed while working with any Govt./NGO or other private organization. In this unit we have borrowed extensively from the writings of Sheafor and Horejsi (2003), which will be of immense use to social work students in Open and Distance Learning System. We have also considered the local situation while developing this unit.
* Prof. Gracious Thomas, IGNOU and Ms. Nita Kumari, RTA, IGNOU

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


Principles for Social Work Practice

Principles are basic rules or guidelines which enable a practitioner to be competent in his/her profession. These principles are to be applied with careful and thoughtful analysis. Sheafor and Horejsi (2003) in their book Techniques and Guidelines for social work practice have explained 24 fundamental principles that should guide social work practice. They have divided these principles into two parts. First six principles have been focusing on social workers and the remaining eighteen principles are concerned with the social workers interaction with a client/client group viz. an individual, family, small group, organization, neighbourhood, community, or even a larger social structure. Let us briefly highlight the salient features of each of these principles. Principles that Focus on the Social Worker 1) The social worker should practice social work A student of social work is taught knowledge, skills, values, ethics and principles of social work in the theory papers. Therefore one is not expected to behave in an unprofessional manner. For example a student may come across a client who met with an accident. When he/she went to meet the client he/she may become emotional and weep. In such a situation, the worker is not expected to express his/her emotions with the client (say by shedding tears). Remember the principle of controlled emotional involvement. As a professional you should do what you are sanctioned and trained to do. You should use your professional knowledge, values


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

and skills while dealing with the client in a niven situation. 2) The social worker should engage in conscious use of self As a para-professional, you should work within your own abilities, capacities and limitations. Neither should you make false promises to the client nor impose your own style and beliefs, values, and attitudes on the client. As a professional the worker should develop a feeling of trust and welfare in the mind of the client. For example, as a student placed in a community you should not make false promises to the community that you will provide them job, a pakka road in the village or start an income generating activity. Worker should keep in mind their social background and culture. Let us take an another example. The worker is a vegetarian and the client is a non-vegetarian. The worker should not impose his/her life style on the client and expect the client to follow the lifestyle of the worker. A worker must be consciously aware about ones own beliefs, perceptions, and behaviours that may have an impact on their professional relationships, as these personal attributes will surely affect the ability to be helpful to the clients. 3) The social worker should maintain professional objectivity As a social worker you are expected to behave in a professional manner with the client by maintaining a certain distance and not getting involved personally. For example a client may request the worker to help

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


him/her by providing financial assistance for his/her sisters marriage. In such situation, you need to be very clear about your roles and limitations and maintain professionalism to deal with the situation tactfully. 4) The social worker should respect human diversity As a para-professional, you should not discriminate the client on the basis of his/her cultural background, religion, sex, physical and intellectual abilities. For example a worker is dealing with a client who belongs to a minority community. It is not appropriate for a professional social worker if he/she starts avoiding the client by not visiting his/her family fearing negative reaction from the rest of the community. The social worker is expected to respect every client as human being without any judgemental attitude. A social worker must appreciate the variations within any group. He should avoid making assumptions about any one persons cultural identity, beliefs, or values on the basis of the persons external characteristics or membership in a particular population or demographic group. 5) The social worker should challenge social injustice Social worker believes that every individual has certain basic rights, such as those spelt out in the constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights issued by the United Nations. All members have the same basic rights, protection, opportunities, obligations and social benefits. Therefore, a social worker must be always prepared to do the needful to contribute to social justice by fighting social injustice.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

6) The social worker should seek to enhance professional competence A social worker should not sit aside by assuming that he/she knows each and everything on any issue under the sun. He/she should update his/her knowledge by interacting with wide range of people, seeking ideas from available and updated literature and through all means of communication including the web. He/she should also keep himself/herself up-to-date with new concepts and theories by attending workshops, conferences, refresher courses and participation in social and academic deliberations. In fact every profession demand that the professionals must keep themselves well informed. Social work professionals are not exempted either. Principles that Focus on Individual Clients and Client Groups 1) The social worker should do no harm As a social worker, you should work towards bringing about change in the lives of your clients. Therefore you should develop programmes or activities in such a manner that they do not underestimate the clients feelings and positive life styles. Your main focus should be the care and welfare of your clients. 2) The social worker should engage in knowledgeguided practice A professional social worker is expected to equip himself/herself with the latest and most professional knowledge while dealing with the clientle group. Therefore, a worker should not deal with the client without adequate study and analysis of the problem in

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


the present day context. He/she should carefully study similar conditions and intervention approaches to that condition. This is very essential in the Indian context where we have numerous groups with social, cultural and geographic diversity. 3) The social worker should engage in value-guided and ethical practice Every human being has his/her own values and work on those values. A social worker must always try to recognize the clients value system to bring about change in his/her situation. He/she should not impose his/her beliefs on his/her clients. The social worker must recognize that values are powerful forces in human behaviour and be guided by values of social work profession. 4) The social worker should be concerned with the whole person As a social worker you should deal with the whole person including ones biological. psychological, social and spiritual aspects instead of studying one dimension of the problem. You should look at the clients problem from past, present and future perspectives. For example a child is arrested in a criminal case. The worker studies past history of the child, the family background, friendship circle etc. in addition to some of the factors that might have contributed to make him/her a criminal. As a worker you should also be focusing on present situation and the future consequences from various angles. The worker should also focus on both the short-term and long-term implications of the change process for the


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

client and other people who may be affected by the clients behaviour. 5) Social worker should serve the most vulnerable members of society A number of programmes have been initiated and the policies have been formulated for the vulnerable section of the society both by the national government and United Nations. However, several vulnerable sections are unable to benefit from such provisions. Therefore a social worker must do work for this section and should fight for their rights to bring about social change and social justice. The social worker must do advocacy for the people who are poor, mentally or physically disabled, those from a minority race or culture, and who otherwise are treated as devalued. They often face special challenges of discrimination, ostracism, and neglect by the dominant society while struggling to bring about social change. 6) The social worker should treat the client with dignity Every individual deserves to be treated with dignity, regard and respect. A social worker should accept the client as he/she really is, including his/her strengths and weaknesses, his/her positive and negative feelings, attitudes and behaviour with a non-judgemental attitude. This does not mean that you should approve every behaviour of a client. The social worker must treat the client as a person who is valued and deserves to maintain his/her dignity throughout the period of helping process. The social workers non-judgmental attitude helps the clients to overcome the common fear of being judged by others. This will enable in developing

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


positive helping relationship rather than defensive action on part of the client. 7) The social worker should individualize the client Individualization is the recognition and understanding of each clients unique qualities and the differential use of principles and methods in assisting each one towards better adjustment and participate in the changing process. A social worker must treat his/her client not merely as a human being but a human being with his/her personal differences. The social worker must individualize the client, because for every client the situation and problem may be unique. What works with one client may not work with another. 8) The social worker should consider clients expertise on their lives A social worker may have great extent of theoretical knowledge of human functioning. However he/she may not know the actual situation of the client. Therefore in a helping relationship he/she should consult the client, who is the primary experts on his/her life. The client knows about himself/herself much better than the worker. In fact, the worker is not expected to know all about his/her client. The client may prefer to keep certain information to himself/herself and may not share all facts. For example a worker may try to motivate a client to take up a job which might involve night shift. The client may have limitation at his/her home including relationships with spouse, children, aged parents etc. In such situation rather than imposing his/her idea,


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

the worker must try to understand the circumstances in which client lives. 9) The social worker should lend vision to the client In the helping process, a worker gives positive hope and a clear vision to deal with the present problem of the client. Worker may introduce the client to new and better ways to cope up with the situation. However the worker should not forget to let the client become familiar with the limits while offering new perspectives. It is essential to note that the clients are not given false hopes. The social worker must be realistic and honest about limits and possibilities while offering new perspectives, encouragement, support, and techniques for social change. 10) The social worker should build on client strengths Every individual has some weaknesses and strengths. A worker should not resort to negative way of thinking. Worker should try to understand the strengths, abilities and potentials of the client. For example in the case of a disabled client, the worker must address his/her abilities instead of thinking that he/she is a disabled and can do only limited activities. You should realize that it is the clients abilities and potentials that are most important in helping to bring about desired changes. 11) The social worker should maximize client participation A social worker must encourage the client to give his/ her full participation so that a meaningful and long lasting change can take place. A meaningful change

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


will occur only if the client understands the need for change and is willing and able to take action. In order to enhance client participation, the social worker should do with the client and not to or for the client. 12) The social worker should maximize clients selfdetermination A social worker should give freedom to the client for stimulation and to think independently and rationally on his/her own problematic situation and arrive at a decision, for himself/herself. The client is capable and legally competent to make decisions in relation to self and others. However, it is easier said than done. In order to reach this stage, a worker has to consciously work with the client for a considerable length of time. The job of the worker is to enable the client to explore alternatives as well as analyze the implications of outcomes. 13) The social worker should help the client learn self-directed problem-solving skills To make the client independent and self-reliant, a worker must help the client learn self-directed and problem-solving skills. By learning these skills a client can cope up easily with his/her day to day problems without having dependency on the worker. For example the social worker should teach their clients how to identify and make use of resources such as family members, relatives, friends, employer, service clubs etc. that might be found in their immediate environment.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

14) The social worker should maximize client empowerment In our Indian society one can easily find out the victims of various forms of discrimination and oppression. It is not possible for a social worker to be available everywhere and every time with a client to save him/ her from such practices. Therefore, it is necessary to empower the client to fight against such discrimination and to manage future situations on ones own. For this the social work should make efforts to help people gain control over their lives and circumstances, to obtain the much needed information and resources, to develop skills needed to make the decisions, take the actions necessary to attain a higher level of self-reliance and modify ones social and political environment. In order to empower a client, a social worker should place emphasis on encouraging, teaching, facilitating, collaborating and sharing decision making within the professional relationship. 15) Th e so cial wor ker sho uld p rot ect clie nt confidentiality Confidentiality is essential to professional relationship. It is the foundation for any therapeutics relationship with a client. Therefore worker should keep confidential the information which is being shared by the client. Sharing such information unnecessarily with outsiders can easily break worker client relationship. Only a professionally qualified worker can practice this principle in letter and spirit. For example the social worker must be cautions regarding what information is placed in agency files, and care must be taken in preparing clerical staff employed in the agency to

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


respect the confidential nature of any materials they may type, file or inadvertently overhear. The social worker must carefully plan the location of interviews to protect confidential information and should not discuss all information during professional consultations with other people and service organizations. 16) The soc ial work er s hould ad here to the philosophy of normalization A worker should not discriminate and isolate a client who is mentally or physically weak. This will create barrier for the client in gaining social acceptance. Worker should treat a differently abled client as he/ she treats other clients so that he/she should not feel himself/herself a different person. 17) The social worker should continuously evaluate the progress of the change process Evaluation is an appraisal or judgment of the worth and effectiveness of the process designed to meet the desired objectives. A worker should continuously monitor and evaluate the progress of the change process. Evaluation enables the worker to discover to what extent objectives have been achieved. Well planned evaluation helps the worker to formulate new objectives and to eliminate unsuited objectives. 18) The social worker should be accountable to clients, agency, community, and the social work profession In social work practice a social worker should be accountable not only to the client but also to all those


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

associated with the client, particularly to the agency and the community. Though the worker should attempt to be accountable to all the parties, the client should be given utmost priority. Social workers are obligated to give their best service to all the clients at all times. They must be accountable to those individuals, families and groups they directly serve. Social workers must be accountable to their employing organizations by carrying out their work as effectively and efficiently as possible. The existence of a professional monopoly demands that the members of a profession are also accountable to the community and to the profession itself.

Communication Skills for Social Workers

Basic communication skills are essential for almost every job or relationship one pursues. Similarly in social work profession too, a professional will have to interact with the clients, whether the client is an individual, a family, a small group, an organization or a community. The professional has to communicate in such a manner that another person can understand it clearly. Communication is a process where one individual conveys information to another either intentionally or unintentionally. It depends on whether a person perceives a message in the words or bahviour of another. Communication can be verbal or non-verbal in nature. It is to get across what one really means to another person. The lack of proper communication is a common cause of problems within families, organizations and other social systems. Generally, communication problems develop under different circumstances:

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


Often speak for others rather than letting them speak for themselves. Often one does not listen to what others say. Often one keeps things to oneself because of fear that others will disapprove of what he/she believes and feels. Sometimes one assumes that others know, or should know what one thinks and how one feels. Sometimes one allows prejudices, stereotypes, and presumptions to modify whal others say. Sometimes one keeps silent fearing that he/she does not have anything worthwhile to say. At times one suppresses communication by ordering, threatening, preaching. patronizing, judging or blaming.

It is also important to recognize that a persons ethnicity, gender, religion, and socioeconomic status can also have a significant impact, on communication. Let us briefly describe some of the important aspects Sheafor and Horejsi have written about basic communication and helping skills in their work: Techniques and guidelines for social work practice. For more details, you may like to read the original work (Sixth edition). Basic Communication and Helping Skills 1) Creating an Effective Helping Relationship Relationship is the channel through which the capacity of a client is made possible. It is also the medium


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

through which a client is enabled to state his/her problem and through which attention can be focused on problems. In a helping relationship client and worker meet with the purpose of the intervention. In such meetings the client is being encouraged to make the much needed change. However, doing so is not very easy and can prove to be stressful for the client, to some degree. The key characteristic of a helping relationship include: Empathy It refers to the ability of entering into another persons mental state and to feel the latters feelings. Empathizing with a person in a predicament involves the imaginative viewing of the situation as he/she sees it, understanding his/her feelings and transferring to oneself those particular feelings. Positive regard The client must be treated by a worker, as a person of inherent worth and capable of positive change. He/ she must be given respect, regardless of appearance, behaviour, life circumstances, or reason for becoming a client. To judge the rightness and wrongness of other peoples behviour, positive regards are very important. Keeping a judgmental attitude is a major barrier for maintaining effective helping relationship. Warmthness In personal warmth, a social worker responds to clients in such ways that make them feel safe and accepted. It is mostly a non-verbal communication which is expressed in the form of smile, a soft and soothing voice,

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


appropriate eye contact, and gestures that convey acceptance and openness. Genuineness It refers to a worker being himself/herself or being real. Whatever he/she says matches what he/she does. When a professional has a negative feeling toward a clients behaviour, he/she may exercise self-discipline so it does not damage the professional relationship or harm the client. 2) Verbal Communication Skills The ability to speak clearly and concisely, and to convey information or articulate an opinion is very essential. Generally a social worker makes frequent use of two broad categories of communication skills:

Those intended to facilitate interpersonal helping and Those intended to facilitate the exchanges of information within an agency, between agencies, and among professionals.

The foundation of good communication stated by Sheafor and Horejsi, are:

A willingness to understand that every human being is unique: consequently, each person experiences and perceives events and interpersonal exchanges in a unique manner. Thus, a worker should anticipate some degree of misunderstanding and take steps to minimize the problems of miscommunication.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

A willingness and desire to organize ones thoughts and present ones message in a way that will make it easy for others to follow and understand. A willingness to listen carefully to other people and to lower your defenses so that you can hear and understand what others say. A willingness to take responsibility for ones statements and behaviours. A willingness to take the time needed to communicate effectively.

While listening or receiving a message, the worker should remember some points:

Stop talking. You cannot listen if you are doing all the talking. Demonstrate verbally and nonverbally that you want to listen. Show your attention. Let the person know that you care for what he/she is trying to say. Be gentle and make allowances for poor behaviour. Try to be calm and to use tact, even if the impaired person is loud or abusive. Try to respond to any negative statements with understanding comments until the angry outburst ends. Sometimes the person will say things that hurt you very much, will use language that offends you, or will speak in a way you do not like. At these times, it is important to remember that, while these things do hurt, they are not meant personally and exclusively to hurt you.

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


Do not interrupt. Be patient with the message sender. Ask questions if needed, to clarify his/her message. Put the message sender at ease. Remove distractions while getting the message.

When sending a message remember to:

Make use of clear and simple language, speak distinctly and not too fast. Do not overload the receiver with information. Maintain appropriate eye contact and utilize gestures. Ask for comments, questions or feedback to know whether you are being understood properly.

3) Nonverbal Communication Skills Messages conveyed by means of facial expressions, eye movements, gestures and voice qualities such as tone, pitch and resonance, comes in the circle of non-verbal communication that mainly occurs during a face-toface exchange. Observing nonverbal behaviour may also tell the worker what the client is saying in words truly reflects his/her thoughts and feelings. Eye-contacts Eyes reveal much about our emotional state and our sensitivity to and understanding of the immediate situation.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Gestures of Greeting The social worker must be alert to cultural differences while using gestures of greeting. For example, a firm handshake suggests aggression for people from Asia and Middle East. Among the people of Japan and Thailand, bowing is the appropriate gesture while in India greeting with folded hands are common. Body Positioning It conveys various attitudes and intentions. Facing a client at a 90 degree angle suggests safety and openness while facing directly may communicate aggressiveness. Leaning slightly towards the client shows interests and acceptance. Facial Expressions and other Movements It is often facial expressions that reveal a workers disapproval of a client, even when the worker is trying hard to be nonjudgmental. Smiling, frowning, nodding and shaking the head and lip quivering convey our thoughts and emotions. Crossed legs, arms folded across the chest, and body rigidity usually shows defensiveness, while arms and hands at the bodys side or in an outreached position suggest openness to others. Tone of Voice, Dress and Appearance A loud, forceful tone suggests aggressiveness, control and strength while a monotonous or flat voice suggests lack of interest. Similarly, dressing is also one of the important forms of non-verbal communication. A social worker must give careful thought to his/her choice of

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


clothing and hairstyle. He should wear the dress according to the situation. For example dress acceptable to adolescent clients may be offensive to elder clients. Sometimes, it may also be appropriate to consult supervisors for guidance on such issues. 4) Helping Skills Helping skill means a message conveyed by the practitioner to the client which will have a beneficial effect on the clients thinking, feeling and behaviour. These basic skills have been explained by Sheafor and Horejsi, in the following points: Getting Ready Before a meeting with the client, the worker should imagine what the client might be thinking or feeling. By anticipating such thoughts a worker mentally prepares 10 address the clients initial feelings such as anger, fear, confusion etc. and identify ways to initiate the client into the helping relationship. Getting Started The worker must clarify the purpose of the meeting and workers role during the intake and engagement phase of the change process and also at the beginning of each session with the client. Each session with a client has three time phases: i) getting started

ii) the central work of the session, and iii) drawing the session to a close.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Asking Questions A social worker uses various types of questions to get information from the client and assist in expressing his/her thoughts and feelings. He/she uses open and closed ended questions. During a counseling session, a worker usually asks open- ended questions. A social worker should remember that instead of asking why, use questions that focus on the what, where, when and how of the clients behaviour and situation. Active Listening In active listening a worker attends both the verbal as well as non verbal communication of the client and get back to the client in order to let him/her know that his/her message has been accurately understood. Encouragement, clarification, paraphrase, reflection, summarization, and exploring silence are some of the skills of active listening. An encourager refers to single words, short phrases and non-verbal gestures that encourage the client to continue talking. Clarification refers to asking a question designed to encourage a client to become more explicit. The skill known as paraphrase is a rephrasing of the literal meaning of the clients statement, whereas the skill termed reflection of feeling is an expression of the feeling or emotional component of the message. The skill of summarization refers to pulling together the content and affective components of several messages while exploring the clients silence refers to efforts to gently probe the silence. For example if the client is in a thoughtful silence, the worker breaks the silence by saying: you appear to be puzzled over

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


something. Can you tell me what you are thinking about? If the silence is a long one, the worker should attempt to explore the silence. Three important skills to be remembered in this context are:

Displaying understanding skill means verbal and non-verbal communication intended to demonstrate that the social worker comprehends and can identify with the clients thoughts and feelings. The skill of putting the clients feelings into words refers to the articulation of what the client is feeling but has stopped just short of expressing in words. Self-disclosure refers to a workers statements that reveal some of his or her own thoughts, feelings, or life experiences. As a general rule, a social worker should avoid the use of self-disclosure in the early stages of relationship building and sparingly at other times.

While dealing with the client, it is very important to increase or sustain a clients motivation in order to make change in the current behaviour or situation. The skill which are helpful in a change process include: Skill of partialization: This means breaking down a insolvable problem into smaller and manageable parts. Skill of staying on track: This refers to keeping the clients attention focused on a specific concern. In addition to this, skill of building a communication link, in which worker builds a connection between the client and the person with whom he/she wants to communicate: skill of challenging the clients avoidance


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

of change which points out the clients resistance, and skill of identifying emotional blocks in the way of progress are some of the important ones used by a worker. 5) The I-Statement I-Statement makes it possible to send a clear, direct message and reduce the chance that the person receiving the message will be put on the defensive. It is very useful in conflicting situations as it allows the sender to express disappointment, anger, or frustration while minimizing the chance that the discussion will turn into a fruitless argument. Most of the time we send the messages with statements such as you should wash your cloths, you should do hard work or giving orders e.g. you better forget that idea and take my advice and most disturbing form is the if-then-threat i.e. if you will not follow me...., then I will... The idea of a sender may be to bring about a needed change in title behaviour of another person, but it usually ends up creating added resistance to change. Instead of using your statement, worker should make use of 1-statement, which does not accuse or blame. For example this is how I feel, I trust you, to decide what step should be taken in this case etc. 6) Understanding emotions and feelings and responding to defensive communication A social worker deals with different type of clients with different problems. He/she should have the ability to accurately read and tune in to human emotions and feelings. While dealing with the client, a worker may find the client who is very confused, frightened, or over whelmed by their emotions. Sometimes it may be

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


possible that client does not express his/her feelings in a healthy manner. Therefore a worker must be able to discuss the nature of emotions in ways that clients understand and in ways that help clients learn how to gain greater control over troublesome feelings and emotions. Sometimes, a client may use a number of defence mechanisms to keep a social worker at a distance and to avoid or minimize the interaction because he/she is angry, fearful or somehow feel threatened or may not like workers behaviour or style. Some of the defence mechanisms generally used by a client include: denial, projection, blaming, labelling, avoidance, helplessness, using crisis or distraction or being fragile. A social worker can reduce a clients defensiveness by resorting to the following guidelines. i) The worker should try to know what might be the clients underlying fear: what makes him/her to feel threatened and try to remove that cause. Be an active listener and make it as easy as possible for your client to verbalize feelings.

ii) A worker must be tolerant to his/her clients defensive behaviour as there may be a past history associated with present behaviour such as rejection by parent. breakup of ones family, separation from loved ones or a frightening event like major personal problem, family violence, or a life-threatening illness. iii) A worker should use mirroring techniques with such clients. He/she should speak at the clients pace and in a manner that matches his/her nonverbal bahviour.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

iv) A worker should use the words and phrases that match the clients dominant mode of receiving information, which are visual, auditory and touch. For example. Do you have a clear picture of what I am suggesting? (visual). Is this plan ok for you (auditory) or I think the plan you have suggested is one we can both get hold of (touch). The client should be given opportunities to make choices and remain in control of what is happening in his/her life. A worker always uses words such as we, us, together etc. with the client. v) Never label or categorize your client. Arrange your office and your own sealing position in such a way that client does not feel trapped.

vi) ln some situations where it is critically important to engage the resistant client as in case of a child abuse, a worker need to be assertive and deal directly with the issue. If your client uses abusive language, you need not to be aggressive, but remain calm and do not respond in ways that might reinforce the behaviour. 7) Elements of professional behaviour and making ethical decisions For a social worker it is very important to continually examine his/her performance to check whether their behviour is of a professional nature. A professional may have the following professional behviour: i) A social worker should be committed to his/her professional values and actions. His/her practice is based on a body of knowledge learned through a process of formal education and training and decisions on facts, analysis, and critical thinking.

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


ii) He/she makes use of professions values, principles and code of ethics to identify and resolve ethical issues. He/she updates his/her knowledge and skills continually in order to improve services to the client and keeps accurate and complete records of decisions and actions. iii) His/her primary concern is the well being and needs of the client instead of meeting his/her own needs within work-related relationships. He/she develops a purposeful and goal oriented relationship with the client. iv) A social worker tries to understand the root cause of clients problem, his/her frustration and anger, but do not take his/her expressions of negative emotion personally. He/she keeps his/her emotions under control and exercises selfdiscipline. In addition to this, a social worker clarifies ethical issues and makes practice choices that are consistent with social works ethical principles and professional values. 8) Cross - cultural helping Another point which is worth mentioning here is that, a social worker must be very sensitive to the significance of cultural differences in the helping process. He/she must be alert to the existence of prejudice, including his/her own, and constantly assess, modify, and suspend his/her prejudices so that these beliefs do not lead to discrimination or in any way, cause them to harm their clients. He/she must be alert to the existence of institutional discrimination and be prepared to address and combat it, lest it affects their clients negatively.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Guidelines for Agency Practice

A student of social work has to do field work usually in an agency/organizational set up. After completion of the programme of study, most of the students opt for working in organizations where they struggle with two interrelated sets of tasks i.e. managing the time and managing the required office related work. In any agency setting a worker may be expected to carry out documentation (including paper work or related clerical assignment, recording etc.), communicate either directly or indirectly with the client, send letters to the concerned persons, do report writing and other similar tasks. During the period of education and training in social work, a student is expected to do substantial amount of writings which are aimed at helping him/her to be an efficient report writer. Apart from his/her regular response to the assignments and exercises under check your progress questions, he/she is also expected to write his/her field diary and field work journal regularly. A social worker will also be engaged in writing reports and preparing other documents both in the agency and as part of his/her learning activities. Therefore a social worker will be getting extensive exposure for engaging in several activities which will help him/her to master skills that are required for working with an agency. In the following pages, let us briefly discuss some of the essential guidelines for agency practice described by Sheafor and Horejsi. 1) Report Writing It is mandatory for a social worker to write reports. A

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


report can be anything from the two-line hand written memo to a bound volume with hundreds of closely typed pages. It may deal with the client system, interventions, survey report, case study, or fate of the national economy and be read by government officials or it may be read by other agency officials, media personnel, as well as social work professionals. The key principle of report writing could hardly be simpler. It is a question of identifying the key facts of a particular matter, and then presenting them in the right order as simply and directly as possible. Writing a report may involve laborious research, narration of facts and figures to present the gathered information in an effective and meaningful way. But it is almost always worth the effort. A report that is inaccurate, incomplete or unclear, creates misunderstanding. The quality of report can be improved by following the guidelines explained by Sheafor and Horejsi: i) Before doing any writing, you must analyze who the readers will be and what information they need and expect. Always think how the readers will interpret your words or perhaps misinterpret what you have written.

ii) Determine the type of format and writing style that are appropriate for the report. For example, is a formal and highly organized report needed, or is a more informal, memorandum-type format appropriate? As a general rule, a more formal type of report writing is required for interagency communication whereas memos are acceptable for communication within an agency or organization.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

iii) Organize the information to be presented into a logical structure, before you begin to write. Construct an outline that include the main topic and the various subtopics. Present your ideas in an orderly way to make the reader understand your message. iv) Use the number of words which are necessary. Use simple, clear and direct language. Avoid words that have different meanings in different contexts. Also avoid using slang phrases that might offend the reader. v) Keep your sentences short, usually 15-20 words or less. Use the active voice whenever possible and give special attention to paragraph construction. Each paragraph should focus on a single idea.

vi) Do not use weak and evasive language such as It seems as though and there is some reason for believing. Such phrases give the impression that whether the writer is not sure of what to say or does not want to take responsibility for what is being said. Another point to remember is that the writer should avoid wishy-washy language. For example, instead of saying. I feel placement is necessary the writer must say I believe placement is necessary or simply I recommend placement for this person. This reflects the professional competence and confidence of ten writer. vii) Be sure of what you are trying to say before producing the final version. Also read the draft aloud: if it does not sound right, revise it. You should be committed to your ideas and not to your

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


words. The more you revise, the better would be the final report. viii) Take help of dictionary if you are not confident about the meaning of a word. correct spelling, whether a word should be capitalized, how the word should he divid ed at the end of a line. correct punctuation i.e. hyphens, accents, and whether a hyphen should be used in a compound word. ix) With the advancement of technology and its use across the board, it is very important for a social worker to be familiar with computer as computer programs now include a thesaurus, spelling checks, and grammar checks which are needed in writing. 2) Letter Writing Letter writing is very essential. A well constructed letter can help you to improve and develop your relationship with the client. Sheafor and Horejsi, have suggested some points for good letter writing. i) Plan carefully before writing a letter. Your image as a professional is shaped by the appearance and quality of your letters.

ii) A professional letter should contain the parts such as: letterhead, date, inside address, reference line or subject line, salutation, body, typed signature (name), and written signature. iii) Proper titles such as Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., Dr., Prof., Your Excellency, Your Eminance, Your Lordship, etc. should be properly used.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

iv) Do not include material that would violate confidentiality if read by persons other than the intended recipient of the letter. In India it is acceptable to mention on top of the letterhead/ over the envelop confidential. v) You should be alert to the fact that an agencys name and address on an envelope may reveal the clients involvement with an agency.

vi) The person who receives your letter should feel that he/she is dealing with a real person and not an impersonal representative of an organization. Therefore you should humanize and personalize your letter, especially to clients. vii) Revise and polish all drafts of letters and proofread the final version. viii) Complaint letter should be written with directness, clarity and authority. While you are angry or frustrated while writing such letter, do not send it on the same day. After one or two days, reconsider what and how you have said, and how it is likely to be perceived by the recipient. This may prevent you from saying something that will cause regret later. ix) You should remember to keep a copy of all letters for agency files. Use certified or registered mail when necessary to document that a letter was delivered. x) It is possible that several replies could be in the form of e-mails. Always keep a print out of the same in the appropriate files.

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


3) Talking on the telephone When quick response is needed, telephone is a good source and your voice is your sole means of communicating over the telephone. Even so, watch your body language and facial expression they affect the way you sound. For improving telephone communication, follow the underlying guidelines: i) Use the normal speaking voice because the person at the receiving end is not able to observe your body language. The entire communication will be by your voice. If you slump, for example, you often will sound tired or breathless. To keep a bright tone in your voice, smile when talking on the phone.

ii) Do not answer phone in a rush. Pause a moment, take a deep breath, and then breathe out slowly as you pick up the receiver. You will sound more relaxed. If you recognize the other persons voice, use his/her name in your greeting. Use it gain during the conversation and when parting. With the advancement in communication network, you are also able to identify the caller ID both on landline as well as on a mobile. iii) Identity yourself by name. organization and department while receiving or making calls. Jot down the major points you wish to cover before placing the call. Take notes while on the phone and summarize the information you intended to convey and the information you received before putting down the phone. iv) Whenever talking to a person, interject brief


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

comments at intervals like OK. Yes. I see or I understand. This will make the caller realize that you are listening. Steer your caller to the main point if he/she gets sidetracked. v) Master the skills of using your agencys phone system such as transferring calls, using voice mail, and similar tasks. When transferring calls to other lines, let callers know what you are doing: Tell them the name and title of the person lo whom they will be speaking and why you are transferring their call. When you may like to leave the phone for a while, explain why: please hold on for a few seconds while I get that file. Unless you are sure you will be away for only a few moments, tell your caller that you will call back. If you have left the phone, alert your caller to your return call before resuming the conversation: Hello or Thanks for waiting or I have that file now.

vi) Do not receive the phone, if you are busy, talking to another caller. vii) Whenever leaving a message, keep it short by telling your name, phone number, reason for calling and suggest them to return your call on a specific time. If you want to save your time rather than waiting for the call it is better to call him/her again. viii) It is unethical to answer or call people while consuming food/drinks. You can politely tell the caller excuse me for a while and get back to the caller once you are comfortable.

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


4) Using information technology and maintaining case notes for narrative recording A social worker must have knowledge of Information technology. He/she should be skilled in the use of word processing, spreadsheets, database programs, computerized assessment instruments, research related software online resources and internet resources. Now a days most of the organizations/ institutions embrace new technology to get the work done fast. It is easy for a social worker to get latest information on various topics through internet. One can find related articles and books on line. On line library facility can also be accessed by a social worker. Besides potential benefits, a social worker must be aware about the dangers associated with this technology. Sometimes it can be misused such as the risk to confidential information when transmitted electronically. Therefore, a social worker must know how to use it in an appropriate and responsible manner. Another issue to discuss is narrative recording which is used by certain organizations because of their flexibility. A worker writes into records, the things which are important. For example: i) The worker creates many handwritten notes and then, after weeks or even months reviews those notes and prepare a summary of his/her works with the client.

ii) The handwritten notes record the day-to-day actions and activities related to a specific case (e.g. Mr. A, Bs teacher, called to say...) and help the worker keep track of what has happened. Some


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

notes are merely reminders (e.g. Contact Mr. C and request.) After taking all the information, the worker does the entry into the agency record. Though this method is very time consuming and many organizations have moved towards using brief progress notes, computer assisted systems and other structured and concise formats are in use. 5) Process Recording Process recording is a detailed form of recording often used to assist students and new workers in learning practice skills. It is also used when a worker is having unusual problems with a client and wants to create a record that can be examined by his/her peers, supervisors, or consultants as basis for making suggestions on how the worker might overcome the problems. Some of the components that can be included in process recording include: i) Name of those in attendance at interview or meeting

ii) Date, location, length and purpose of the session. iii) Students plan for session. iv) Description of interaction and content such as: a) How session began and what were the significant exchanges during the session by the client and by the student as well.

b) Specific topics discussed, decisions reached and plans made.

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice



New facts and information obtained by the student: mood and feeling tone of session; and how session or meeting ended.


Students role and activities during session and techniques and skills used by the student.

vi) Students assessment of clients concern, situation, or problem and clients current response and reactions to student social worker and to the helping process. vii) Students assessment of his/her own performance during the session e.g. problems encountered, strengths and limitations. viii) Students plan for the next meeting or interview with the client. Though process recording is a time consuming activity, it is one of the best teaching tools. Audio or videotape recordings are, in many respects superior to process recording as a teaching tool but it is not possible for many organizations to have video equipment: even if they do, it requires that an interview should take place in a studio atmosphere to escape background noise. 6) Managing Time at Work Most social workers are engaged in too much of work to complete within a time frame. Therefore, time management is of utmost importance. Some of the guidelines are: i) Organize yourself. Understand your agencys mission and your job description. If you are not clear about your assignments and responsibilities,


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

discuss with your supervisor. Set priority for your tasks and assignments. ii) Recognize that in order to be effective and efficient, your job must be consistent with your personal and professional values, goals and style. You and your colleagues can be frustrated if there is mismatch between what your agency expects from you and what you can do. iii) Prepare a list of things-to-do and give estimated time to complete each task on the list. Anticipate deadlines, and tackle lengthy tasks before those that can he completed in a short time. Work on the most difficult task when your energy level is high (e.g. morning time) and reserve some time at the end of each day for clearing your desk. iv) Plan your work and set priorities. You can also develop daily and weekly plans. You can also plan your tasks into different categories such as tasks that must be completed today: tasks that should be started today; and tasks that can wait for a few days. You can also change your priorities accordingly. v) Do not delay the things. Do not leave work for tomorrow. Plan for the unexpected. Allow time in your schedule for emergencies. Make decisions in a timely manner. If you are afraid of making mistakes, you are likely to delay making decisions. When you make a mistake, learn from it instead of repeating the same.

vi) Keep, up to date, your agencys policy and procedures. Insert the new information on time and

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


discard the old. You must develop a system for the storage and fast retrieval of frequently used information (e.g e-mail address, telephone numbers. mailing address of professionals and agencies you contact frequently). vii) Limit the time spent in meetings by properly defining the purpose; attend only for the time needed to make your contribution; start on time and end on time: Evaluate the success of the meeting and agree on necessary changes in future meetings. viii) You can save your time by scheduling all meetings in a given locality for the same day. ix) Keep the things, you are working on in front of you and clear your desk of other materials. Avoid jumping from one task to another. Focus on one thing at a lime until you either finish the task or reach a preset time limit for that activity. x) Do not let papers pile up on your desk. If you pick up a paper/report/request, take action or discard it if no action is to be taken. Learn to use office machines and communications systems, such as word processor, email, fax, computer etc. It will increase your efficiency.

xi) If you find some kind of training will be useful for you to increase your knowledge and skills, approach your employer for a specific training you need. You can also take their suggestions for how to reduce the time spent writing agency records and routine reports. Try to communicate with accuracy and have clarity in your writing and your speech.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

xii) Do not try to compensate for someone elses incompetence. Avoid being drawn into doing other peoples work. Remember to keep track of how you spend each day and week and analyze how much time you save. 7) Controlling Workload You as a social worker can be placed in the organization where you will be assigned a number of tasks. Sometime due to shortage of staff or incompetence of other staff vou may have to do additional work. To control an ever-growing workload, say no to additional work assignments or ask other staff for their assistance. Sometimes you do not say no to your boss in order to avoid conflict or feeling guilty and say yes to an additional work. Nevertheless, you must take responsibility for managing your workload and this requires saying no to some requests. Some of the guidelines are: i) Decide if the proposed assignment or request for your time is reasonable, given your job description and current workload. Ask yourself: Is this is a matter of high priority? Am I responsible for this matter or is someone else? If I say yes, will 1 soon regret it and feel angry and put upon? Am I tempted to say yes mainly because I want to avoid a conflict or the appearance of selfishness?

ii) When unsure, if the request is reasonable, obtain more information before saying yes or no. If still in doubt, ask for time to think about the request and set a deadline for making the decision (e.g. Ill let you know in half an hour).

Principles and Skills for Social Work and Agency Practice


iii) If you must refuse, say firmly and calmly. It may be appropriate for you to give a straight forward explanation of why you said no, but do so without saying Im sorry or offering excuse and rationalizations. If you have a good reason for refusing. there is no need to apologize. If you want to take assistance of others, explain why you are taking his/her help. However, if your request is rejected, accept the answer graciously and respond by saying I understand. I know you have to do your work also etc. You can also ask the person, if you can take his/her help at a later time or date.

The decisions and actions of social workers influence a large number of populations either directly or indirectly. Social workers are delivering a wide variety of services directly to clients while working in hospitals, civic courts, schools, private practice, businesses and a myriad of social agencies. They are working towards positive community and social changes. The whole society benefits from social workers activities because improving the quality of life for an individual, a family, or the people of community will ultimately have an impact on the general society. It elevate the health, happiness, safety, standard of life, and productivity of all its members. The purpose of a social interaction with the client determine the types of relationship a worker attempts to develop. He/she provides direct services, develops a professional relationship, and help them out from the difficult circumstances, keeping the basic principles,


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

knowledge and skill in mind. In this chapter we have presented some of the most important guiding principles, communication skills and skills essential lor agency practice.

Sheafor. Bradford W. and Horejsi, Charles R. (2003), Techniques and Guidelines for Social Work Practice. Allyn and Bacon.Publishers, New York. Hepworth, Dean H.. Rooney, Ronald H., and Larsen Jo Ann (2002). Direct Social Work Practice: Theory and Skills, Wadsworth Publication. Kirst - Ashman and Jr. Grafteon H. Hull. (2001), Generalist Practice with Oganizations & Communities. Wadsworth Publication. Brend Dubois and Karia Krogsrud Milay (1991), Social Work An Empowering Profession. Allyn and Bacon Publishers, New York.

9 Models and Modes of Social Work Supervision

*Patricia Lager

The field work experience provides an opportunity for students to integrate the basic knowledge acquired through coursework into the real world of practice through a supervision process. Although the acquisition of basic knowledge about human behaviour, social policies and programmes, social work intervention strategies, etc. is certainly prerequisite to successful practice, it is not completely sufficient. The guidance that supervision provides in regards to how to apply this knowledge to the field of practice is an important component of a students learning. This chapter discusses the functions of supervision in this overall process, in addition to the supervision models and modes that are generally used in the social work practicum to assist in this regard. Also reviewed are the administrative and cultural contexts of supervision in an educational practicum.

* Prof. Patricia Lager, FSU, USA


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Definition and General Functions of Supervision

Supervision in an educational practicum is generally defined as the relationship between a student, or subordinate, and supervisor who oversees the development of the student throughout the practicum experience. Within the context of this relationship, the supervisor monitors and evaluates the students development of responsibility, skills, knowledge, attitudes, and ethical standards in the practice of social work. During this process the supervisor provides consistent feedback to the student as he or she works toward achieving a maximum level of performance in all these areas. In addition, the supervision process consists of the face-to-face contact between the supervisor and the student during which the student apprises the supervisor of important case material and every aspect of his or her involvement with clients. In social work, supervision is considered an integral part of professional practice. It primarily relates to agency-based professional practice and forms part of the ethical standards of assuring competent and accountable practice with clients. The various functions of supervision are as follows:

Assessing the students level of knowledge and skill. Assuming responsibility for working out a plan that will provide the student with an array of appropriate and challenging learning opportunities during the practicum.

Models and Modes of Social Work Supervision


Assisting the student in understanding and adapting to the community or environment where the practicum takes place. Assessing the fit between the students and clients backgrounds and experiences (i.e. urban/ rural, middle/lower class) and their implications for interactions. Monitoring the students practicum experience and assisting in evaluating the students performance. Assisting the student in identifying his or her learning needs, formulating learning objectives, and preparing a learning agreement. Facilitating the students learning by providing guidance and serving as a source of information. Assisting the student in integrating social work theory and the specific experiences of the practicum. Educating the student by modeling appropriate practice behaviours and techniques, providing relevant feedback and encouragement, clarifying and interpreting various behaviours exhibited by the student, and sharing experiences that enhance the students development. Encouraging self-acceptance and enhancing self esteem. Encouraging interpersonal regard. Managing interpersonal and organizational tensions. Fostering interdependence of the student.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Advocating for the student. Evaluating the students progress and development.

Supervision occurs within an agency setting in which the supervisor serves as the primary teacher in the field whose aim is to teach the core skills of social work practices, such as interviewing, listening, observation, recording, assessing and prioritizing client problems, developing interventions, etc. Other administrative tasks are also taught, which include planning, budgeting, drafting, etc. Other important components of supervision also include the development of professional attitudes and behaviours, such as accountability, assuming responsibility, good time management skills, and a general commitment to completing the work assigned in a professional manner. The supervisor will generally use a number of techniques to assist in facilitating a students learning, such as:

Engaging in a discussion of case material and asking why a certain intervention was used. Didactic teaching, such as providing information directly. Experiential teaching, such as role playing in which the supervisor demonstrates a particular skill or technique.

In general, the supervision process is based on the development of a positive supervisory relationship that will be discussed later in this block. Undoubtedly without this relationship, the functions of supervision will not achieve the primary purpose of helping a

Models and Modes of Social Work Supervision


student attain the level of knowledge and skills necessary to enter the field of social work practice.

Development and Task Models of Supervision

Just as social workers follow models of practice in working with clients, supervisors also generally follow models of supervision that are typically associated with supervision in social work. In this section we will discuss two primary models of supervision that are generally used in preparing new practitioners to work in various human service professions the developmental and task models of supervision. The developmental model of supervision is more of a process-oriented model that follows the various stages of learning that a new social worker generally experiences during his or her development of professional knowledge and skills for practice. The primary focus of a developmental model of supervision in field work is on how students change as they gain more training and experience in the field of practice, based on a shift in identity (from student to practitioner) and the skills that develop with the experiences gained. In the developmental model of supervision, supervisors primarily attempt to match their behaviour and teaching techniques to the developmental needs of the student. In other words, the supervisor assesses where the student is in terms of his or her level of skill and knowledge, then the supervisor must structure learning experiences and teaching techniques that are consistent with this level of skill and knowledge.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

The developmental model generally consists of four stages of development that students or new practitioners follow as they gain experience in the field of social work. At each stage the students development is strongly influenced by three general themes, all of which have an enormous effect on the other themes. Those themes are:

The development of the students professional self and identity. The relationship between the supervisor and the student. The relationship between the supervisor and the administrative structure (or practice context) within which he or she works.

The stages of development are as follows: Stage One: During this stage the student is very dependent on the supervisor and lacks the competence needed for independent work. Students also generally lack self-awareness and have little experience in working with clients. Learning takes place by shadowing the supervisor and observing his or her style of practice. Stage Two: This stage is generally characterized by a dependency-autonomy conflict. As the students awareness increases, he or she strives for independence but is not ready for complete autonomy. At this stage the student needs more independence and less restrictiveness than the first stage. Sta ge Thr ee: This is the sta ge of conditional

Models and Modes of Social Work Supervision


dependency in which the student is generally more differentiated, motivated, insightful and empathic. He or she is more comfortable with a perception of professional self and is able to function with a great deal of autonomy. The student at this stage is also able to formulate assessments well and develop appropriate interventions for clients with minimal input from the supervisor. Stage Four: At this stage the student has developed a high level of competence and is able to independently formulate accurate assessments with appropriate interventions. Students at this stage are able to take responsibility for their own learning. In general, the developmental approach to supervision is very appealing as it follows the predominant view of most social work practitioners that social workers become better practitioners with more experience and training. The task model of supervision is very similar to the developmental model, however it relies heavily on the assignment of tasks that help students develop to a more advanced level of practice. This model includes a focus on both functions and tasks within supervision which are, respectively, the how and what of supervision. For example, some of the tasks that are included in the model are: monitoring-evaluating; instructing-advising; modeling; consulting; supportingsharing. Likewise, some of the functions are: counseling skill; case conceptualization; professional role; emotional awareness; self-evaluation. The consequence is a 5 (task) by 5 (function) matrix, with 25 resulting task-function combinations (See Fig. ).

Functions (How) Counseling Skill

Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Case Professional Emotional SelfConceptual- Role Awareness Evaluation ization

MonitoringEvaluating Tasks (What) Modeling Consulting SupportingSharing InstructingAdvising

Fig. : Functions and Tasks in Supervision

A supervisor might, for example, engage in monitoringevaluating (the how) of the students counseling skill (the what), or might engage in consulting concerning the students emotional awareness, and so on. Hypothetically, a supervisor might engage in any task with any function, but realistically there are probably some task and function matches that are more likely to occur in supervision.

Models of Supervision
Direct observation of the student: Regardless of the particular model of supervision used, there is no substitute for directly observing a students work with a client. Several arrangements can be used for conducting these observations. One way is for the supervisor to be physically present in the room with the student or accompanying him or her on home visits. Another possibility involves the use of special

Models and Modes of Social Work Supervision


observation rooms equipped with one way mirrors. By observing sessions as they occur, supervisors get a better sense of the social work process of assessing and counseling a client. They can listen to what is said, watch the nonverbal behaviours of the student and client, note key moments of the session, and get a deeper awareness of the overall feel of the interventions. In some arrangements, supervisors can also instruct the student during the interaction. Using a technique known as a bug in the ear, supervisors observe the sessions from behind a mirror and can speak to the student through a microphone connected to tiny earplug-type speakers. Although direct observation can be one of the best ways for students to learn counseling techniques, a drawback is the fact that they can be intimidated by the supervisors presence even if he or she is behind a mirror and therefore their already existing anxiety can be elevated. In such instances, it is helpful for supervisors and students to establish an agreement about how directly observed sessions will proceed, what the goals and objectives of the session are, and perhaps engage in a role play before the actual client session begins. Didactic supervision: One approach to supervision is similar to what instructors and students do in their academic classes. Didactic or teaching supervision is best chosen when an intern wants to learn, or a supervisor wants to teach, specific information about a theory, technique, or some topic relevant to the interns activities. The goal of a didactic approach is to get information across as efficiently as possible so the


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

student can learn and apply the information directly to his or her work. Didactic approaches tend to be particularly appealing to beginning learners because they feel a need for concrete, practical information to help them cope with the anxiety and ambiguity of starting something new. Perhaps the main drawback to didactic methods is if they are relied upon too heavily, supervision can become merely another venue for lecture-based instruction. Case discussions: Although students are most familiar with didactic approaches, the most common activity of clinical supervision is typically case discussion. As the name implies, case discussion means the student describes a case to the supervisor and the two discuss what is going on. Case discussions can take a variety of formats depending on the goals and preferences of the student and supervisor. Perhaps the most common approach involves students describing what is happening in a case, explaining their actions and offering interpretations for what is happening. The supervisor typically listens, asks questions, and may offer alternative interpretations or suggestions. Tapes and role plays: Video or audio recordings of sessions with clients enable the supervisor and student to observe the actual interview process with a client. This is an extremely valuable method for clinical training, although some time limitations prohibit reviews of the entire session. This mode of supervision presents an interesting paradox. Most students want to present a positive impression of their skills and work, there is also the temptation to choose only those points in the session where one feels particularly confident

Models and Modes of Social Work Supervision


in their work. As an alternative, students should choose a few sections where they feel they work and a few other sections where they felt lost, confused, overwhelmed, etc. An alternative to working with recorded sessions is to enact a client session with the supervisor. Role plays involve students taking the roles of clients, trainees or other staff members and acting these roles as they portray a situation or interaction of interest. They can be particularly helpful in developing basic helping skills and in learning to deal with difficult clients or staff. Role plays can also help students to become aware of their counseling style and, in some instances, about significant issues in their own lives. Supervisors can also use role plays to learn about issues and techniques in supervision. Direct observation of the supervisor: The majority of students prefer this mode of supervision above most others. While they recognize that discussion about their own work can only take them so far, they also feel they can learn a great deal when they can watch their supervisor in group or individual sessions, read reports written by the supervisor, and observe him or her in other actions such as staff meetings, conferences, etc. One way to accomplish this is for the supervisor and intern to work jointly in counseling clients. This is most commonly practiced in group or couples counseling, but it can also be used with individual clients. Although most supervisors are open to this process if it is consistent with the needs of clients, many are not aware that students would like such an opportunity. As a result, students may need to take


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

the initiative of asking if they can observe the supervisors in different setting.

Cultural and Administrative Context of Supervision

Helping students gain cultural competence within an administrative structure that facilitates this process is an important component of the practicum experience. Not all agencies provide an opportunity for students to work with diverse client populations, therefore the supervisor and student together will need to develop creative strategies to meet this expectation, as being a culturally competent social work practitioner is at the core of the social work value system. Therefore the supervisor can look at ways in which the student can be exposed to others who are different from them and develop ways of exploring their awareness of cultural diversity. Most agencies have client populations that represent different areas of diversity such as race, ethnicity, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, spirituality, political philosophy, socioeconomic class, education, family background, and life experiences. The administrative structure of an agency can provide an opportunity for students to apply in the practicum setting the cultural competent knowledge, skills, and values that they have gained in their coursework. However, how can a single agency or supervisor have adequate knowledge about the varied and diverse client systems with which a new social worker will work with during his or her career? Generally it is helpful to note that there are five essential elements of cultural competence that can apply to an individual or larger

Models and Modes of Social Work Supervision


system, such as an agency: (1) value diversity; (2) capacity for cultural self-assessment; (3) awareness of the dynamics inherent when cultures interact; (4) institutionalized cultural knowledge; and (5) programs and services that reflect an understanding of diversity between and within cultures. Although true cultural competence is a lifelong challenge and opportunity, students can proactively seek out opportunities in their practica to interact with others whose life experiences differ from theirs so they can better understand ways in which they can be helpful to those individuals or groups. While they may be intimidated upon leaving the comfort zone of working with those client systems that are most like them, they are encouraged to broaden their understanding of those individuals or groups with whom they have lilttle or no experience. Some specific questions students can ask themselves and discuss with their supervisors in the process of working with diverse clients can include the following:

How are issues of diversity handled in the agency? Are these issues included in the agencys assessment process? Is it permissible to include these issues in the assessment and interventions conducted by the social workers in the agency? If the practicum agency supports the inclusion of issues relating to diversity and cultural competence into social work practice, are you clear about the appropriate way to acknowledge and discuss the issues?


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Does the potential for a value and/or ethical conflict exist if the clients values or beliefs are different from your own?

In addition to working with diverse client populations, students may also be working under supervisors who represent different racial, cultural or ethnic backgrounds. Just as it is important for students to understand these differences as they relate to the client system, it is also important to understand similar differences as they relate to the supervision experience. For example, cultural norms may dictate a different style of supervision in which communication barriers might exist. Recognizing and understanding these differences when communicating problems or concerns is important to the development of a positive supervisory experience and should be clarified in the beginning of the practicum.

Appropriate supervision is an important component of the field work experience as it provides an opportunity for students to apply the knowledge gained from their coursework to the field of social work practice. Specific functions of supervision include the structuring of activities that are in accordance with the students level of knowledge and skill that they bring to the practicum, in addition to the evaluation of the students progress throughout. Two key models of supervision that are commonly used in social work to prepare students are the developmental and task models. Both are similar in many ways as they are designed to help students achieve a level of proficiency in practice that is gained through experience and the accomplishment of certain

Models and Modes of Social Work Supervision


tasks assigned by the supervisor. The varying modes of supervision (live and didactic supervision, role plays, video and audio tapes, etc.) are conducted within the context of these models. Another integral component of supervision is the provision of opportunities that expose students to issues involving diversity and that allow them to develop a significant level of cultural competence appropriate for entry into the social work profession.

Baird, B.N. (1996). The Internship, Practicum, and Field Placement Handbook. Saddle River, NJ: Simon & Schuster. Benshoff, J.M. (1993). Peer supervision in counselor training. Clinical Supervisor, 11(2), 89-102. Bernard, J.M. & Goodyear, R.K. (1998). Fundamentals of Clinical Supervision (2 nd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Hawkins, P. & Shohet, R. (1989). Supervision in the Helping Professions. Philadelphia: Open University Press. Kadushin, A. (1992). Supervision in Social Work (3rd ed.). New York: Columbia University Press.

10 Administrative and Environmental Aspects in Social Work Supervision

*Patricia Lager

Supervision within the social work field experience is considered an educationally focused teaching relationship that is authority based and has periods of closeness and distance. The supervisor-student relationship is typically implemented through an individualized, one-on-one teaching arrangement based in a community/agency. In order to fully understand practicum supervision and how to make good use of it, it is first necessary to examine the essential components of supervision within an organizational structure. Practicum supervision in an agency setting places less emphasis on the supervisor being an overseer of a students work although that is an integral component of the role. More emphasis is on being a skilled master of the work to be done, in addition to being a teacher and a leader. Within this context, it is the supervisors responsibility
* Prof. Patricia Lager, FSU, USA

Administrative and Environmental Aspects in Social Work Supervision


to model good social work skills and behaviors to adequately prepare students for the real world of practice. A positive supervisory relationship based on a style of supervision that facilitates learning is an important component of the practicum experience. In addition, a thorough orientation to the expectations of supervision helps to set the stage for a positive supervisory experience that will serve as a frame of reference for the student in future social work jobs. This chapter will discuss the beginning phase of practicum supervision, which includes the orientation to the roles and expectations of supervision and a focus on the supervisory relationship. Also discussed will be the styles of supervision that are most conducive to the facilitation of a positive supervisory relationship in which boundaries can sometimes be blurred and the authority role challenged.

Orientation to Field Work Supervision: Roles and Expectations

While all agencies vary in regards to their structure, levels of authority, etc., there is a need for supervision at all levels within an organization the individual level, the team level, and the department and organizational level. Each level is generally supervised as a whole entity, e.g., the department is supervised with regard to how it functions as a department. This supervision is essential if each level, whether it be in a social work department, health service or school, is going to provide a measure of containment and understanding of what happens within it. It is important for students to understand this organizational structure when beginning a practicum, in addition to their role within


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

that structure. The agency providing field practicums must have a well defined structure with well defined roles for its employees, rather than informal lines of authority and a loose organizational structure. Every practicum begins with a thorough orientation to the expectations required by the educational program prior to beginning the experience. However, different expectations are generally required by the onsite supervisor and agency that might differ from those in another practicum setting. The first orientation topic to cover is the structure of the agency and the role of the practicum supervisor within that structure. Some supervisors only assume administrative responsibilities while others carry caseloads in addition to their administrative role. Having a thorough understanding of the practicum supervisors role is an important part of the learning, particularly in regards to the varying responsibilities that social workers assume within an organization. Another important aspect of orientation is the role of the field work supervisor and how that might vary from the role of the practicum supervisor within the agency. The field work supervisor is given administrative tasks by the educational program that include the functions of identifying suitable agencies in the area where field work can be done and securing their cooperation and consent for the same. These selections are made based on specific criteria established by the program. The practicum supervisor has the role of orienting the student to the objectives of the agency, the existing programs within it and how they function, the resources available to the agency, and the needs of the clients/ communities that are served (Hawkins & Shohet, 1997).

Administrative and Environmental Aspects in Social Work Supervision


A thorough orientation to the role of the student in the agency is important in helping students to understand the expectations of their duties and the limitations that are inherent in being a student learner within an organization. For example, the student is not expected to be given clerical work or fundraising tasks but instead should be given tasks that are consistent with their contract and that facilitate their learning. They can also be included as the member of a team assigned to mobilize resources for a particular activity. Similarly, they may help the agency occasionally by doing office related work that provides them with a learning experience. An important component of the orientation also includes the communication of expectations by the supervisor during the course of supervision. The student should have an understanding of the following information (Baird, 1996): When supervisory sessions are scheduled What the expectations are with regard to the review of written material by the supervisor and due dates The protocol for reporting absences or scheduled appointments outside the agency Agency policies and procedures Protocols regarding confidentiality and dealing with potentially harmful...? Safety issues or concerns and a strategy for dealing with them Other important information that is deemed necessary by the agency, supervisor, and the educational program.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

To assist in clarifying expectations, it is helpful for the student and supervisor to independently develop a list of expectations and assessment criteria for the supervisory relationship from both perspectives. Specifically, the student can develop a list of expectations for him/herself and the field supervisor can do the same. They can then compare the lists and develop a mutually agreed upon set of expectations of each other regarding supervision. Examples of areas to consider in developing the lists include the following (Bogo, 1993):

Expectations of Self (List specific expectations of yourself)

Assessment Criteria (List measurable outcomes used to determine whether expectations are achieved)

Use of supervision

Preparedness for supervision

Follow-up to supervisory recommendation

Demonstration of adult learning

Demonstration of assertiveness

Demonstration of appropriate professional feedback

Administrative and Environmental Aspects in Social Work Supervision


The Supervisory Relationship: Styles of Supervision

Another important aspect of the orientation is the student-agency supervisory relationship. The qualities of a good supervisory/student relationship usually parallel the qualities of a good practitioner/client relationship. Just as in work with clients, the supervisory relationship must be built on trust and openness, thus allowing the exchange of honest communication and critical feedback. The student should be able to feel safe in sharing concerns about the practicum in addition to his or her style of learning, so the supervisor is able to structure the supervision accordingly and make necessary changes in the practicum experiences. The establishment of a positive relationship begins with an open discussion by the supervisor regarding his or her style of supervision. Supervisory style can best be defined as the way the field work supervisor shares his or her theoretical orientation, practice and supervisory philosophies. Supervisory style consists of a series of behavior patterns used by the supervisor to establish a working relationship with the student. It can generally be categorized as (1) active, which is problem oriented, directive, and interpretive, or (2) reactive, which is process oriented, indirect, and non-interpretive (Munson, 2002). There are varying styles and techniques that are used which generally reflect a particular style of practice that incorporates a supervisors personality style. Under the categories of active and reactive, typical styles of


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

supervision are as follows (Munson, 2002): Philoso p her -p hiloso p hic al s tyle : Sometimes supervisors launch into philosophical abstractions that have little or no application from the students point of view. They often use either lengthy explanations or brief global statements, which frequently make the new learner extremely frustrated as important case material is not dealt with directly. Theoretician-theoretical style: The supervisor often uses theory as the primary focus and believes that the mastery of theory leads to good practice. According to this style, once the theory has been mastered, the student can deal with future case material on their own. The theoretician tends to be logical and orderly in their approach to supervision and are frequently viewed as taskmasters when it comes to dealing with clinical material. The only time they are viewed negatively is when they talk about theory in the abstract, thus not relating it directly to case material and learning. Technician-technical style: This style is very different from the other two styles. Instead of being philosophical or theoretical in orientation, the supervisor deals almost exclusively with details of case problems and relates them to technical skills. It is a problem focused and interactionally oriented style of supervision in which questions are asked in highly specific and empathic ways. Without confrontation or threat, the student can be pressured into dealing with difficult material. The technician has patience with new learners and responds in ways that encourage them to find their own answers. They are also respected by those they supervise and

Administrative and Environmental Aspects in Social Work Supervision


are often viewed as demanding, having a no-nonsense approach to supervision. This is generally the preferred style for students just entering the social work field, although a combination of the three styles at the appropriate time can also be effective. It is important for the student to have a complete understanding of the style of supervision used by the supervisor during the orientation phase of the internship. As adult learners, it is also important for students to be responsible for identifying their particular learning style along with the teaching style of the direct supervisor. Routinely engaging in discussion about each others style will enable the student and supervisor to continue to understand how of the other processes and utilizes information. The insights gained from identifying a supervisory style will serve as a guide for the supervisor in assigning tasks and activities, teaching knowledge and skills, and evaluating the students performance and progress. Within the forum of an open discussion, the student should also have the opportunity to provide feedback on how his or her learning style matches the supervisory style, and how areas that differ might be dealt with. It is important for students to remember that supervision is an interactional process that parallels in many ways the social worker-client relationship and the helping process in general (Baird, 1996). In order for them to benefit from the supervisory experience, it is important for the practicum instructor to employ many of the helping skills and techniques that social workers use in working with clients.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Appropriate Use of Suppervision

Learning how to use supervision appropriately is of central importance to the practicum student. Because social work is challenging and stressful, and also because students work directly with clients lives, they require skillful guidance, direction, support, and feedback from the practicum supervisor. The practicum supervisor must not only help students acquire specific skills, they must also help them manage the emotional and intellectual challenges and the personal issues that emerge in their training. This responsibility may place supervisors in a role that is very much like that of therapist for the trainee. However this should be avoided as much as possible. Supervisors should always refrain from entering a treatment relationship with the student intern. Students should strive to use supervision in a purposeful and responsible manner. Regular supervisory meetings held at a specific meeting time each week are recommended, since this will help them avoid the difficulties of having to constantly arrange a suitable meeting time. Students should prepare for these meetings in advance and not expect the supervisor to do all of the talking. Questions should be brought to the meeting, in addition to observations and requests for feedback. The student should use this time to examine his or her performance and explore new ideas. Expectations of the student are generally reinforced in these meetings and will primarily relate to the following:

Dependability and follow-through on assigned work

Administrative and Environmental Aspects in Social Work Supervision


Attention to detail and proper procedures Initiative in work-related assignments A cooperative attitude toward the practicum instructor and other staff Willingness to learn from whatever tasks are assigned Openness to supervision, including asking for, and learning from, constructive criticism Willingness to seek help when needed Appropriate use of authority Decision making issues.

When students initially begin a practicum, it is common for them to experience a high degree of anxiety and fear. They are often afraid of making a serious mistake or in some way hurting their clients. Even the most confident student will often feel a lack of confidence when initially placed in their first professional social work setting. Therefore the student needs to be made to feel comfortable in communicating these concerns to the supervisor. When this occurs, the supervisor should attempt to normalize the students feelings in this regard and assist them in gaining a level of confidence through consistent and ongoing positive feedback, when warranted.

Dealing with Conflict in Supervision

Although most students have positive supervisory experience, conflicts that interfere with learning are


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

not uncommon. The three areas of conflict most identified by students are: theoretical orientation and practice approach, styles of supervision (particularly those that conflict with styles of learning), and personality issues. Because conflicts in supervision are not uncommon, several guiding principles may help students and supervisors deal with conflict more effectively. The first principle is to approach conflicts as opportunities for learning rather than situations that interfere with learning. In the process of managing a supervisory conflict, the student may be able to discover such things as how to react to conflict, what kinds of issues or interactions tend to promote conflict, and how the student can more effectively cope with the simplistic aphorisms that everything is a learning experience or conflict builds character. One of the largest blocks to resolving conflicts is the underlying idea that conflicts should not happen and I should not have to deal with them. If students take an attitude of learning from a conflict, rather than an attitude of anger, fear, or avoidance, they are more likely to deal more effectively with the situation (Baird, 1996). A second guiding principle is to identify what a conflict is really about before raising it with the supervisor. Is the student at odds over issues of theory or technique? Does he or she feel that the supervisor is not giving him/her sufficient support? Are logistics such as timing of supervision a problem? In thinking about the key subject of a conflict, it should be recognized that often the surface content of a conflict does not necessarily reflect the real nature of the difficulty. For example, people who work together might get into a conflict over who should have the bigger office. In reality, the conflict

Administrative and Environmental Aspects in Social Work Supervision


is probably not about the office size but, in reality, about who wants or deserves more rewards or prestige and why. In addition, asking oneself the difficult question of what role you might be playing in the conflict is extremely important for a satisfactory resolution. This might involve getting an outside perspective, particularly if the student has difficulty with selfexploration of fault or limited self-insight. For example, a student might go into a discussion convinced that a supervisor places too many demands on his or her time. In discussing this situation with someone else, it might appear that the supervisor is actually paying the student a compliment by relying on him or her. It is also possible that the student might have a role in the conflict because he/she does not tell the supervisor when he/she is overwhelmed. The purpose of getting another opinion is to understand what is happening not to prove that one is right (Baird, 1996). Trying to see the situation from the supervisors perspective is another valuable step toward resolving a conflict. Is the supervisor doing or saying things for reasons that might not be immediately evident but, rather, might make perfect sense from his or her position. Is the supervisor aware that a conflict exists? If so, would she or he define the conflict differently? Asking oneself these questions would help resolve a conflict with speaking directly to the supervisor about it. One more important element of dealing with a conflict is to ask oneself what it is that one might want to be different, and what it is that one would like to see happen to be satisfied. This might be a change in the


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

way one interacts with the supervisor, or it might be a modification of some arrangement, such as a change in work hours, the assigned caseload, or a similar matter. By thinking about what ones desires are, it will enhance ones ability to more clearly articulate both the present situation and suggestions for change. This can undoubtedly help both the student and supervisor identify specific steps for dealing with and resolving the conflict. Finally, although the ideal may be that conflicts can be resolved to the mutual satisfaction of everyone, there are times when this is not the case. Under such circumstances the best solution may be to negotiate a change in supervision or placements. This does not have to be a negative experience for the people involved. Sometimes after efforts have been made to resolve a situation, it becomes apparent that people just do not match well and the most constructive way of dealing with the situation is to arrange for an alternative. In such situations it is a good idea to enlist the involvement of a central third party, such as another supervisor or an instructor who can help mediate and find alternatives that are mutually satisfying.

An integral component of practicum supervision is the development of a mutually satisfying relationship between supervisor and student. This relationship is developed much like the relationship between social worker and client in which the core foundations include trust and openness. Various styles of supervision are used by supervisors and are largely based on technique as well as personality styles. All supervision

Administrative and Environmental Aspects in Social Work Supervision


arrangements must include the communication of expectations by the supervisor, which sets the stage for a learning experience in which the student has direction and understanding of his or her role within the agency and placement. This will assist the student in learning the appropriate use of supervision throughout. Additionally, the appropriate means of dealing with conflict in supervision are essential to student learning from the beginning in order to preserve the placement while, at the same time, developing skills to deal with other similar situations in the real world of practice.

Baird, B.N. (1996). The Internship, Practicum, and Field Placement Handbook. New Jersey, Prentice Hall. Bogo, M. (1993). The student/field instructor relationship: The critical factor in field education. The Clinical Supervisor, 11(2), 23-36. Hawkins, P. & Shohet, R. (1997). Supervision in the Helping Professions. Philadelphia: Open University Press. Munson, C.E. (2002). Clinical Social Work Supervision (3rd ed.). New York: Haworth Press.

11 Supportive Functions in Supervision

*Patricia Lager

The practicum supervisor assumes an important role in the professional development of a new practitioner, a major component of which is the modeling of appropriate skills in dealing with the various stressors that arise during the course of the practicum. Therefore, it is necessary for supervisors to communicate to students and prepare them in advance for the types of stressors they are likely to face and the need to develop good coping skills at the beginning of their professional career for dealing with these stressors. Students need to have a clear idea about ways in which they can deal with the many challenges of their training and work in ways that will enhance their growth, both as individuals and as professionals. In order for students to identify ways of dealing with stress, they need to have a general understanding of the common sources of stress that practitioners commonly experience in social work and the ways in
* Prof. Patricia Lager, FSU, USA

Supportive Functions in Supervision


which those stresses are likely to affect their lives and work. In addition, they need to develop ways in which they can manage the demands of internships, school, family, friends, etc., in ways that provide a sense of balance in their lives. A sample of the typical questions that students generally ask themselves and supervisors need to address are as follows:

How do helping professionals balance their professional roles with their personal lives away from work? How can they manage the conflicting demands of an internship? How does the internship influence their ideas about the clients they work with? How does the internship affect close personal or social relationships? What personal qualities does a student have that will help them in dealing with the stress of the work? How will they be able to recognize if they are being adversely affected by their work? How might they cope with a situation in which they recognize that they are under excessive stress and their professional effectiveness or personal wellness is being harmed?

The supportive role the supervisor plays in helping students deal with stress in the practicum can present a number of challenges, one of which is the issue of


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

maintaining boundaries in the supervisory relationship. Another issue presented is that of how to deal with conflict that might occur within the relationship. The goal of adequately preparing the student at the beginning of the practicum, and setting specific guidelines to be followed, are extremely important in order to prevent potential negative outcomes.

Common Stressors Leading to Burnout and Compassion Fatigue

Considering the typical demands social workers encounter in a normal day, it should not be surprising to learn that at one time or another most helping professionals will find themselves working under significant stress that can have a negative impact on their clients. Research suggests that on some occasions more than half of the population of helping professionals have worked when their own distress might have impaired their effectiveness (Tomlinson, Rogers, Collins, and Grinnell, 1996). For most student interns who are new to the field and full of energy and dedication, the stress of practice may not be an immediate concern. However, such stresses should not be ignored and could ultimately lead to severe problems and/or impairment. Many studies that have sought to identify the sources of stress revealed that helping professionals must contend both with stresses directly related to their work, in addition to stresses in their personal lives. The major sources of stress that have been highlighted in research findings are job stress, illness or death in a family, marital and/or financial problems, a developmental

Supportive Functions in Supervision


crisis, or personal illness. Studies that have focused more on student interns and stress have identified the following factors that have primarily contributed to problems in this area: client behaviours, practitioner experiences, and therapeutic beliefs that were rated as stressful by practicum students and interns. The various behaviours exhibited by clients that tend to cause the greatest degree of stress for practitioners are physical assault on the social worker, suicide attempts, and suicidal statements or threats. Compared to more experienced professionals, practicum students are more likely to rate as stressful such client behaviours as blatantly psychotic speech, homosexual and heterosexual flirting on the part of clients, stress from premature termination with a client, and clients lack of motivation or progress. Those behaviours exhibited by clients that are likely to make a student angry, frustrated or irritated are: client resistance; impositions on the social worker; verbal attacks; the social worker becoming over involved in client dynamics; and a more general category of other incidents (e.g., client failing to show up for appointments, clients continually blaming others or refusing to work on their own issues, clients asking for special privileges, or unnecessarily calling the social worker at home). Exposure to cumulative stress, crisis, and even traumatic events in our professional or personal lives can cause physical and/or emotional exhaustion that leads to professional burnout or compassion fatigue. Burnout is defined as too much work or frequent frustration at work that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

(Greenberg, 1999). Compassion fatigue, or secondary traumatic stress, is defined as the natural consequent behaviours and emotions resulting from knowing about a traumatizing event experienced by a significant other (Figley, 1995). Radey and Figley (2007) have recently extended this notion, recognizing compassion as an essential element in effective social work practice. Built on feelings of sympathy and empathy, compassion expresses an unselfish concern for the welfare of others (MarriamWebster, in Radey & Figley, 2007: 207). When social workers are repeatedly exposed to the suffering of their clients, for instance, they may find themselves increasingly unable to rebound or offer the quality of service they know would be best. Failing to take good care of themselves, dealing with lingering distress from troubling events in their own lives, inability or refusal to control stresses at work, and the lack of satisfaction in work all deplete the social workers ability to do his or her best (Figley, 1995). Occupational stressors, when unchecked, can result in worker burnout. Role ambiguity, role conflict, and role overload play a large role in the onset of burnout within the work place. Stress related problems often result from a combination of: 1) individual perceptions of the problems, 2) environmental demands placed on the individual that have a direct effect on his or her ability to deal with the problems, and 3) ones physiological responses when confronted with stress. When stressors are social or psychological rather than physical, the stress response builds up tension that is not released. As a result, it utilizes energy that is not

Supportive Functions in Supervision


restored and can ultimately lead to exhaustion. Over a period of time, prolonged exposure to the stress and the resulting exhaustion can cause significant problems to ones physical and psychological well-being. Signs and Symptoms of Burnout and Compassion Fatigue

Change in behaviour and/or job performance Increased physical complaints of fatigue, irritability, muscle tension, stomach upset, and susceptibility to illness Social withdrawal; pulling away from coworkers, peers, family members Emotional exhaustion, loss of self-esteem, depression, frustration, loss of commitment and moral purpose in ones work Loss of curiosity and desire to learn, often accompanied by a negative attitude Spiritual change, decline in spiritual beliefs, questioning of the meaning of life (often accompanied by cynicism).

Impact of Stress on Professional Functioning

It should be evident from the discussion thus far that there are numerous possible sources of work-related and personal stress in the lives of student interns and helping professionals. This raises question about how such stressors may affect us as individuals and how stress impacts our work with clients. As professional social workers, we frequently become overwhelmed with


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

the problems our clients face and often try to find our way towards professional renewal after exposure to cumulative stress. However, we often fail to develop the necessary strategies for dealing with stress and preventing burnout until it begins to have a serious impact on our professional functioning. The following chart indicates the effect of prolonged stress on job performance, interpersonal relationships, morale, and behavioural functioning (Greenberg, 1999).
Effect on Job Performance Decrease in quality of work Decrease in quantity of work Decline in motivation Avoidance of job tasks Increase in mistakes Establishment of perfectionist standards Avoidance of job tasks Obsession with details Effect on Interpersonal Relationships Withdrawal from colleagues Impatience Decrease in quality of relationships Poor communication Subsumed by own needs Staff conflicts Effect on Morale Decreased confidence Loss of interest General dissatisfaction Negative attitude Apathy Effect on Behavioural Functioning Absenteeism Exhaustion Faulty judgment

Irritability Frequent tardiness

Demoralization & feelings of Irresponsibility incompleteness Lack of Overworked; appreciation frequent job changes Detachment; Substance reduced selfabuse esteem

In addition to the mental and emotional toll caused by stress, there are also numerous physical effects that can be just as costly and thus impair ones professional functioning. The physical inactivity created by extreme stress can lead to physical problems which often develop from patterns of storing stress through muscle tension.

Supportive Functions in Supervision


This can lead to shoulder and neck pain, headaches, etc. It is not uncommon for students to report severe stomach pains and other signs of physical reactions to extreme tension, which can also serve as warning signals for ones capacity to deal with job related stress and prevent future burnout. When social workers begin to experience the unpleasant symptoms of burnout or compassion fatigue, they often seek ways to loosen these symptoms. If appropriate methods are not available or fail, physical, emotional or mental withdrawal provides ways of distancing themselves from clients or work and thereby reducing the stress. This is a perfectly understandable response, however it can adversely affect the individual and their clients as well. Withdrawal can also lead to further frustration and negative feelings as social workers recognize their lessened effectiveness and their inability to find more creative or constructive solutions. Radey & Figley (2007) offer suggestions for rebalancing these tensions, and introduce the alternative of achieving compassion satisfaction. As illustrated in Figure 3.1, they emphasize the potential of increasing ones sense of positivity by paying close attention to three factors: our degree of positive affect or attitude in interactions with clients (remembering that there are always reasons to maintain hope for improvement), our access to supportive resources (including contacts with colleagues and supervisors), and practicing self-care through maintaining activities that add pleasure and enjoyment to daily life.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Fig.: from Radey & Figley, 2007

Using Supervision to Deal with Stress: Maintaining Professional Boundaries

The individual personality characteristics of a student and social work practitioner have much to do with the ways in which they deal with stress and potential burnout. Among those characteristics often mentioned in the literature are: (1) a lack of clear boundaries between self and work, (2) extreme degrees of empathy, (3) exceptional levels of commitment, and (4) a fragile self-concept (Baird, 1996). In addition, a students poor training during the course of an internship can also be a contributing factor. For example, ones inadequate training for a job can often leave one feeling unprepared, vulnerable, insecure, and fearing failure common feelings of students as they enter the unfamiliar learning environment of the field practicum. Preparing students to deal with the stresses of their job is of equal importance as training them to deal with the technical aspects of a social work position. Therefore it becomes critically important for the supervisor to model

Supportive Functions in Supervision


appropriate skills in coping with stress while performing the necessary tasks of his or her professional position. Modeling good coping skills for students is of equal importance to modeling good practice skills, both of which are integral components of a practicum experience. During the orientation component of the practicum, a supervisor generally assesses the students level of learning and capacity to adapt to the complexities of the various problems that often accompany any social work position. At the same time, the supervisor should also be assessing the students coping skills and how they typically deal with stressful situations, both within and outside their professional environment. Within the supervisory relationship, its important to have open and frank discussions with the student about the skills that typically are helpful in alleviating their stress, and those that are not. Helping the student learn new more effective skills for coping are an important part of their learning as they prepare to enter the field of practice. By offering suggestions for new ways of coping with the stressors that the student encounters as they work independently with clients, and following up on ways in which they implement these suggestions, can be of enormous benefit to them. In order for this learning process to effectively occur, it is important for the student and supervisor to have a positive relationship in which there is an environment of trust and freedom to express adverse feelings openly, without fear of reprisal. Students need to feel comfortable in discussing their feelings of fear and inadequacy in dealing with client problems within the supervisory


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

relationship, where these feelings can be normalized by the supervisor and suggestions can be made for ways of dealing with them effectively. A positive supervisory relationship can pose difficult challenges, such as in the case of a dual relationship in which the boundaries between student and supervisor become somewhat blurred. This can easily occur in situations where a student might be experiencing role conflict, personal problems, or significant anxieties about his or her work with a particular client. Due to the personality characteristics of the supervisor, he or she might have a need to provide therapeutic services to the student and assist him or her in dealing with the conflict on a level that is outside the professional supervisory role. This should be avoided, as the supervisor who also performs the role of therapist with a student can create a serious ethical dilemma and cause harm to the student/supervisor relationship. Dual relationships between supervisors and students have proven to be difficult issues to resolve and have been the topic of much debate in the professional literature. Problematic dual relationships with students include intimate relationships, therapeutic relationships, and social relationships. What makes a dual relationship unethical is (1) the likelihood that it will impair the supervisors judgment, particularly if they are evaluating the student and therefore have some input into their practicum grade, and (2) the risk to the student of exploitation (Bernard and Goodyear, 1998). Therefore, any form of dual relationship should be strictly avoided. Practicum students should be given

Supportive Functions in Supervision


a significant amount of information on boundary issues in a professional setting and what procedures they should follow in reporting incidents in which they are being sexually harassed. Undoubtedly, unlike therapy relationships, persons who work together will share other experiences. Supervisors and students often become close through formal and informal contacts. In an agency or school, it sometimes happens that someone under supervision is someone with a personal style that allows the supervisor to be more candid than he or she is with other professional peers. Some of these relationships are very gratifying and provide much support for both the student and supervisor, particularly in times of stress. Therefore, efforts should be made to differentiate between dual relationships that abuse power or exploit or harm students and those that occur within the positive context of a maturing professional relationship.

Dealing with Conflict in Supervision

An important point to remember is the fact that in any relationship, whether personal or professional, conflict inevitably will occur between or among the parties. Conflict can stem from opposing goals the two parties might entertain or extreme differences in personality characteristics. Often, however, it stems from a mistake that one party has made. The manner in which the parties resolve or fail to resolve the conflict will dictate whether the relationship continues to grow and develop, or to stagnate and possibly terminate. The relationship between a supervisor and student supervisee is not unique in this regard. Supervisor-


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

supervisee conflicts can arise from many sources, some more problematic than others. Normative conflict generally arises from the processes of any two people who interact over time. Inevitably there will be times in any relationship when the parties will feel angry, hurt, surprised, and/or disappointed with one another. To resolve those conflicts and impasses is healthy and strengthens the relationship. Another normative factor in supervisor-student or supervisee conflict concerns the students developmental level. In particular, tension and dissatisfaction with supervision may be at its greatest with the more advanced student. Like any adolescent, supervisees/students at this level vascillate between feelings of confidence and insecurity, as the student may have actively assimilated information from many sources but still has not had enough time to accommodate and find his or her own way of behaving professionally. This is not, in itself, a matter for concern, particularly if the supervisor is able to understand and anticipate this particular developmental phenomenon. But conflicts can also arise for more problematic reasons. For example, the conflict may arise from a student/supervisee transference, or from a supervisor transference. Or conflict might also arise from a personality conflict between student and supervisor that might be difficult to resolve. Role ambiguity might occur when the student is uncertain about role expectations the supervisor and/or agency has for him or her. Oftentimes more advanced students are placed in more advanced roles within agencies in which they are

Supportive Functions in Supervision


expected to perform as seasoned practitioners rather than students. This places the student in an unfair position in which their learning needs are considered secondary to the personnel needs of the agency. When conflict occurs in supervision, it is important for the supervisor to take the initiative to establish a procedure for resolving the conflict as soon as possible. Appropriate problem solving skills should be utilized within the framework of a positive supervisor-student relationship based on open communication and trust. The student should be willing to openly discuss his or her concerns with the supervisor and both should work together to reach a satisfactory, mutually agreed upon solution. Therefore, a positive problem solving process will help the student to learn an appropriate method of dealing with conflict that can be applied to other professional settings. Should conflicts occur as a result of a power differential in which the supervisor exercises inappropriate power over the student, this can be very destructive to the supervisory relationship by violating mutual trust and respect. In such instances, it might be necessary for a third party to intervene and assess the situation, with the ultimate goal of preserving the relationship and placement, if possible.

Prolonged job related stress can ultimately lead to professional burnout and/or compassion fatigue in many helping professions. It is important for social workers to recognize the symptoms of extreme stress


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

and develop strategies for dealing with them immediately. In the social work practicum, students have an opportunity to learn effective coping mechanisms for dealing with stressors in the workplace by observing the modeling of positive coping skills by their supervisor. The positive supervisory relationship also provides an opportunity to discuss other problematic issues relating to the practicum. However significant boundary violations can also occur, particularly in relation to intimate, therapeutic, and social relationships that might develop between supervisor and student. Conflict inevitably occurs in all relationships, and normative conflict is to be expected in the supervisorsupervisee/student relationship as well. Understanding the basis for the conflict, and taking immediate steps to resolve it, are important tasks for both the supervisor and student as they make efforts to engage in effective problem solving skills that focus on preserving both the supervisory relationship and practicum placement as well.

Baird, B.N. (1996). The Internship, Practicum, and Field Placement Handbook. Saddle River, NJ: Simon & Schuster. Bernard, J.M. & Goodyear, R.K. (1998). Fundamentals of Clinical Supervision (2 nd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Supportive Functions in Supervision


Figley, C. R. (Ed.) (1995). Compassion Fatigue: Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorders from Treating the Traumatized. New York: Brunner/Mazel. Greenberg, J.S. (1999). Comprehensive Stress Management (6TH ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill. Kadushin, A. (1985). Supervision in Social Work. (2nd ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. Radey, M., & Figley, C.R. (2007). The social psychology of compassion, Clinical Social Work Journal, 35: 207214.

12 Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode

*Manju Kumar

You are by now aware that social workers deal with some of the most vulnerable people in our society and at times of greatest stress. There can be of tragic consequences if things go wrong. Social workers need to be properly equipped for such challenging tasks. By the very nature of social work education system established over time and acknowledged globally, students will have to undertake much of their learning in practice settings and demonstrate their competence in practice. It is one of the few courses which are completed primarily within a workplace or field setting. Field instruction therefore can be a very complex and demanding endeavor. Field education for the social work programs provides experiential educational opportunities directed toward the development of professional identity, selfunderstanding and competent practice. (Field
* Manju Kumar, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar College, Delhi University, Delhi.

Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode


Education Dalhousie University, Canada 2005). One of the primary functions of social work education is to help students get professionally socialized in social work values, ethics and skills while integrating with these a multitude of concepts drawn from multiple disciplines and learnt through course work. One serious reservation about offering social work education through distance / open learning has been the perceived need for face-to-face interaction with teachers to acquire professional socialization. While knowledge content is imparted through print and electronic media supplemented by direct contact with tutors at the study centres, the major burden of ensuring professional socialization of students in social work course through the distance learning mode falls on supervised field based instruction. Field education or the practicum experience is at the core of Social Work Education. It is viewed as the most significant contributor to the development of professional expertise. It engages the student in supervised social work practice and provides opportunities to apply theoretical learning in the field setting.

Supervision in the ODL Mode: By Faculty and / or Professional Social Worker at the Placement
Traditionally, students are placed in the field settings by the educational institutions and faculty performs the twin role of teaching academic courses and supervising field work. The professional social workers employed at the placement agency provide additional supervisory inputs at the field level. Sometimes, in open


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

community settings, faculty member is the sole supervisor and guide. Under the field practicum design in social work education through distance learning, the students do get field instruction by a person professionally qualified. However, this person may or may not be their course teacher. The nature, content and strategies of field work supervision, therefore, vary from the traditional model. The field instructor, the students primary field learning resource, is sometimes also the placement agencys representative to the educational program. Besides, the field instructor may not be the course teacher but one who is a teacher in conventional system of social work education. This situation requires a high degree of conceptual clarity in the performance of the supervisory functions in Field Instruction in the DL mode. You have become familiar with various functions performed by field instructors. The field instructors under the DL mode perform all those functions but requiring higher sensitivity to the levels and backgrounds of students. The medium of field work supervision is not only the traditionally used individual and / or group conference but also electronic media like emails, teleconferencing, telephonic consultation etc. Course teacher as supervisor of field practicum In many instances, the person entrusted with the responsibility of teaching one or more subject of the syllabus also takes up the task of providing field instruction. The supervisor guides the students allocated to her / him for a designated period, generally

Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode


for one year. Supervisory tasks start from selecting placements for respective students, keeping in mind the educational objectives of field work, students level and background; and mission, goals and programmes of potential placement agencies. Supervisors prepare and orient the students about what is expected of them, and what situations they are likely to encounter during field work. The field practicum supervisor then assigns tasks, holds individual and group conferences to discuss and review students performance and field experiences. S/he provides feedback and necessary guidance to help students acquire professional learning. The supervisor maintains liaison with the social work professional at the agency. The supervisor is responsible for maintaining discipline among the supervisees and finally undertakes appraisal of students learning. The evaluation is generally a mix of appraisal by internal (the field instructor) and external experts. Giving detailed orientation to the agency set up, assignment of daily tasks and on site guidance and supervision are the responsibilities of the professional social worker employed in the placement agency. Even in case of the supervisor being other than the course teacher (someone teaching in the conventional system, or a social work graduate working in a social sector / human service organisation) the tasks outlined above hold good. In the case of one working in a social sector / human service organisation, the supervisor has an added responsibility of clearly spelling out the educational goals of field learning, and helping students integrate their theoretical learning with field practice by highlighting application of theoretical concepts in actual practice.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Placement based supervision This is a situation where the professionally qualified social worker employed in the placement agency alone is responsible for students field instruction. The field practicum instructor has to perform both the roles represent the placement agency, help students integrate theory with practice, and help achieve educational objectives of field practicum. Examination of the workplace as a learning environment reveals it is far from ideal and poses unique challenges to the practicum supervisor, especially when that role is assumed by a workplace supervisor. Specific interests of student and employee may not coincide, and the interests of both diverge from those of organizations. (Chris Hughes, 1998) Another challenge faced by the field practicum supervisor based at the placement is in the context of a student who may be working in the same agency but in a role not strictly that of a professional social worker. In fact that may be the very reason why that student has joined the course. The supervisor has to differentiate the assignments expected as part of field practicum from the tasks currently performed by the student so that the latter is able to acquire professional learning and identity. Many of the professionals taking up the responsibility of supervising field practicum have had long experience in the field. While supervising field practicum of budding professionals, they need to demonstrate to the students a balanced view of the importance of academic grounding and practice wisdom.

Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode


Strategies of supervision Supervision, an integrated part of social work education, is a complex process. Numerous models, theories and approaches have been formulated to ensure effective supervisory inputs. Supervision of students is generally a mix of more than one style, approach, model or strategy. Keeping in mind the diversity of any one group of students enrolled in the course through DL mode, it is even more important to apply a mix of approaches to suit the needs and levels of the students. Given below are some of the strategies which supervisors employ to achieve their goal of providing professional learning to students of social work:

Managing early stages of field practicum and setting the tone of open dialogue and purposeful action. According to developmental models of supervision, the supervisee proceeds through a series of developmental stages and tasks. The goal of supervision is for the supervisor to guide the supervisee through these stages. It attends to the developmental shifts occurring in the supervisory process and provides input as a function of the skill level, developmental level and maturational level of the supervisee. While supervisory strategy based on developmental model is best suited at the beginning of the field practicum or during the first year of the course, reflective approach is favoured more for a relatively more advanced student. Three different orientations are important for supervision. Supervisor can focus on the client, the


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

methods or the process of the work. Often the supervisor changes between these focuses within one meeting. There is also a development from client- to method- and later on to more processoriented supervision. This is reflected in the IGNOU Model for BSW course in the context of three years field practicum design.

Supervision, though a process, occurs within a structure. Specific individual and group sessions for providing supervisory inputs are formally prescribed. For these sessions, the students are expected to come prepared with their observations and queries. Supervisors are expected to provide students meaningful feedback-both oral and written about students learning and performance. Supervision goes on continuously and is organized with regular meetings over a period of time. As mentioned above, supervisor can be internal (course teacher) or external (Professional social worker employed at the placement agency). Many times the two different kinds of supervision are coexisting. Professional social work supervision is a process which facilitates critical reflection upon actions, processes, persons, and the context of social work practice. This process takes place within a professional relationship between a social work supervisor and supervisee(s). The strategy of supervision is to nurture this relationship. Individual Supervision, Peer Supervision, Group Supervision all the three styles are utilized in the supervision of students.

Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode


Supervision refers to a range of strategies, including: preceptorship, mentorship, and coaching. Placement decision-making, orienting, motivating, encouraging task performance, addressing problems are some other strategies which supervisors use to fulfill their responsibilities effectively. Cyber supervision is an upcoming strategy, especially in the case of distance learning. Chatting online with the supervisor in real time not only helps getting guidance, the student also is able to retain record of the supervisory inputs. Supervision involves use of both informative and problem-solving approaches. Supervision can be reactive or pro-active or both. Reactive supervision is triggered by a significant event, problem or concern. Proactive strategy seeks to avoid major supervisory challenges through planning, communicating and being involved. Students response to supervision passes through four stages, namely dependence; pseudodependence; interdependence; independence (Jake J. Protivnak, 2003). Supervisors have to adapt their styles and strategies accordingly.

As mentioned above, supervisors need to adapt their approach and interventions according to the need, level and background of the students; educational objectives of field instruction; and goals of the placement agencies.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Tools of Supervision Supervisors make use of a number of tools in the supervisory process. While most of these are also utilized by the supervisors in the traditional system of social work education, some hold higher primacy for those in the Distance Learning system.

Structure of field practicum and supervision define clearly the objectives, nature, role, and expectations of field learning and supervision. In this context, Field Practicum Journal for students and Guide for supervisors prove major supervisory tools. Supervisor-supervisee relationship is a most vital tool in the hands of the supervisor. As students learn theoretical contents primarily through selfstudy materials, this tool is most critical to students acquiring professional socialization. Feedback both formal and informal is an important tool for the supervisor. Written comments on students field records in the Field Journal of the students are a constant source of guidance. Other forms of feedback, such as self-assessment by the students and / or peer review are also used by supervisors. Educational assessment is an important tool for supervision. It is an on-going process and helps students understand whether or not his/her supervisor is happy with his her performance. This monitoring and reviewing of the work and learning occur periodically so that both supervisor and

Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode


supervisee are clear as to the students strengths and areas that need improvement.

Summative evaluation at mid term and at the end of the term is the culmination of the ongoing assessment process. Term-end appraisal places the students learning within the parameters of achievement of minimum standards of field learning; allowing the student to move upward on the ladder of the course. Communication is basic to the entire process of supervision. Active listening and open channels of communication are basic tools of supervision. Observation of the students at the placement and in the supervisory conferences act as additional resource for the supervisors assessment of the students. Structured individual and group conferences are acknowledged as the most important tools of supervision. On account of this, the IGNOU model ensures a minimum number of these conferences. Process records of students work at the placement are one of the most valuable tools of supervision. These records provide focus and direction for supervisory inputs. Case records or case studies are very useful tools for generating reflective discussions in individual and group conferences. Review is a powerful self evaluation tool. SelfReports, however, are only as good as the observational and conceptual abilities of the supervisee. It is the seasoned insightfulness of the


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

supervisor that offers many opportunities for utilizing these as supervision tool.

Video, Audiotape and live observation are tools often utilized by the supervisors. There are, however, ethical dimensions to recording students work with the clients. Reflective questioning in the supervisory conferences act as a supervisory tool, especially in the case of more mature and advanced student. Demonstration, role playing and role modeling are some other tools in the hands of a creative supervisor. Role Playing is ideal for practicing skills. Role Modeling is learning by watching an expert perform the task to be learned. Demonstration is a presentation by an expert that displays and explains a procedure, followed by opportunities to discuss and practice the skills. Supervisors employed in the placement agency can use shadowing in the early phases of learning or in case of continued difficulty in students performance. Effective and constructive criticism can be used as a tool to promote growth. It is preferable that the focus of the criticism is on the work and not on the individual involved. Praise for the achievements is an important tool for nurturing the relationship an building students self-confidence. Student-initiated e-mails act as a supplemental modality for supervision. Videoconferencing can be

Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode


a tool both in individual and group supervision, though the issue of confidentiality has to be kept in mind.

The supervisor draws upon his /her own professionally disciplined self, i.e. an integrated whole of professional knowledge, skills and the attitudes acquired overtime. Supervision is a process parallel to that of social work practice. The only difference is that the students are not treated as clients requiring therapeutic interventions. Self-disclosure by the supervisor.

Functions of the Supervisor: Educational, Administrative, Helping

You are already familiar with the three categories of functions performed by field instructors or field work supervisors, namely, educational, administrative and helping / supportive functions. Design of Field Practicum in Social Work Courses offered by IGNOU through distance learning provides for elaborate process of Field Instruction both structured and informal. Following is a brief exposition of various functions expected of supervisors under this model. You will do well to refer to the illustration of field practicum organized for BSW course students given in the previous block of this book. a) Educational Functions 1) Designing and planning of learning activities and/or programmes of study.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

2) Giving theoretical content, whenever the classroom teaching is not in tune with field work needs Whether or not the field instructor is a course teacher, the supervisor is frequently required to give theoretical information or give appropriate reference for locating necessary information. It is particularly crucial in the DL mode because acquiring the knowledge component of the course is based on self-study by the students. 3) Identifying professional skills in daily field work assignments. 4) Professional socialization teaching students to apply values and principles while using social work methods. 5) Giving knowledge of micro-macro linkages, legal provisions, govt. schemes, information about community resources. As the students grow confident and more settled to meet field practicum demands, the supervisor refers them to relevant sources to procure information instead of giving it. 6) Teaching the use of tools and techniques of social work practice. 7) Demonstrating use of methods and skills through lab work or at the placement itself. 8) Teaching record-writing , documentation work 9) Provide frequent and accurate feedback.

Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode


10) Facilitate reflection and critical thinking through well planned and structured supervisory sessions. 11) Dealing with ethical dilemmas in field work decision-making. 12) Working with co-workers and utilizing supervision, accepting and utilizing feedback. 13) Teaching NGO / GO management including maintaining records, working on committees, budgeting, project proposal formulation, interagency coordination etc. 14) Guidance on research exercise catching students to take up any research-based assignment teaching students about research methodology, i.e. data collection, data analysis and reporting. 15) Innovative projects to help individuals / groups / families / communities - introducing by direct instruction or encouraging students to take initiative themselves. b) Administrative Functions Besides the above-mentioned responsibilities, supervisors are expected to perform certain administrative or managerial tasks which are very important for smooth and efficient operationalisation of the design of field practicum, which in turn makes students professional learning possible. Following are some of the administrative tasks of field practicum supervisors:


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

1) Selection of agencies for field placements 2) Placements of students- different phases in placement: screening, minimum orientation, goal setting, actual placement, and evaluation and closure. (St. John David, 1975). 3) Giving orientation about field practicum and expectations from students, explaining the use of the Field Journal. Rather than fix the mistakes, better to tell the dos and donts before hand. Preparing students for their first professional roles is no small task. It requires giving detailed attention to innumerable contingencies. 4) Keeping attendance of students, ensuring submission of records and maintaining log of students work. 5) Maintaining students discipline in placements. 6) Planning and holding of supervisory conferences, giving prior intimation to the supervisees so that they can make necessary arrangements for attending the same. This is all the more relevant in distance learning programmes. 7) As different from an on-going educational assessment, supervisors have to formally evaluate students performance and level of learning in terms of professional skills, knowledge and attitudes. 8) Maintaining liaison with placement agencies /

Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode


agency supervisors. Maintaining good public relations with agencies and network of human service agencies, agencies in the social and corporate sector is very important. This task requires placement-based supervisor to make extra efforts to rise above agency bound loyalties and perceive PR exercise a part of supervisory work. 9) Visiting field placements, coordination with course tutors. 10) Arranging of orientation / observation visits of different organizations as directed by field practicum objectives. 11) Resolution of Field work related problems. 12) Achieving alignment of field based learning objectives with placement agencys goals, and practice modalities. 13) Serving on Governing Boards of relevant organizations. 14) Supervisors have to be vicariously responsible for what their students are doing in the field. Irrespective of the educative value of allowing students to learn by doing, often by trial and error, supervisors have to ensure that this manner of learning does not aggravate the problems of the client groups. Supervisors have, therefore, to be cautious and to critically assess students work.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision


Helping Functions

During field practice, the student will be facing real social problems and will discover both the impact of these experiences and the requirements of interaction with the people with whom they have to co-operate. Field practice awakens a range of feelings in the student, including insecurity in the role. Students struggle with confusion and self-doubt as they attempt to develop self-efficacy as a professional. The learning process in social work involves a reappraisal of own attitudes and values. In this process, the student needs the support of a supervisor. It is not enough to oversee students work and teach them the use of social work methods. The students are expected to develop the professional self which means that their self is the main tool for offering professional interventions. Social Work education aims at bridging the gap between the personal self and the professional self of the students. Reassurance of worth and social integration support from supervisors go a long way towards providing students an anchor which they can hold onto in times of emotional turmoil, anxiety, stress and self-doubt. Supervisory activities with this focus are designated as helping functions. Following are some of the helping functions of field practicum supervisors: 1) Creating an open supervisory environment, 2) Providing encouragement, 3) Attending to students personal growth, 4) Building confidence,

Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode


5) Helping students develop self-awareness; understanding of personal vs. professional self, 6) Settling down in placements, with agency staff, coworkers, 7) Accepting demands of social work course, 8) Dealing with personal / family problems having impact on field practicum performance, 9) Keeping track of field assignments triggering personal unfinished agenda, and similarity in problems of clients and self or family, 11) Referral to counselors for in-depth personal counseling and to other agencies for addressing family and personal problems, 11) Career counseling, 12) Help students get balance between course demands and life outside it job (for those working), family, friends, other interests or courses etc., 13) Helping students with their struggle with confusion and self-doubt as they attempt to develop selfefficacy as a professional. Supervisors help students identify their strengths and trace professional dimensions of the assignments which may seem routine or unimportant. 14) Supervision should certainly become more relaxed and more supportive as time goes on. 15) Creating a bond and communicating before applying supervisory controls is very essential.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

16) Professional learning is carried out within the context of the student/field instructor relationship. The field instructor/student relationship is the primary mechanism through which students develops a professionally reflective and selfevaluative practice stance. Helping dimension of field instructors function helps nurture and strengthens this relationship. 17) A non-threatening environment of the relationship will help students accept constructing criticism and encourage them to change. 18) We have mentioned earlier that mentoring is one of the most highly recommended supervisory strategies. The word mentor infers caring, setting wise example, coaching and identifying mistakes without causing resentment.

Roles of the Supervisor

Roles are a set of behaviours that the field practicum supervisors engage in to fulfill their various obligations. Some of the supervisory roles conceptualized by the experts are that of a (a) teacher, (b) enabler, (c) facilitator, (d) guide, (e) consultant, (f) counsellor (but the student is not a client), (g) co-coordinator, (h) an advocate to act on behalf of students needs and problems, (i) mediator between agency supervisor and the student, or students and other staff members, (j) confidante. Besides the roles of a mentor and coach (with an emphasis or role modeling), an advisor, appraiser and referral agent are getting increasing mention in social work education literature.

Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode


Qualities of a Supervisor
The discussion of various functions and roles that a field instructor performs leads one to perceive a person with a certain set of qualities and traits of personality. Skills of professional social work practice are also relevant. Supervision, as mentioned earlier, is a process parallel to that of social work practice. Professional values and principles are equally relevant. Ethical concerns are as much crucial in supervision as they are in the practice with clients. All these expectations get in clearer relief in the context of field practicum for students enrolled in distance learning course of social work. The supervisor has to adapt and respond to highly diverse student population. As stated elsewhere, the students may belong to those social groups who themselves face discrimination, biases and stereotyping in society. Socio-economic and cultural differences between the supervisors and students require concerted effort on the part of the former. Supervisors own perceptions with regard to gender, region, caste and class may need to be understood and dealt with. Despite the fact that supervisory process has a parallel in professional practice, every good social work practitioner may not prove to be a good field practicum supervisor. Ability to apply all the skills, values and knowledge of the profession and still managing to view the students not as clients but budding autonomous professionals requires unique set of capabilities and sensitivity. Various research studies on which kind of supervisors are rated highly by the students state that the supervisors with the following qualities are considered


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

by the students as being supportive of their professional learning: empathetic, caring, open-minded, fair and just, unbiased, tolerant of differences and accepting of the pace of learning of respective students (starting where the person is and moving at the pace of the individual), firm but flexible; knowledgeable of the field and having strong interpersonal and communication skills, rational and critically reflective, is secure in his / her position as a supervisor, believes in lifelong learning and professional development, is culturally sensitive and has a strong sense of professional identity. The supervisor is expected to have leadership qualities which reflect judicious use of power inherent in the supervisory process.

Supervising Field Practicum: Some Important Issues

After having discussed the functions and qualities of a good supervisor, we are now looking up the issues which are relevant for fully comprehending the phenomenon of supervision of field practicum in the DL mode. Some of the issues we have already touched upon and some are self-explanatory like, cultural gap between the supervisor and students, especially in DL mode, issues of gender supervising students of the opposite sex, disparity in age (student may be much more mature in age than the supervisor) and use of technology. There are interpersonal dimensions of first three of these issues and in others, i.e. use of technology, there is a concern for confidentiality. Also tools of online supervision presume access and proficiency in relevant technology that may or may not be the case. In some of the remote areas, which are marked by very limited

Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode


educational facilities, access to advanced technology is still a distant dream. Some other issues are being discussed further:

Tra ining of sup erviso rs: We have already mentioned that being a good social work practitioner is not sufficient to becoming a good field instructor. Keeping in mind the need of training and orienting the supervisors, the IGNOU Model provides for Orientation (beginning of the term), face-to-face interaction with the Director at the University level, teleconferencing arranged periodically and Guide for Supervisors. Field practitioner vs. academician: Supervisors with academic or with practice orientation are likely to have different impact on students professional learning. Those who are employed in human service agencies and take up field instructors responsibility have to make an extra effort to refresh their theoretical base. On the other hand, course teachers taking up supervisors role have to update their practice orientation. Students have to face field realities, which are far from ideal. Supervisors have to be tuned both to academics and practice realities. Students are placed under different supervisor in successive years of their course. They may find it difficult to adapt to different styles and orientation of respective supervisors. The subjective element in the supervisory process may appear less acceptable to the students who are not familiar with this trend in social work education. Supervisors


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

have to make special effort to allow students to get used to the idea and learn to benefit from this system. Professional learning in social work, after all, involves interacting and relating to different persons. In case a particular student responds negatively to the style of a successive supervisor, the onus is on the supervisor to help student get the maximum benefit from his approach and style.

Role conflict: This is by far the most crucial aspect of supervision related dilemmashow to maintain a healthy balance among administrative, helping and educational functions. Most social work supervisors .. experience some form of role conflict in which they have to balance their differing responsibilities, multiple accountabilities and a range of relationships, when practicing in the supervisory role (ODonoghue, 2000).

Some authors offer mentoring as the most effective supervision strategy. They suggest that this approach to supervision overcomes some of the problematic, hierarchical aspects embedded in supervision. (Manathunga, 2007). The play of power embedded in the supervisor-supervisee relationship is in sharp contrasts with the pre-requisites of a helping role. The appraisal function places supervisors in a position of authority which has implications for the very movement of students on the ladder of educational achievement. Vicarious liability of supervisors for what students do in the field may lead to restricted autonomy accorded to the students.

Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode


Sequential nature of educational objectives of field practicum makes a certain pace of learning mandatory. Despite the flexibility of distance learning mode, practical considerations of agency functioning place certain pressure on students to comply with the demands of practicum schedule. Achieving role clarity is very important so as to minimize frustration among supervisors and bewilderment among students. Spelling out expectations from students and different roles of the supervisors, at the very beginning of the relationship and then periodically throughout the process may help in reducing adverse effect of this conflict in roles.

We have traced, in this chapter, different facets of supervision of field practicum as it relates to social work education offered through distance learning. Supervision is a process which parallels that of social work practice. As such, it requires supervisor to establish a positive relationship with the student, adopt strategies, styles and approaches appropriate to the students levels, learning styles, needs and educational goals of field practicum. No single strategy or approach is likely to suit all learning needs and all students. A judicious mix of different strategies will be more useful. A number of tools are available to supervisors so that they can perform their responsibilities effectively. Structured supervision, individual and group conferences, process records, case records, on-site observations and regular and constructive feedback are the primary tools which are used within the context of


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

supervisor-supervisee relationship. Supervisors perform three-pronged functions, namely administrative, i.e. operational and discipline related functions; educational, i.e. related to professional learning constituted of knowledge, skills and values; and the helping functions that deal with student as a person and are concerned with his personal growth. You have also considered as to what kind of person a supervisor has to be to be able to perform such diverse and demanding tasks. And finally, we reflected on certain issues which are inherent in the supervisory process cultural and perceptual disparity between student and supervisor; getting training to perform supervisory role and to deal with role conflict that is again inevitable component of the complex process of supervision. Field learning gives students opportunity to integrate theory with practice. Supervisors also have to maintain a balance between theoretical grounding and practice orientation.

Knight, Carolyn, The Process of Field Instruction: BSW and MSW Students Views of Effective Field Supervision, Journal of Social Work Education, v37 n2 p357-79 SprSum 2001 Worthen, Vaughn E. & Dougher M. Kirk, Evaluating Effective Supervision, Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Psychological Association, Aug.4-8, 2000, Washington DC (ERIC),

Field Practicum Supervision in Distance Learning Mode


Smith, Marshall L., Toward a Guide to Distance Education in Social Work, The New Social Worker Online December, 2007, 13:31, http:// Stofle, Gary S. & Hamilton, Shavone, Online Supervision for Social Workers, The New Social Worker, Fall 1998, Vol. 5, No. 4 Coursol, Diane, Cybersupervision: Conducting supervision on the Information Highway, in CyberBytes: Highlighting Compelling Use of Technology in Counselling, Education Resource Information Centre, USA Department of Education (ERIC) 2004 Field, Harriet, Developmentally Appropriate Practicum Supervision: Perceptions of students and Supervisors , Paper presented at Annual meeting of the Association of Childhood Education International, San Diego, CA April 3-6, 2002 (ERIC) Manathunga, Catherine, Supervision as Mentoring: The Role of Power and Boundary Crossing, Studies in Continuing Education, v29 n2 p207-221 Jul 2007 Hughes, Chris, Practicum Learning: Perils of the Authentic Workplace, Higher Education Research and Development, v17 n2 p207-27 Jun 1998 Field Education, Dalhousie University Canada, 2005 Protivnak, Jake J., Supervision Modalities Developmentally Appropriate for School Counselors 2003 (Abstract Cited by ERIC)


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David, St. John, Goal-Directed Supervision of Social Work Students in Field Placement, Journal of Education for Social Work, 11, 3, 89-94, F 75 ODonoghue, Kieran, The Future of Social Work Supervision within Aotearoa / New Zealand, A paper presented At the National Supervision Conference Supervision: From Rhetoric to Reality, July 7, 2000, Auckland. volksware/supervisionfuture.htm Dowling, Susann, Supervision: Strategies for Successful Outcomes and Productivity, (Abstarct) Allyn & Bacon, 2001, product/0,1144,0205315070,00.html Supervision Strategies (Flinders University, Australia) postgrad/strategies.php?printview=1 Teaching Role and Effective Supervision: Training Module, Department of Social Work MSW Online Field Supervisor Training, University of Minnesota, http:// www .d.u mn.e du/s w/field/o nlin efie ldsu ptra in/ Field.htm

13 Individuals, Family and Community

*K. Hemlata, Sushma Murthy

Fieldwork Practicum forms an important component of social work course as it provides an opportunity for the student to practice social work skills. The student gets an exposure to the problems and needs prevailing in each setting and the training equips him/her to handle those problems with necessary skills. Here we present the guidelines for fieldwork in different settings.

Fieldwork Practive with Individuals

Professional education depends upon the applicability of its skills, methods and strategies in the field. The concurrent fieldwork component of social work education provides an opportunity to all students to practice their learning in the classroom. The students develop the capacities and abilities to work with Individuals, groups and communities usually under the supervision of their faculty members. Through first hand observation and participation the students are
* Dr. Hemlata, Christ College, Bangalore and Sushma Murthy, Christ College, Bangalore


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

able to imbibe the nuances of actual practice. This facilitates students to perceive the relationship between theoretical parts of social work with the practice in the field settings. Objectives of Fieldwork

To offer purposeful learning experience to students through interaction with life situation under supervisory guidance for professional growth in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes. To foster attitudes in the student towards professional self-development and increasing selfawareness. To help students develop skills in the practice all the methods of social work To integrate the class room learning with field practice To develop skills in problem solving.

Fieldwork should provide effective learning experience to the students. The fieldwork objectives are realized when the field placement fulfills certain criteria of experiential learning, such as:

The learning experience during fieldwork must give the student the opportunity to perform the kind of behaviour implied by the fieldwork objectives. Students should have opportunities to deal with the kind of content implied by the objectives. The field experience should be within the capacities of the students whether in dealing with individual

Individuals, Family and Community


clients or while working with the communities.

The learnings from the field should be built on the past experience of the students. Each semester the students should have incremental exposure in terms of the techniques and skills used. Field experience should help students to have a better perception of himself and his career. Field experience helps the students to perceive all the necessary aspects of accomplishing the learning task and to bring the parts into a satisfactory whole. Through our field placement the students learning must be monitored and regular feedback makes learning effective.

Fieldwork with Individuals Social casework is understood as an approach to help individual in a systematic manner based on knowledge of human behaviour and various tested approaches. Helen Harris Perlman (1957) tries to understand this process of working with individuals in terms of a person with a problem, who comes to an agency where the help he seeks is rendered. She was thus able to delineate the four basic components of social casework, viz., person, problem, place and process. Field experience related to helping individuals would primarily involve placing the student in the place which is an agency where he learns the entire process of working with the individual. The problem that is presented by the person is tackled through a process, which is a progressive transaction


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

between the professional and the client. This consists of the problem solving activities carried out within the relationship that is forged between the social worker and the client. Students undergoing training in casework have to be provided this experiential learning so that the student while interacting with real person/client imbibes the process of problem solving. Bowers (1949) defines casework as an art in which knowledge of the science of human relations and the skills in relationship are used to mobilize capacities in the individual and the resources in the community appropriate for better adjustment between the client and all or part of his environment. This view clearly establishes the requirement in terms of field experiences for students learning casework practice. It becomes a basic necessity to prepare the student with sound theoretical inputs before placing him in the field. This can enable the students to be prepared to carry out casework with clients in actual problem situations. Learning goals for field practice with individuals 1) To provide the student with experiences in using case work concepts, components, principles and techniques 2) To enable the student to develop his concept of professional self and its differential use 3) To facilitate the experience of going through the entire process of social case work viz Intake process, Diagnosis of the problem, treatment plan,

Individuals, Family and Community


implementation and evaluation and follow up. 4) To help the student to acquaint himself with the method of reporting and record the process followed by the student. This involves the development of the proper format to record Intake summaries with personal details, family details, issues related to referral and the presenting problem. The student learns the appropriate use of the features such as the Genogram and Ecomap. The student has to develop formats to record the sessions as well as summary recordings. Students should learn the scope and the variations in casework practice in different settings. Before beginning field practice the students need adequate grounding in the theory of casework practice. The concerned faculty has to reorient the students with the concepts, process and techniques before intake of clients. Individual and group conferences help in the minute planning of each session by the student. Choice of Cases/Clients It is usually the practice that the agency personnel themselves allot cases to students if the student is required to select the cases themselves; the guidance of the faculty supervisor becomes essential. Preliminary Session This session is generally used to finish the Intake Process. Most schools provide comprehensive formats to gather all the information required. The student at this stage learns to build professional relationship with


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

client. Rapport building skills should be used effectively during the stage. The student is exposed to the formalities of conducting interviews. The students collect all the information and review it with the agency staff for a proper interpretation of the clients situation. The student has to understand the socio-economic milieu of the client. The cultural background of the client will help the student to comprehend the actualities of the case. Many times a psychological assessment of the client may be required for the completion of the first phase of casework practice. Students have to learn to diagrammatically present the facts of the case. The genogram as well as the Ecomap form part of the intake summary to help the student to understand the situational concomitants of the case. Besides interviewing the client the Initial sessions should involve collateral interviews with members of the immediate family, neighbors and other significant members relevant to the case. A few sessions could be planned to interview them and solicit their observations and suggestions about the case. Diagnosis The student has to discuss the details of the case with agency personnel as well as the faculty supervisor to understand all the facts of the case. The subtlety and sensitivity of assessing the case has to be developed by the student. Proper diagnosis is at the heart of the casework practice. Fieldwork should help in understanding the variations in seemingly similar situations and learn not to view situations as stereotypes.

Individuals, Family and Community


Fieldwork practice should facilitate the students to make an etiological diagnosis. This provides the student the opportunity to focus completely on the problem. The students understand the features of the problem such as the duration, consistency and its strength, the impact of these features on the person and his present social functioning and the resulting inappropriate behaviours and relationship patterns should be assessed by the student. Further the student has to be taught to make the dynamic diagnosis. This provides a cross sectional view of the forces currently operating in the clients problems. This process helps in establishing what the trouble is. The role-played by the psychological, social, environmental and in certain cases biological factors in the development of the problem is to be understood. This should help the student to interpret the facts. He should be in a position to judge the validity and feasibility of various solutions and make predictions about operationalising the intervention planned. The student should understand the flexibility that initial diagnosis gives as this tentative diagnosis could be subject to modification and the treatment process could get crystallized with the progress of case work practice. Treatment Phase Students go to the field with the knowledge that treatments goals generally fall in four categories curative, rehabilitative, preventive and promotional. The students generally are advised to administer concrete services. He may have to modify the environment, both social and physical, which are precipitating the clients


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

situation. The student has to strengthen the clients capacities, work towards modifying existing attitudes, beliefs and values. The focus can also be the emotional well being of the client also. The student has to discuss the issues with the experts and supervisors before finalizing the treatment plan. Student has to facilitate the process of helping the clients to reach decisions. During the conferences with the student the faculty member has to help him to sharpen some of the skills to be used. Cognitive skill, interactive skill and assessment skill play an important role in the initial phases. Problem solving, decision making and climate setting skills will be employed in the latter stages of practice. Like wise the various techniques, which could be used Adaptive behaviour, advocacy or mobilization techniques have to be understood fully before practice. Evaluation After the intervention phase, the students have to terminate the case. Client follow up is essential to evaluate the casework intervention. This stage will prove very beneficial for the learner. Assessing the various skills, techniques and principles can help students to rectify their misconceptions Skills Requirements of Social Case Work Students have to learn certain specific skills during field placement. Different phases of the casework practise require different skills to complete the activities required.

Individuals, Family and Community


Skill in building relationships; this skill is vital as the entire process of case work is carried out through the professional relationship. This skill is developed through the practices of showing respect and expressing genuine interest in the client and his problem. The student also should be prepared to exhibit the correct professional attitude while building the professional relationship. Skill in exploring problems; this skill is related to probing for the correct details which help students to understand the problem in all its complexities As well as understanding development pattern of the problem. The students analytical skills have to be developed so that he is capable to make the right judgment to formulate the treatment phase. The role of the supervisor becomes vital here. Skills in locating and accessing resources; this requires the student to access the material as well as nonmaterial resources. These could belong to the agency as well as the clients family or from the environment. Skill in establishing the treatment alternatives; this is the skill in envisaging different approaches to solve the problem of the client. The student has to develop different courses of action with associated advantages and disadvantages and limitations. The students should have the appropriate communication skills to help the client to comprehend the different courses of action.

Field Work Practice with Families

Modern family social work is rooted in the early friendly visitor concept. Apart from working with individuals and


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

groups, the social workers also have to work with the families in problem. This is gaining a lot of importance as the families are going through a stage of transition while meeting the changing demands of the present day society. This in turn is leading to a lot of problems in raising children, relationship of married couple, balancing multiple roles and so on. The important objective of family social work is to help families learn to function more efficiently while meeting the developmental and emotional needs of all the members. Hence, as a part of field work practicum a social work trainee is exposed to families as one of the major areas of field work. A student social worker has to deal with the families in problem under the effective guidance of the supervisor. Following are the guidelines for a student to do his field work practicum with families.

Collecting and identifying information: This is the beginning phase where the trainee should collect the personal details of the client.

Assessing the clients needs: The trainee should understand the problems and needs of the client. This can be begun by obtaining as much information as possible on the client and his family. The trainee can achieve this by reading material about the specific problems from files, if available.

Individuals, Family and Community


Understanding the stages of family life cycle: It provides an opportunity to the student to understand the stage a family is going through and its related problems. This would help the student learn the strategies used to cope with these problems.

Home visit: The trainee needs to visit the clients house in order to understand the environmental factors contributing to the problem. This may be done in addition to holding the session in office. It is however advised to conduct the session in the clients house. This would also help to assess the relationships and communication pattern present among the members.

Learn to draw a Genogram and Ecomap: The student can gradually engage in activities such as drawing a genogram or an eco map as these activities will help the trainee to understand the problem from the perspective of familys interaction with its environment.

Building a relationship with the client: The trainee needs to use his skills of building a rapport and empathic understanding. The trainee needs to be non- judgmental and possess positive regard for the client and all his family members. This can be done under the close supervision of his guide.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Protecting confidentiality: Another skill to be used by the trainee is to maintain confidentiality by avoiding discussing about the client with others who are not related to the problem. The reports that are written should be kept highly confidential.

Developing attending skills: 1) Non-verbal attending skills like eye-contact and appropriate facial expressions should be maintained 2) Verbal attending skills include listening closely to what others are stating verbally and Paraverbally and non-verbally.

Developing interviewing skills: As the trainee gets to witness the superior doing the interview for the client and his family members, he/she needs to closely observe the process in order to develop skills in; 1) Listening. 2) Being sensitive about verbal and non- verbal communication about desires and goals from each family members. 3) Recognizing family difficulties related to effective problem solving. 4) Promoting skills, knowledge, attitudes and environmental conditions that contribute to effective family coping.

Individuals, Family and Community


Focusing on important issues in assessment interview: When the interview is being carried out by the therapist, the trainee has to focus on the following aspects. 1) Problem: This mainly includes aspects like why the intervention is needed, what is the extent of the problem and what is the history of the problem. 2) Internal functioning of the family: A fieldwork trainee needs to understand the strengths of the family in terms of internal resources, and internal support.

Problem identification: The trainee should develop the skills to identify the problem based on the information gathered about the family and its environment.

The task of goal setting: The trainee should learn the art of assisting families in goal setting. This again depends on self determination and desires of the family. The trainee should observe the therapist in facilitating the family to arrive at the desired destination.

Working through the problem: This is again learnt by observing the therapist as to how the techniques like relaxation techniques, assertive training are used on the family members.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Here, the field work trainee will be learning the application of theory he has studied into practice. The trainee should learn the skills to bring behavioural change through basic life skills.

Termination: The trainee should learn about terminating the process. It is done when the family is able to function on its own after developing effective coping mechanism to work through the problem.

Follow up: The student has to continue to follow up the case to ensure that the intervention has proved to be effective and the problem has not repeated.

Reporting: The fieldwork trainee should write the reports on daily basis where he has to record every detail of the session. He needs to evaluate the days work at the end of the report before adding his plan of action for the next session.

Field Work Practice with Communities

Working with communities refers to the various methods of intervention whereby a professional change agent helps a community system composed of individuals, groups or organizations to engage in planned collective action in order to deal with social problems within a democratic system of values. Community organization is the method of social work practice, which focuses on community intervention.

Individuals, Family and Community


This method follows a process which includes the understanding of needs of a community, facilitating interaction between the different parts of the whole community namely the institutions, leadership informal and formal as well as the geographical subdivisions. This process facilitates the maximum use of its internal and external resources, which at the same time strengthening its potential ability to undertake the solution of different complex and difficult problems. Lea rnin g go als of field wor k Pr actice w ith communities

To provide opportunities for the students to understand the features of communities Urban, rural, tribal. To imbibe the skills required for practice in open communities such as skills in interacting with people, conflict management, resource mobilization etc. Understanding the Unique needs of the different communities. Prioritizing the needs and assessing peoples strength. Understanding the importance of people participation in implementing the intervention planned.

Many schools of social work strongly adhere to the practice that all students have to be placed in open communities during the first year of studies before they move on to the various specializations. It becomes essential to first find out the feasibility of carrying out fieldwork in certain open settings. Physical


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

accessibility, availability of basic amenities to students, compatibility with reference to languages spoken, and familiarity with the local issues are necessary. Schools of social work usually undertake pilot visits before choosing a community for fieldwork placement. Induction into the community It is normal practice to encourage students to visit the local municipal office or the Panchayat office to collect information about the community. The information relating to population, households, occupation etc. are available in these offices. Besides these, a survey of the community is undertaken to collect information about the sex ratio, distribution of the population by caste and religion, family income, educational status etc. Needs assessment Community organization practice is based entirely on the assessment of the community vis--vis its felt needs. Student social workers have to develop the skills of interacting with people both at the formal and informal level and comprehend the outstanding felt needs of a community. Students have to be taught to formulate a simple baseline survey format to access all the vital information of the community. Meeting with local leaders, community heads, government officials and other functionaries to understand the needs of the community. Intervention Before planning intervention strategies, the student has to understand the extent of politicization of

Individuals, Family and Community


development processes in the community, anomalies that exist in the community. The student is likely to encounter apathy from certain section of the community. The basic tenet of community organization practice is to facilitate community integration and advocate self-help to the community. Broad cross section of people has to be involved in the determination and solving their own problems. Planning interventions therefore involves developing communication networks between different interest groups in the community. The student has to involve the members of the power structure as collaborators in the interventions/initiatives undertaken. Students have to be helped in every way to develop organizational skills. Problem solving and interactional skills help in arriving at solutions for reconciliable differences of different members. People participation in the implementation of all interventions planned is expected. The student had to depend on his interactional skills besides organizational skills to successfully negotiate this phase of community practice. The success of fieldwork practice depends largely on the fieldwork content that the school of social work provides to its students. Effective community practice for example depends on the students understanding of the legal framework besides administrative principles to effectively participate in the learning process. A sound knowledge of the resources available with in the community becomes essential. Enlisting the participation of different stakeholders and ensuring their support is always a challenge to students as well


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

as practitioners. Fieldwork therefore has to provide the opportunities to develop and practice these skills. The knowledge base for the student trainee will include a proper understanding of the concept of community and the nature of community problems. The problem solving concepts of study-diagnosis-plan of action has to be understood clearly. Relevant social science concepts including social status, social stratification, power structure and the manifest and the latent functions of organizations. The training should include methods of community analysis techniques such as community surveys, priority studies, need assessment, resource identifications etc. The student has to understand the professional roles that community workers would have to play. Special emphasis has to be given to imbibe skills to facilitate community participation. Students have to understand the distinctive norms that professionals social worker advocates regarding the workers relations to various community groups. Students need to be trained to locate and use the formal and informal networks of communication in the community. Beyond the knowledge base, the students have to develop pertinent skills and attitude relevant to their work. He needs to be able to carry himself with ease in the field, in an appropriate fashion in speech, dress and manner while at the same time expressing his individuality.

Individuals, Family and Community


He needs to view the participants with whom he works as partners with himself in a common enterprise of serving the community and see himself as enabling his partners to serve their communities via his particular expert competence. He needs to learn to exercise a professional vision of the what, when, where, why and how community tasks should be performed. The student trainee needs to understand that the services and work of the community agency cannot be viewed as ends in themselves but as parts of a larger entity such as the communities themselves. Viewing peoples needs as those of unique individuals and not amorphous masses can forge this. Community work need not also always be viewed as being restricted to disadvantaged groups alone. Communities need to be understood as heterogeneous entities, with each group presenting distinct need profiles. The student also should be able to impart to the community a philosophy grounded in a basic commitment and the importance of a democratic approach in carrying our work. Some of the skills identified, which are relevant to community-based practice are: Engagement skills; those that relate to establishing relationship with staff, local residents and community leaders, being able to function in unstructured and sometimes chaotic situations, use of self in different action situations.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Organizational skills; those relating to a grasp of mechanics of building organizations, working with committees and organizing public events. Planning and policy skills; those relating to analysis of issues and problems, ability to generalize from the specific and relating individual grievances to organizational responses. Action skills; those relating to the ability to work towards specific objectives, ability to make decision in situation where all the relevant information is never available, strategize and tactical options and their possible implication for action initiatives. Communication skills; those relating to communication with others by written and spoken words, ability to adjust style and manner of communication according to different situational contexts. Political skills; those relating to the ability to view local initiative with a broader socio economic frame work, a knowledge of the sociology of political decision making and a grasp of different varieties of political ideologies and their implication for change centered action, ability to work within a political framework. Evaluation of the students The faculty member has to look at several parameters while evaluating students professional growth during fieldwork conferences and seminars. These observations will aid teachers to intensify efforts to build the capacity of students to integrate theory and practice. Students have to imbibe professional

Individuals, Family and Community


ethics and values and express their utility in practice and record these in their reports. Role of the faculty supervisor guiding fieldwork students

Orienting students to the agency, help them identify with the agency and its objectives and client groups. Make student realize the opportunities available for the students to learn practice skills. Holding regular conferences individual as well as group enabling student to share their learning experiences. Helping students to acquire good work habits besides punctuality in all their field activities. Continuous appraisal of students throughout the field placement and working towards augmenting their professional growth in a structured manner.

The supervisor can use different methods while facilitating students development such as individual and group conferences, seminars and regular field visits. Individual conferences are exclusively used for a faceto-face interaction between students and faculty members. This allows for individual attention given to all students and in developing supervisor- student relationship. These play a role in ironing out individual problems faced by each student. Student assessment can be effectively made during these conferences.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Group conference help students learning from one another, mutual support among students are facilitated, which acts as a reinforcement to students experiences. Seminars help in building case studies and developing literature related to different agencies and their philosophies. Field visits by supervisor are considered essential for effective supervision of students. A three-way conference between student teacher and agency personnel is possible to discuss various learning issues.

It is important to learn the basic skills like interviewing, attending, listening while working with individuals and families. However they are important in all social work settings including community. Specific skills used in family settings are assessing relationships, application of therapies and goal setting. This would equip a student to undertake family counseling while handling a joint as well as an individual session depending on the situation. It is however advised that the students need to gain a certain amount of maturity before they attempt to apply their skills in the family settings as family problems are complex in nature. However the community setting gives you a wide opportunity to test your skills. It is also important to remember that the student should be sensitive to the value system of the community as it may differ from his/her own value system.

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Biestek Felix P.(1957), The Casework Relationship, Allen and Unwin Ltd., Perlman H.H (1957) Social Case Work: A Problem Solving Process, the university of Chicago Ross, Murray G, (1967) , Community Organization; Theory, Principles and Practice, Harper and Row Publishers, New York Hamilton, Gordon (1951) Theory and Practice of Social Case Work, New York, Columbia University Press Collins Donald, Jordan Cathleen, (1999). An Introduction to Family Social Work

14 Medical, Psychiatry and Child Care

*Manju Gupta

Social work is a profession for those with a strong desire to help in improving peoples lives. Social workers help people function better in their environment, deal with their relationships, and solve personal and family problems. The constant growth, demands, and changes in health care have had a serious impact on the viability and need for social workers in all areas including settings of health care and child welfare and development. Access to timely, comprehensive, and equitable health care for individuals varies considerably, with significant percentages of many segments of population having only limited access to health care. Ensuring rights to survival, development, protection and participation to children form the scope of social work profession. Currently, health care social workers provide services across the continuum of care in various settings. Social workers are present in public health, acute and chronic

* Manju Gupta, Delhi University, Delhi.

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care settings providing a range of services including health education, crisis intervention, supportive counseling, and case management. Professional social workers are well equipped to practice in the health care field, because of their broad perspective on the range of physical, emotional, and environmental factors that have an effect on the well-being of individuals and communities. Child welfare covers the entire spectrum of needs of children who by reason of handicap social, economic, physical and mental are unable to avail of services provided by the community. Child welfare programmes thus seek to provide supportive services to the families of these children because one of the important responsibilities of the society and state is to assist the family in its natural obligations for the welfare of the children. Child welfare services in their various facets are preventive, promotive, developmental and rehabilitative in nature.

Social Work Practice in a Health Care Setting

The social work professions earliest concerns were with making health care services available to the poor and with improving social conditions that bred infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. As the social work role expanded, social workers joined other health professions in the delivery of high quality services. Today, social workers can be found in every component of the health care system The basic values of social work, from promoting an individuals right to self determination to having an


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

attitude of empathy for the individual, are the foundation of social work practice. When confronting dilemmas or needs in health care, social workers can use the principle of clients self determination in matters where clients faced with such issues. Social workers have skills in cultural awareness and cultural competence, in which social work practice respectfully responds to, and affirms, the worth and dignity of people of all cultures, languages, classes, ethnic backgrounds, abilities, religions, sexual orientation, and other diverse features found in individuals. Social workers look at the person-in-environment, including all the factors that influence the total health care experience. Social workers practice at the macro and micro level of health care and thus have the ability to influence policy change and development at local, state, and central levels and within systems of care. Social work research in health care benefits not only individuals and families, but also the very existence, effectiveness, and validation of the profession.

Role and Responsibilities of Social Workers in Health Care Settings

In the public health arena, social workers are a valuable resource for the development of treatment plans for patients, for locating supportive resources, and in facilitating referrals. Under the auspices of government and non-government public health organizations and institutions, social workers often provide behavioural and social assessments along with mental health assessment, treatment, and short-term or ongoing case management. Social workers may also work in the community as planners or community organizers

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capable of engaging groups of people, neighborhoods, or entire communities to address social problems such as drug abuse or teen pregnancy. Social workers working in health care settings should integrate theory and practice The social worker uses knowledge about, and psychosocial implications of, illness, injury, and health conditions to provide social work services to clients and families to help them manage and cope with the impact of such health matters. Social workers have expertise in communication; navigating systems of care, resources, client and family coping skills; and the comprehensive impact of health conditions on the client. With the person-in-environment perspective, social workers look at all of the influences and aspects of a persons life to complete a thorough assessment and treatment plan with the client, family, and other health care professionals. Essential areas of knowledge and understanding about health care include:

the roles and functions of social work in health care the psycho-social needs of clients and families the physiological elements of illness and their impact on psychosocial functioning the psychological and spiritual needs of clients and families and how to ensure that they can be addressed community resources to assist clients and families


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

laws, regulations, and policies affecting clients, families, and social work practice evidence-based practices and social work research in health care the needs of special populations.

Assessment and, intervention strategies Assessment is a fundamental process of social work practice. Treatment and intervention strategies/plans require that social workers both assess and reassess client needs and modify plans accordingly. Social work assessments in health care settings include considering relevant factors and the needs of the individual client and the family. The health status of populations and of individuals is assessed for many reasons. A comprehensive, culturally competent assessment includes:

past and current health status including genetic history of family health the impact of health conditions or treatments on cognitive, emotional, social, psychological, or physical functioning social history, including current living arrangement and household environment work, school, or vocational history stage in the life cycle and related and relevant developmental issues cultural values and beliefs, including views on illness, disability, and death

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family structure and the clients role within the family social supports, including formal and informal support systems behavioural and mental health status and current level of functioning, including history, suicide risk, and coping styles financial resources.

Comprehensive assessments shall address unique needs relevant to special populations, including children, people with severe and persistent mental illness, people with substance use disorders, victims of violence or trauma, homeless people, and people with physical or psychiatric disabilities. Intervention through interdisciplinary input Intervention plans are steps identified by the health social worker, in collaboration with the client and with other members of the team, to achieve objectives identified during assessment. Social workers should be able to adapt practice techniques to best meet client needs within their health care setting to work effectively with individuals across the life-span, with different ethnicities, cultures, religions, socioeconomic and educational backgrounds, and across the range of mental health and disability conditions. Intervention plans may include:

strategies to address needs identified in the assessment


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

information, referral, and education individual, family, or group counseling vocational, educational, and supportive counseling psycho-educational support groups financial counseling case management discharge planning interdisciplinary care planning and collaboration client and systems advocacy.

Addressing clients multiple needs In Social work case dealing requires the professional social worker to develop and maintain a therapeutic relationship with the client, which includes linking the client with resources that provide a range of services, resources, and opportunities to enhance successful quality outcomes for the client. Culturally competent case dealing is both micro and macro in nature and requires interdisciplinary care planning and collaboration with other professionals to maintain a team-oriented approach. Case dealing may include having regular meetings with the client and family and assisting the client to navigate systems. The scope of services would include the following:

psychosocial assessment, including diagnosis, interventions, and treatment plans financial assessment, planning, and intervention

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case facilitation client and family counseling crisis intervention quality improvement resource mobilization outcome evaluation teamwork client/family education.

Social workers act as educators Social workers have a formal role as educators. Social workers gain knowledge and expertise in the health practice setting from other professionals and from formal education, work, or teaching experience. They have the knowledge and skill to implement the principles of learning theories in education programs, activities, and resources. They communicate and collaborate with departments and other staff to foster client education. They serve with other members of the health care team for program and resource development, planning, implementation, and evaluation. Social workers use a variety of methods to define and identify learning needs of individuals and families. Assessment identifies the educational needs based on the expressed needs of individuals, family members, and significant others. The social worker identifies deficiencies in the knowledge base of the client and works with the client to obtain the needed information and resources. Social workers collaborate with the health care team to design educational


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

activities to meet the clients needs, to deliver the activities in a method that facilitates the learning needed, and to evaluate the process in an integral, ongoing, and systematic manner. Social workers should engage in Health education Health education is concerned with change in the knowledge, feelings, and behaviour of people. In its most usual form it concentrates on developing such health practices as are believed to bring about the best possible state of well being. Health education helps individuals, families, and communities to promote their health by their own actions and efforts. The health educator is there to help them to achieve their health goals through the educational process- a process based on the faith that every human-being has the inherent potential to develop, to rise higher and higher when suitable environment is created and opportunities are given. It recognizes the human worth and dignity. Health education involves health promotion and disease prevention (HP/DP) programming, a process by which a variety of interventions are planned, implemented, and evaluated for the purpose of improving or maintaining the health of a community or population. Soc ial work ers shou ld m aint ain reco rds or documentation of social work services The importance of clear, concise, and organized documentation reflects the features of quality social work services and often serves as the mode of communication between a social worker and other professionals and clients. There are core elements that need to be included and responsibilities to follow in

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record keeping. The elements and responsibilities of thorough and comprehensive documentation include the following:

comprehensive assessment and services delivered to the client and client systems, including the development of a plan of care ongoing assessments, interventions, and treatment planning referral sources and collaborations dates, times, and descriptions of client and client system contacts documentation of outcomes reason for case closure or transfer written permission to release and obtain information, whereever appropriate documentation of compliance with confidentiality rights and responsibilities documentation of receipts and disbursements.

Health care social workers should actively participate in research activities Social workers have a responsibility to be familiar with the literature crucial to their area of practice. As professionals, social workers in all settings have a mandate to improve the knowledge of the field and this can best be accomplished through participation in research activities. Venues where health care social workers might help to develop, implement, or evaluate


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

research include in-client and out-client hospital-based settings, community or home health agencies. Rich data sources that permit opportunities for quantitative and qualitative research exist within these entities. Social workers may help physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and others recruit individuals and encourage study participation and adherence to medication regimens; they can also help clients manage problems that may hinder adherence and retention, such as challenging life circumstances and demands from family members. Social worker as a supervisor The purpose of supervision is to enhance the clinical social workers professional skills and knowledge, to enhance competence in providing quality client care. Supervision aids in professional growth and development and improves clinical outcomes. Experienced social workers shall offer guidance and consultation to students, interns, and less experienced peers. Consultation and guidance are separate from supervision, and may be offered in mentoring opportunities.

Areas for Practice in Health Care Social Work

Today, apart from the general hospitals and medical colleges, Social workers are placed in psychiatric hospitals, child guidance centres, cancer hospitals, family planning clinics, Drug de addiction centres, blood banks, etc. Social workers are also working with the community outreach programmes of hospitals and Non Governmental Organizations.

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Social Workers in the General or Specialty Hospital Social workers being an integral part of the health set up, their role bears special significance. Purpose of medical social work is to help each individual sick person in matters of personal and social adjustment including rehabilitation in the society through the use of patients capabilities as well as community resources. Medical Social Work Services are organized in various OPDs, Wards, Clinics and Casualty by professionally qualified social workers designated as Medical Social workers. They provide the following services to the indigent, needy and deserving clients: The Medical social worker acts as the doctors mouthpiece and furnishes information to the client about the following: his or her illness, how it occurs, how it spreads, and how it can be controlled. She/ he helps to remove the patients doubt and misconceptions about the diseases and its treatment. S/he ensures the patient cooperates fully with the doctor and accepts the treatment wholeheartedly. For patients needing hospitalization, the Medical social worker helps in the smooth transition from home to hospital, and after discharge, back from hospital to home. S/he collects information about the patients family, occupation and socio- cultural background and prepares his medico- socio history. S/he provides the social history to the doctor. S/he helps the doctor to see the correlation between the medical and the social data. She/he assists the doctor decide the social recommendation for solving the patients medical problems.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

The Medical social worker works with the client and family and provides them emotional support and helps them with stress management. S/he explains to them the changes that have to be made in the home conditions, in cooking etc., for the benefit of the client. She conducts group sessions for the in- patients and their attendants. She participates in all the field activities of the hospital and medical college. S/he obtains peoples cooperation in multidisciplinary camps, cataract camps, sterilization camps, blood donation camps, HIV/AIDS Awareness Camps. She arranges for financial assistance to the patient for treatment, hospitalization, transportation, etc. from welfare agencies in the community. If client requires legal help, s/he arranges for it. If client has come from a long distant place, s/he arranges for low cost lodging for his family members. If there is fear of the patient losing his job because of illness and myths associated with it, S/he meets the employer, dispel the myths and convince the employer not to terminate the services of the patient. The Medical social worker participates in the teaching and training activities of the department of preventive and social medicine. S/he takes classes for medical, nursing, dental and pharmacy students.

Medical, Psychiatry and Child Care


S/he actively takes part in the research activities of the medical colleges or hospitals. S/he provides recreational services to the inpatient by organizing film shows, video presentations. etc., and by providing toys and playthings for childrens.

Social Workers in the Area of Psychiatric Health Social workers in the area of psychiatric health and substance abuse assess and treat individuals with mental illness or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. Such services include individual and group therapy, outreach, crisis intervention, social rehabilitation, and training in skills of everyday living. They also may help plan for supportive services to ease clients return to the community. Mental health and substance abuse social workers are likely to work in hospitals, substance abuse treatment centers, or individual and family services agencies. These social workers may be known as clinical or Psychiatric social workers. They have a vital role to play in patients wellbeing:

The psychiatric social worker makes thorough study of the environment of the client covering such aspects as home, work and social life and brings out significant facts which have some bearing on his maladjustments. This study enables her to prepare a systematic case history of the client which throws light on the tension and difficulties in the clients life and also help him to assess the positive and negative aspects of the environment. The psychiatric social worker very often explains the client or relatives what the problem is and what


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

is involved in psychiatric treatment, so that their anxiety is allayed and they can cooperate in the treatment. The social worker has to help the relatives of the mentally ill, to accept the diagnosis and the psychiatric recommendations. The social worker aids the psychiatric treatment by social treatment, i.e. treatment of environment problems. The social worker works with the clients, his relative and others, directly connected with him in modifying their attitudes. The social worker also tries to bring about a better adjustment between the client and his family. Social treatment is also geared towards after care. The social worker has to follow up a discharged case carefully. And also the clients ability to support himself and his ability to support his family must be restored.

To enlist the cooperation of other social agencies for better discharge of functions of ones own agency and for stimulating interest in dealing with common problems effectively. By working cooperatively with various agencies, the psychiatric social worker is able to interpret her agency and its functions to the community so that the community can seek its aid in time and also give its timely assistance to the agency. A psychiatric social worker needs to bear in mind that she should not get so deeply involved in intensive treatment of the maladjusted individual that s/he fails to recognize the importance of general social problems and, therefore may not take interest in programmes for social change. She needs to study social conditions, develop resources in the community and participate in community planning.

Medical, Psychiatry and Child Care


Students of psychiatric social work, nursing students, medical students and staff of the agency where the psychiatric social worker is employed as a mental hygiene supervisor or consultant may participate in the training programme. In prenatal and postnatal clinics and nursery schools the psychiatric social worker apart from direct casework service into the clients, when necessary, imparts mental health education to parents. Sometimes her services are required to promote mental health education in the community. Her work may involve community organization, publicity, assisting in community surveys, studying mental hygiene needs of communities, development of facilities for more adequate hygiene needs of communities, development of facilities for more adequate provision for prevention and treatment of mental disease and so on. Psychiatric social worker participates in the determination and formation of agency policies with a view to socializing the agency set up to meet the needs of clients better. Psychiatric social worker maintains social records for the purpose of social statistics. A full report enables a worker to diagnose the social problems better and check up her social treatment plan. This will also enable her to know whether s/he is going in the right direction or not. Recording also helps her in acquiring the habit of observing and writing description carefully.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

The psychiatric social worker can be of immense assistance in the field of research. S/he enables the patients to accept psychiatric recommendation and encourages the patient to continue the treatment. Thus Psychiatrists are in a position to observe the result of any particular treatment in which they are interested. The psychiatric social worker can render help in promoting social research too. She observes the social component of illness, behaviour disorders, etc. and finds out that the Community resources are inadequate and can throw much light on the deficiencies. Case records of the agency provide ample data for social action for promoting the cause of welfare of patients and their families. This psychiatric social worker attached to hospitals has to respond to the problem of home sickness as well as the boredom of long treatment. S/he may organize a recreation club with the help of the members of the staff and the patients and encourage the latter to develop hobbies. Such activities contribute much to the patients recovery. Through organized recreational programmes the patients learn group participation, take up responsibility for their behaviour, learn discipline in a congenial atmosphere and also overcome their personality defects like shyness, withdrawn behaviour, negativism etc. The psychiatric social worker is gaining wider acceptance in community planning. A large part of the Mental Health needs in many communities is for community- wide preventive services. It is natural

Medical, Psychiatry and Child Care


that the psychiatric social worker be invited to contribute to the task of educating the general public in strengthening mental health. It requires that psychiatric social workers take part in various local and state programmes devoted to his end. Role in the programmes for elderly Psychiatric social workers are being employed increasingly in programmes for older persons. The rapidly growing elderly population will create greater demand for health and social services, resulting in particularly rapid job growth among gerontology social workers. Role in the child guidance clinics Most of the child guidance clinics are either part of the Department of Psychiatry of General Hospitals or run by a Social Welfare Agency. With regard to the staffing of the child guidance clinics, most clinics followed the team- approach and are staffed with psychiatrist, pediatricians, psychologists, social workers, play therapists, speech therapists etc. The individual problems in the children who attend the clinics are: antisocial behaviour, habit disorder, personality disorders, psycho-somatic disorders, epilepsy, mental retardation, neurosis and others. The child guidance clinics operate on the premise that if sound foundations of mental health are laid in childhood and adolescence, the same will continue into adulthood. The routine daily activities at the clinics consist of:

Registration of new cases Review of old cases


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Psychometric evaluation

Individual psychotherapy for the child or his parents

Group psychotherapy for the child or his parents Play therapy Speech therapy Group therapy for teachers Case conferences Research projects Teaching programmes for undergraduate medical students, postgraduate psychiatric students, post graduate pediatric students and nurses, social work students. Other individual programmes in association with the W.H.O., U.N.I.C.E.F. etc.

Social Workers and Community Health The term community health refers to the health status of a defined group of people, or community, and the actions and conditions that protect and improve the health of the community. Those individuals who make up a community live in a somewhat localized area under the same general regulations, norms, values, and organizations. For example, the health status of the people living in a particular town, and the actions taken to protect and improve the health of these residents, would constitute community health. The actions and

Medical, Psychiatry and Child Care


conditions that protect and improve community can be organized into three areas: health promotion, health protection and health services. Health promotion may be defined as any combination of educational and social efforts designed to help people take greater control of and improve their health. Health protection and health services differ from health promotion in the nature or timing of the actions taken. Health protection and services include the implementing of laws, rules, or policies approved in a community as a result of health promotion. Factors that affect community health There are four categories of factors that affect the health of a community or population. Because these factors will vary in separate communities, the health status of individual communities will be different. The factors that are included in each category, and an example of each factor, are noted here. 1) Physical factorsgeography (parasitic diseases), environment (availability of natural resources), community size (overcrowding), and industrial development (pollution). 2) Social and cultural factorsbeliefs, traditions, and prejudices (smoking in public places, availability of ethnic foods, racial disparities), economy (employee health care benefits), politics (government participation), religion (beliefs about medical treatment), social norms (drinking on a college campus), and socioeconomic status (number of people below poverty level).


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

3) Community organizationavailable health agencies (local health department, voluntary health agencies), and the ability to organize to solve problem (lobby city council). 4) Individual behaviourpersonal behaviour (healthenhancing behaviours like exercising, getting immunized, and recycling wastes). The social worker has to have a proper knowledge on the area in which s/he works. S/he would be well oriented with the traditions, practices of the community and should be able to identify the gaps in their health seeking behaviour. The Social Workers in the Health Care Settings has to focus on the followings: Health Promotion Health Protection

Health promotion Health promotion includes educational, social, and environmental supports for individual, organizational, and community action. It seeks to activate local organizations and groups or individuals to make changes in behaviour (lifestyle, selfcare, mutual aid, participation in community or political action) or in rules or policies that influence health. Two areas in which communities employ health promotion strategies are mental and social health, and recreation and fitness. Action to deal with these concerns begins with a community assessment, which should identify the factors that influence the health of the subpopulations and the needs of these populations. In the case of mental and social health, the need will

Medical, Psychiatry and Child Care


surface at the three levels of prevention: primary prevention, secondary prevention, and tertiary prevention. Primary prevention activities for mental and social health could include helping the community members for personal stress management strategies such as exercise and meditation, or school and workplace educational classes to enhance the mental health of students and workers. A secondary prevention strategy could include the staffing of a crisis help line by local organizations such a health department or mental health center. Tertiary prevention might take the form of the local medical and mental health specialists and health care facilities providing individual and group counseling, or inpatient psychiatric treatment and rehabilitation. All of these prevention strategies can contribute to a communitywide effort to improve the mental and social health of the community or population. During and after the implementation of the strategies, appropriate evaluation will indicate which strategies work and which need to be discontinued or reworked. Health protection Community health protection revolves around environmental health and safety. Community health personnel work to identify environmental risks and problems so they can take the necessary actions to protect the community or population. Such protective measures include the control of unintentional and intentional injuries; the control of vectors; the assurance that the air, water, and food are safe to


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

consume; the proper disposal of wastes; and the safety of residential, occupational, and other environments. The social worker can initiate a movement through advocacy group intervention for the provision of health protection in the community as these protective measures are often the result of educational programs, including self-defense classes; policy development, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act or the Clean Air Act; environmental changes, such as restricting access to dangerous areas; and community planning, as in the case of preparing for natural disasters or upgrading water purification systems etc. Role in Mother and Child Health Maternal, infant, and child (MIC) health encompasses the health of women of childbearing age from prepregnancy through pregnancy, labour, delivery, and the postpartum period, and the health of a child prior to birth through adolescence. MIC health statistical data are regarded as important indicators of the status of community and population health. Unplanned pregnancies, lack of prenatal care, maternal drug use, low immunization rates, high rates of infectious diseases, and lack of access to health care for this population indicate a poor community health infrastructure. Early intervention with educational programs and preventive medical services for women, infants, and children can enhance health in later years and reduce the necessity to provide more costly medical and/or social assistance later in their life. Infant and child health is the result of parent health behaviour during pregnancy, prenatal care, and the care provided after birth. Critical concerns of infant and childhood

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morbidity and mortality include proper immunization, unintentional injuries, and child abuse and neglect. In a community setup all these areas often requires the support and services of a social worker in the form of individual and couples counseling, guidance etc. and the social worker needs to work in association with the available local healthcare agencies like PHCs, anganwadies etc. The social worker can help the people to avail various government supports through advocacy and networking with the concerned agencies. Adolescents Health The health of the adolescent and young adult population sets the stage for the rest of adult life. It is a time in life in which many beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours are adopted and consolidated. Health issues that are particularly associated with this population are unintended injuries; use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs; and sexual risk taking. There are no easy, simple, or immediate solutions to reducing or eliminating these problems. A social worker needs to be aware on the vulnerable tendencies among the adolescents. Formation of peer groups, developing group dynamism, risk assessments and group and individual counseling sessions with a special focus on drug abuse, HIV AIDS etc. are some of the major areas where social workers intervention is required. Tuberculosis Tuberculosis (T.B.) should be considered as a public health problem of major importance. Persons suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis and exerting the germs


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

of T.B. are the sources of infection for the healthy members of the family as also the community. This chain of transmission has to be broken effectively if T.B. is to be brought under control. Some of the steps could be taken by social workers are as follows:

Helping to distribute anti TB drugs to clients cared for at home and to supervise the administration of these drugs. Ensuring that domiciliary clients regularly attend for check ups at the treatment centre. Persuading persons with suspicious symptoms to attend the diagnostic and treatment centres for examination in necessary action. Encouraging persons who live in contact with clients from open tuberculosis to attend diagnostic and treatment centres for examinations. Helping to assemble children and young adults for tuberculin tests and B.C.G. vaccination during organized campaigns. Undertaking health education campaign in close liaison with government measures.

Leprosy Leprosy is not merely a medical problem but a social problem and can never be tackled in the same way as other diseases. Considering the fate of an unfortunate leprosy client with his horried deformities, disfigurement, the attitude of his kith and kin and public towards him, the problem has become more a social problem. This special nature of this disease can only be tackled by specially trained social workers. Intensive

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education of the public in rural and urban areas by trained social workers is most needed, other actions needed include:

Prevention of deformity by suitable education of the clients and provision of physiotherapeutic and surgical services. Even when they can not themselves provide the services they should constantly ask that these services should be provided. The setting up of sheltered industries. The care of the crippled clients in special homes. The care of vagrant clients in homes like the Chamber Home in Bombay or Daya Sadan in Madras. The prevention of destitution by a sympathetic help offered to those clients who are about to face destitution. The provision of vocational training, vocational guidance in placement services. Training of leprosy. rehabilitation workers oriented in

The creation of favourable atmosphere for the rehabilitation of leprosy clients through channels of employment. Probably the area in which the voluntary agency can make itself increasingly useful is rehabilitation. Health education of the public leading to public participation can get full results out of our leprosy control campaigns.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Camps for volunteers should be held in order to get them informed and interested so that they may become efficient evangelists of the message that leprosy is just another disease, that the leprosy client is just a client like others he can look forward to cure and normal life.

The health care social workers are increasingly employed at Hospitals, Tuberculosis clinics, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) clinics, Leprosy clinics, Family Planning clinics, Cancer control clinics, Mental health institutions, Pediatrics departments, rehabilitation department of spinal injury centres, Cardiac care clinics, Diabetes control clinics, Mother and infant health centres, School health services, Drug de addiction centers, HIV/AIDS education, Prevention and control centres, Integrated Counseling and Testing Centres (I.C.T.C.), Blood banks, Organ donation centres, Health related community outreach programmes, etc

Social Work Practice in Child Care Setting

In this section, an overview of role of social work professionals in childcare setting would be presented. India is the home of 16% of the worlds children. Social work profession responds to many developmental needs and problems of the children ranging from female foeticide, high mortality rate, child malnutrition, immunization, accessibility and availability of quality education, child labour, destitution and beggary among children, discrimination against girl child, child abuse, juvenile delinquency, street children, child trafficking, drug addiction, suicide and homicide to mention a few. Social work intervention may be categorized as follows:

Medical, Psychiatry and Child Care


Services for the Children in Need of Care and Protection

Non-statutory Statutory

Institutional Institutional Non-institutional


Statutory services: These services come under the legislative purview, especially implementation of Juvenile Justice Act (2006). Social workers play pivotal role, both in institutional as well as non-institutional services meant for restoration and rehabilitation of children in need of care and protection as well as those coming in conflict with law. In Institutional services, social workers, as superintendents, Juvenile or child welfare officers, counsellors, as members of Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Welfare Boards, take up numerable tasks in restoration and rehabilitation of children at institutional setting like at Juvenile Homes, Observation Homes, Special Homes, After care Homes, functioning under the juvenile justice system. Non -ins titu tion al services include adoption, sponsorship, foster care, probation, repatriation and the like. Social workers, in this, perform vital role in restoration and rehabilitation plan. Added to this, as NGO functionaries too, social workers are running programmes under Juvenile Justice Act like management of childrens homes, short stay homes,


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

night shelters for street and working children, innovative programmes including educational and vocational training, skill upgradation, counselling, health services, etc. Non-statutory services, with no legal root, are proportionately more extensive and widespread. Ins titu tiona l se rvic es, in this ca se, include orphanages, childrens homes, short stay homes, institutions to prevent vagrancy among children like Bal Sahyog and such others. Non-institutional services cover an array of activities directed at the optimum development of children that may be preventive or rehabilitative, promotive or ameliorative, curative or developmental in nature. It would include services to meet the survival, developmental, health, and educational and recreational needs of children. Integrated Child Development Services is one of the Asias most extensive services for overall growth and development of children. Social work professionals work as Child Development Project Officers, in this scheme, as part of government functionaries and others at various positions in civil society bodies and state system substantiate through research, training, community mobilization and such other inputs. Let us take a look at strategies social workers generally adopt to ensure child care. These range from research work to explore magnitude and extent of problems, interplay of various causative and contingent factors, gaining insight for p lanning at various levels, management of schemes and programmes, training of stakeholders in service delivery, awareness generation, and advocacy and social action. With Rights

Medical, Psychiatry and Child Care


perspective (see United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child: Right to Survival; Right to Development; Right to Protection and Right to Participation) many social workers are involved in advocacy to ameliorate conditions of exploitation and abuse that hamper realization of the said rights. Some of the salient advocacy campaigns where social workers have made their presence felt have been NGO Fora for Street and Working Children, Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL), Udaan: Forum of Street and Working children and Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA). Right to Survival includes Right to Life and Right to Health. Social workers have been involved at various levels legislation formulation, Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994, advocacy and awareness generation, enforcement of Act and bringing necessary change in the patriarchal social structure that in many ways perpetuate gender discrimination. Looking at the settings where social workers work for the welfare and development of children may be beneficial. Since Independence, government has heavily relied on voluntary organizations to deliver services for the welfare and development of children. These VOs have taken up innumerable field projects to address problems related to nutrition, education, health and development of children. Research work, advocacy, networking, mobilization have been other tasks carried out by social workers through these VOs. School social work, though still in its nascent stage, has addressed many issues related to children in schools, families and community. Currently, there is vast state machinery


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

in response to children under difficult circumstances that offer huge scope of intervention for social workers. The social work professionals, through these settings, have addressed many areas of child welfare and development, some of the salient ones are delineated below: Health: Ensuring conditions that would lead to reduction in child mortality, eliminating hunger, nutritional deficiency and malnutrition, immunization and preventive health care services, are major areas of concern for social workers. As part of service delivery system, NGOs as well as government, social workers have been involved in planning, implementation, monitoring, improving and evaluation of many programmes like ICDS, Balwadi, Mid-day Meals, Pulse Polio (Eradication) programme, Universal Immunization Programme, National Rural Health Mission, RCH and effective functioning of Primary, secondary and tertiary Health Care system. Education: Although there has been a steady increase in enrolment over the years, about 40% boys and 50% girls still remain unenrolled in the primary stage itself. Social work professionals are involved at various fronts in increasing accessibility, adequacy and appropriateness of the education system. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, District Primary Education Programme, Nonformal education, involving community to share responsibility of child education, scholarships of needy, counselling and casework services for those facing problems in formal education, through school social work, are a few of the interventions, social workers are involved with. The 93rd Constitutional Amendment

Medical, Psychiatry and Child Care


making free and compulsory education as a matter of right to all the children below the age of 14 years has further widened the scope of social work intervention in both advocacy and programmatic approaches. Differently Abled Children: Further, integrated and inclusive education that aims to include both normal and differently abled children in the same classroom setting has been a strong domain of social work professionals, where they work with a team of interdisciplinary professionals. Special schools, community rehabilitation, implementation of district rehabilitation centre schemes, vocational training programmes, National Programme for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities, bringing differently abled children in the mainstream education have been some of the programmes through which social workers have tried to make a dent into the vulnerable conditions of disabled children. Girl Child: Social work professionals have attempted to ameliorate precarious condition of girl child in the constricting patriarchal social structure of Indian society. They have advocated for their Right to be Born, fought against female foeticide, infanticide, struggled against child marriage and denial of equal opportunities for growth and development for girl child. Child Labour: India has highest number of working children in the world. Social work professionals have played a proactive role in abolishing child labour bringing necessary changes in policies, conducting rescue operations, restoration and rehabilitation of child labour.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Child T rafficking a nd C hild Pro stit utio n: Undoubtedly, trafficking of children and forcing them into sex trade has been a cause of concern for social workers. As NGO functionaries or as part of the state machinery, social workers have put in great efforts both at preventive as well as rehabilitative aspects. Child Abuse: The term encompasses wide spectrum of exploitations on children, denial of their dues and violation of their rights. Child abuse, at the familial level, community level, school level, have been addressed by social work professionals working in schools, as family welfare officers, counsellors, NGO functionaries and similar other settings. These are some of the salient areas where social work professionals have been working for the care and development of children. You may also apprise that social workers involved with family welfare and development also address child related issues. Similarly, community development, urban as well as rural, may be indirectly, deals with child care issues. Social Defence, a significant field of social work practice, tackles child delinquency, beggary, drug addiction, suicide and other such issues.

In the current situation, it was felt that Social Work graduates or those coming into the field from other areas of practice, were not always well prepared for health care and that the constantly changing nature of the field, plus its diversity, often seemed confusing to newcomers. It is hoped that a core of knowledge might be identified which would give them the grounding to become more effective practitioners more quickly.

Medical, Psychiatry and Child Care


Verma, R. (1991), Psychiatric Social Work in India, Sage publications: New Delhi. Banerjee, G.R. (1972), Papers on Social Work: An Indian Perspective, TISS, Bombay. Pathak, S.H. (1961), Medical Social Work in India, Delhi School of Social Work, Delhi Mane, P. and Gandevia, K. V. (1993), Mental Health In India, TISS, Bombay. Pomaerleau, J. and McKee, M. (2005), Issues in Public Health, Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited, New Delhi. Rolf, M.O. (1984), Social Work and Mental Health, Tavistock Publications limited, New York Reddy, A. R. (1995), Health Care Service Management, Delta Publishing House, Hyderabad. Park, K. (2007). Preventive and Social Medicine. Banarsidas Bhanot publications. Jabalpur. Kishore, J. (2002). National Health Programmes of India. Century Publications. New Delhi.

15 Education and Research

*Joselyn T. Lobo and Roshini Nilaya

Fieldwork, the practicum or placement, emphasises the application of theory to practice. The application of classroom learning in agency or fieldwork settings has been a characteristic of social work education since inception. Just as chemistry and language students practice in their laboratories, social work students reach out into agencies and communities to develop their skills. Education and research is an important placement area of field work. We shall look at education first. It has been increasingly felt, that schools and colleges need social workers and counsellors for the proper development of students. A social worker will identify children with learning or adjustment problems, discuss and implement the subsequent course of action with the students, his family and the school authorities. Before going into the intricacies of field practicum in the education sector it is better to provide a brief overview of the education system in India.
* Joselyn T. Lobo and Roshini Nilaya, Mangalore

Education and Research


Education System in India The educational system in India is a picture of both light and shadessome noteworthy achievements along with numerous failures and problems. The educational scenario can be neatly summed up in the paradox of the best educational institutions on par with international standards on the one hand and largest number of illiterates in the world on the other. The formal system in India is a carry over of the British and much has not changed since Independence. It is characterized by rigidity, irrelevant syllabus, singlepoint entry, out-dated teaching and learning methods, poor infrastructure and an inhuman examination system. There is no scope for creativity and the school curriculum has no relation to the life and environment of the students. As mentioned, our education system still continues to be dominated by models and value-systems adopted during the colonial regime. It lays emphasis on narrow individualism, unhealthy competition, mere acquisition of information and examinations. It places undue importance on the formal school and neglects both nonformal and recurrent education. There is a dual system of education operatinghighly sophisticated private schools for the rich and poor quality government schools for the poor. The situation of the rural schools is dismal and shocking. Most of the primary schools in our villages are conducted in dilapidated, crowded buildings or in the open air. Many more are single- teacher schools, and still more have no teacher for varying periods of time. The minimum


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

requirements like blackboard, playgrounds, drinking water, toilet facilities are absent in majority of our schools. Besides the structure, system and the infrastructure we constantly read about teacher-student issues. The stick is still adopted and in some cases physical torture is inflicted. Harsh treatments by inhuman teachers have resulted in permanent damages and even death of school children. The above description will give glimpse of the school system in India. The need for a school social worker is obvious. Unfortunately, except for a few urban schools, the majority of the schools have neither appointed a social worker nor have felt the need for one.

Social Work Practicum in the Education Sector

The field of education covers a wide area and encompasses different age groups and thereby provides scope for social work interventions. Education levels range from pre-school to collegiate education and research institutions as well as adult and continuing education. Non-formal educational channels incorporate literacy and post-literacy programmes, distance education, open education, on-line education and other recent trends involving Information Technology. Social Work Initiatives at Pre-school Level Educational programmes for the pre-school child (age group 3-5) include Anganwadis, Childrens Play

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Centres, Mobile Day-Care Centres and Crches and Pre-Schools attached to Primary Schools. Non-formal pre-school education is an important component of the ICDS Programme. The Anganwadi is the first stage in the process of educationbefore the child goes to primary school. Pre-school education becomes a link between the Anganwadi and the primary school. The student social workers may be placed in the Anganwadis directly or may encounter them when placed in community settings. Whatever may be the contact, the students will have to work in close collaboration with the Anganwadi worker. The Anganwadi worker is required to organise preschool activities for about 40 children in the age group 3 to 6 years. She should be sensitive to the psychosocial needs of the childthe need for love, security, trust, praise, and recognition. Use of locally available and scrap material for pre-school education activities is encouraged. Pre-school activities have been classified into the following five sections: 1) Activities for physical development. 2) Activities for language development. 3) Activities for emotional development and development of creativity. 4) Activities for social development and habit formation. 5) Activities for development of intelligence.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Pre-school education at the Anganwadi aims at the total development of the childphysical, motor, psychological and social, and the development of language and intelligence. Role of the Anganwadi Worker in Pre-school Education Student social workers may organise activities on the above lines. They can supplement the work of the Anganwadi worker whose role is explained below: 1) To organise pre-school activities aimed at the development of personality of the child. 2) Make use of local material of pre-school activities which can be acquired freely or with the minimum cost. Natural items (like sand, clay, pebbles, and shells) and waste material (like empty tins, newspapers, empty matchboxes and cloth pieces) may be used to make toys, puppets and masks. Use your own imagination and that of the children is the guiding principle for these activities. 3) Keep space for both indoor as well as outdoor activities. Children can also be taken to the fields, markets, park and zoo. 4) Be sensitive to the psycho-social needs of the children. Children need love, praise, recognition and new experiences. 5) Display posters, dolls, toys, puppets, masks and any other items made by children in the Anganwadi to make the place look cheerful. 6) Involve the local community in general and parents of the children in particular in pre-school education.

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The community can provide free accommodation for the Anganwadi, playground and play materials.

School Social Work: Implications and Possibilities

Having the second largest educational system in the world, schools form a major setting for field placements. Many undergraduate students of social work are placed in primary and secondary schoolsboth private and government. The majority of the schools in India do not appoint a social worker or a school counsellor either full-time or part-time and those schools which have one on their roles are mainly in urban areas. Let us now focus on the origin, nature and functions of school social work. Beginnings in School Social Work Social work services were first established in the schools of Boston, Hartford and New York in the beginning of the 20th century under the sponsorship of community agencies. The Psychological Clinic in Hartford initiated the first visiting teachers program (today frequently referred to as school social workers) in that area. The public school systems of Rochester, New York, in 1914 become the first school system to finance school social work from its regular budget. Social work in the schools is in response to the passage of compulsory school attendance laws, new knowledge about individual differences among children and a realization of the strategic place of the school in the lives of children.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

In the United Kingdom, the origins of education welfare service date from late nineteenth and early twentieth century legislation that aimed to ensure basic education for all children and recognized that social conditions may affect childrens ability to benefit from school. Social work in relation to schools is mainly undertaken by staff in the education welfare service, also called education social work service. The service has a long history but an ambiguous position in relation to both education and the personal social services. Nature of School Social Work School social work is embedded deeply in the roots of societys mandate to the schools to educate and train children to their fullest potential. Specialists are attached to the school for the purpose of helping children achieve their potential in the academic setting. One such specialist is the social worker who relates to the role performance of the child. School social work is an application of social work methods and principles to the major purpose of the school. School social work is related to a particular school system, the outside community, the characteristics of the pupils, and the conditions they face. W.A. Friedlander maintains that the school social worker works with four parties: 1) The Child 2) The Family 3) The School Staff 4) The Community

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School social work enables the school to pay attention to the unique individual needs of the child and to offer the opportunities for success and achievement to each child. The focus of school social work is on the following cognitive areas:

Learning Thinking Problem-solving Relationships Emotions Motivation, and Personality

as well as the traditional areas of concern i.e.

The social worker focuses on social functioning and on the needs of the child to make the best possible use of the learning experience. He or she is concerned with the fact that forces within and outside the child may block the childs use of the school experience. The social worker works with teachers, principals, pupils and parents to deal with this problem. School social workers are an extended arm of the educator in fulfilling educational objectives. The social worker acts as consultants as well as counsellors. He or she shares knowledge with students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders. Social workers provide a link between the school and social agencies and are brokers for the services provided for pupils and their families. Social workers in the school


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

provide diagnostic, counselling and treatment services to individuals or groups or arrange for such services. Social work collaborates with the educational team and the social worker addresses tasks and problems surrounding the teaching-learning needs of students. The profession of social work has provided the school social worker with new knowledge and techniques appropriate for practice. Social work practice addresses a wide range of problems and issues. Among the problems to be dealt with include absenteeism, behavioural problems, scholastic backwardness, economic backwardness, hostile home environment, disability and other health related problems. Tasks for the School Social Worker In the 1960s, social workers appeared to be comfortable with traditional roles and residual functions. The traditional role of the social worker is the worker-client approach, somewhat independent of the teacher. This approach neither brought educator and social worker together in mutual effort nor focused on the milieu of the school. Lela B. Costin (1972) strongly suggests that more is needed in school social work than a major emphasis upon traditional methods of work that have focused primarily upon the individual child in relation to his emotional problems and his personal adjustment. The following is an abridged version of her list of task and responsibilities for social workers in the schools:

Education and Research


1) The social worker should facilitate the provision of direct educational and social services to pupils. 2) The social worker should focus on the urgent needs of selected groups of pupils. 3) The social worker should consult with school administrators in order to jointly identify a problem situation toward which a planned service approach can be aimed. 4) The social worker should consult with teachers about techniques for creating a climate in which children are free and motivated to learn. For example by facilitating the use of peers to help a troubled child. 5) The social worker should organize parent and community groups to channel effectively concern about pupils and schools and to act as a constructive force. 6) The social worker should develop and maintain a productive liaison between the school and critical fields of social work and legal practice. 7) Finally, the social worker should provide leadership in the coordination of interdisciplinary skills among pupil services personnel like guidance counsellors and psychologists. A majority of the problems of students in schools can be handled on a one-to-one basis. Others require a group approach. Teachers in consultation with social workers frequently handle classroom problems. Another approach is referral to other members of the


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

personnel team. The full range of community services is also available for students and their parents. School social workers connect students with both the source and the means of existing services. Often students do not know where and how to seek help. Social workers know services and referral processes. Among the professionals, the social worker is the link between provision and people. Knowledge Appropriate for the tasks of School Social Workers Social workers in the schools should possess the minimum of a bachelors degree in social work. In addition, their knowledge should include: 1) Knowledge of the school. 2) Theories in relation to work with individuals, including behaviour modification, transactional analysis, and basic relationship skills. 3) Learning and cognitive theories to make educational diagnosis and recommend corrective learning experiences. 4) Knowledge and understanding of learning disabilities. 5) Knowledge about social enhancement, socialization, educational and skill-learning groups. 6) Community knowledge and skill for mediation, advocacy, and social action processes appropriate for social work in the schools. Knowledge about

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the community, its structure and function is essential to social work. 7) Communication theory and teaching knowledge and skills.

University, College Students and Youth Groups

Indias population of over a billion comprises 600 million under the age of 25. Of this, a sizeable chunk belongs to the category of youth. Youth are prone to many problems and are in a serious crisis of identity. In our country, only 10 per cent of youth population is enrolled in higher educational institutions. The remaining 90 per cent who form the bulk of young India have no access to formal education. A large portion of the youth in the 15-25 age group who are illiterate or semi-literate have either not got involved in the primary schools at all, or have left primary school at an early age. The members of this group play a very important role in society. They are often engaged in economically productive occupations and are involved in many community activities as well. Social workers can work in campuses across the country and reach out to the students who pursue higher education in colleges and universities. For the remaining youth, intervention may be through other avenues like Youth Clubs, Nehru Yuvak Kendras, Nonformal Education Centres, Vocational Institutes and Non-Governmental Organizations.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Characteristics of Youth The youth of today form the administrative fabric of tomorrows society. The young are idealistic and can be rallied around a cause. It is easy to remove prejudices from young minds. Youth are generally alert, inquisitive, impressionable, and capable of being inspired by emotional commitments to service of the people and the country. Some attributes of youth are:

Youth are in the most dynamic stageimbibed with both the potential and thirst for learning. Youth grow better in an environment of spontaneity. Young people dislike people who are not comfortable with themselves. They can easily detect those who wear masks. Society must regard young people as best capable of building a new society. Youth Groups must be promoted to give youth the power of mutual sustenance.

Attributes Required by a Youth Worker To work with youth, a social worker requires the following attributes:

Accept the young as they are and believe in their capacities. Accept each ones uniqueness. Provide opportunities for their growth.

Education and Research


Give positive feedback/reinforcement. Foster trustworthy climate and maintain confidentiality. Recognize that they too have emotions.

Nature of Programmes for Youth The content of the programmes will depend upon educational attainments and needs of the youth. As many young persons will be workers a strong vocational element will have to be built in all educational programmes. New vocational skills will enable them to improve their economic status. As the members of this group are of marriageable age or already married, an important component will be family life education, including family planning. A programme on family life will interest the young and will also be beneficial. In brief, programmes for youth can include the following components:

General education (including functional literacy, where necessary) Vocational training (to improve existing skills and learn new vocational skills) Family life education (including family planning) Leadership training and personality development programmes Recreational and cultural pursuits


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Participation in programmes of social service or national development Social awareness and citizenship training (to understand the problems facing the society and the country) Health and nutrition education

Adult and Continuing Education Illiteracy is a major problem in India. We have the largest illiterate population in the world amounting to over 350 million people. Formal education has failed to solve the problem of illiteracy. Alternative channels of non-formal education for children and youth, and adult education for men and women are needed to tackle the problem. A programme of post-literacy and continuing education has to be planned in order that neo-literates do not lapse into illiteracy. Social work students can be involved in a big way in traditional adult literacy centres and through literacy campaigns which are going on in different parts of the country as part of the National Literacy Mission. Student social workers can involve in the following ways:

Conducting literacy survey in their respective areas to identify the illiterates. Motivate learners to join the literacy classes. Participate in environment building and motivational programmes by organizing street plays, rallies, media campaigns on the issue. Act as volunteer teachers and teach groups of youth, men and women in their respective areas.

Education and Research


Collaborate in the preparation of primer and other teaching-learning materials. Encourage neo-literates to continue learning by supplying reading material and monitoring their progress.

Social Work Practicum in Research Settings

Social work research has a unique role to play in enabling social work students, educators and practitioners to meet the growing demands of higher professional standards and accountability. Social work educators must integrate the theory and practice of social work with research in social work. Training in social work research must get integrated into the training of social workers as part and parcel of the teaching of courses. The critical analytical tools of the students must be sharpened in their field work practice. Field Work Placement in Research Institutes Integrating research and practice can be initiated from the very first stage of fieldwork training. Students may be helped to develop a research design and undertake a study of the problems of individuals/groups/ communities during their fieldwork training. The field work placement is intended to enable the students to associate themselves with ongoing research in Institutes and Universities offering social work education and in other research organisations in the city. Students need to be introduced to the


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

administrative and organisational aspects of research and research units. The main problems related to field work placement are: 1) There are very few institutes or organisations which have full-fledged social research units. 2) The available research centres are usually located in cities. Small cities and towns and rural areas may not offer much avenues for field placement in research based settings. 3) The initiating of research projects and the duration of these projects do not always coincide with the field work period of the students. Hence, the active participation of students in all phases of these projects is not possible. 4) During the concurrent field work period, the students spend only two days a week in the research unit and so have to gain the greater part of their knowledge from the project research staff on what was done during their absence. In spite of the problems of placement in research centres, research as an avenue for field placement cannot be ignored. Students need to be encouraged to take up research work while placed in community settings and also in NGOs who frequently undertake evaluation studies. Social work research offers an opportunity for social workers to make a significant difference in their professional standards and accountability to their intervention. Let us now try to understand the nature and role of

Education and Research


social research in general and social work research in particular. We will later examine the role of social surveys and evaluation studies. Role of Social Research Research may be described as systematic and critical investigation of phenomena towards increasing the stream of knowledge. Scientific research is defined as a systematic and critical investigation about the natural phenomena to describe, explain and finally to understand the relations among them. According to George Lundberg (1946), scientific method consists of three basic steps, viz., systematic observation, classification and interpretation of data. Social sciences primarily deal with human behaviour, which is complex and dynamic in nature. The object of social research is the discovery of causal relationships in human behaviour. Unlike physical and natural sciences, in social research, the objects are conscious and active human beings. Social research concerns with social data, which are much more complex than physical data. The complex nature of social data reduces the power of exact predication in social research. Much of the subject matter of social research is qualitative and does not admit quantitative measurement. Social Work Research: Nature and Scope Social work research is the use of the scientific method in the search of knowledge, including knowledge of alternate practice and intervention techniques. Social work research is the species that belongs to the


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

category of social research, or more specifically referred to as social science research. Definition of Social Work Research Social work research is the application of research methods to the creation of knowledge that is needed by social workers to solve problems in social work practice. According to Genevieve W Carter, Social work research is the systematic, critical investigation of questions in the social welfare field with the purpose of yielding answers to problems of social work and of extending and generalising social work knowledge and concepts. According to Webster, Social work research is a studious enquiry, usually critical and exhaustive investigation or experimentation having for its aim the revision of accepted conclusions in the light of newly accepted facts. Social work research focuses on select aspects of behaviour and alternate modes of behaviour modifications. Social work research searches for answers to questions raised regarding alternate interventions or treatments in social work practice. Social work research is a technique of social work in that social work research procedures are applied or utilised in the diagnosis of individual, group or community problems. For instance, a case worker is interested in obtaining information about the actual or potential effectiveness of the individuals, couples or families. Similarly, a community organiser wants to know the view of the community before he takes a decision to change the programme objectives.

Education and Research


Social work research, therefore, is a systematic investigation into the problems in the field of social work. The study of concepts, principles, theories, underlying social work methods and skills are the major concern of social work research. Historical Perspective A scientific orientation to social work was articulated in the late 19th century in the scientific philanthropy movement. The purpose was to enable the giving of relief to the poor a scientific endeavour. The role of research in building knowledge for practice also had its roots in the scientific philanthropy movement. Efforts were directed to identify the causes of social problems like poverty and delinquency. The early leaders of the profession hoped that social work might follow the example of medicine and engineering and draw its knowledge from the physical sciences. For social work, however, the logical knowledge base seemed to be the social sciences. Action or operations, research in social work found its earliest major expression in the survey movement, which began in the 1900s. The movement took place in a progressive climate and was spurred by increasing urban problems such as poverty, housing and child care. Other forms of operations research, including evaluations of programmes, statistical reports of services, were all in evidence at the beginning of the century. Thus, social work has a long tradition of using research procedures and data to inform and guide its programmes and activities.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Functions of Social Work Research Social work research basically deals with problems faced by professional social workers, social work agencies and the community. In social work research the study of a problem is done from the point of view of professional social work. As such the research design, data collection and their interpretation will have to be attempted in a manner as will be useful to professional social workers. The functions of research in social work are multifaceted: 1) The perspectives and methods of science can provide a framework for practice activities. 2) Research helps to build knowledge for practice. It can generate and refine concepts, determine the evidence for theories, and ascertain the effectiveness of practice methods. 3) Research serves the practical function of providing situation-specific data to inform action, such as operations of programmes or efforts to achieve social change. Content and Methodology In a broad sense, social work research concerns itself with the problems faced by social workers. It encompasses the questions and problems encountered in social work practices or in administering social work services. A rough idea of the content of social work research can be gleaned from various studies of the social work

Education and Research


research literature. Literature on social work research can be divided into four categories: studies of 1) the behaviour, personality, problems, and other characteristics of individuals, families, and small groups; 2) characteristics, utilization, and outcome of services; 3) attitudes, orientations, and training of social workers, the profession, or interdisciplinary concerns; and 4) organizations, communities, and social policy. Social work research utilizes the same scientific methods and techniques, as does social research. However, when some designs are not suitable, social workers need to develop the tools which will be more appropriate to social work research. According to analyses of published research, the major strategy in social work research is to study phenomena through naturalistic methods, that is, without experimental manipulation. Social Work Research in India Reasons for the stunted growth of social work research in India are many and include the following: 1) Inadequacy of funds, 2) Shortage of research personnel, 3) Inadequacy of research facilities, 4) Load of teaching,


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

5) Lack of research incentives, 6) Lack of research training, 7) Obstacles to communication and utilisation of research, and 8) Absence of machinery for research planning and coordination. Social Survey The survey movement was the predecessor of most contemporary forms of assessments of needs. Surveys have their usefulness both in leading to the formulation of hypotheses and at a more advanced stage in putting them to the test. According to C.A. Moser, The sociologists should look upon surveys as way and a supremely useful one of exploring the field of collecting data around as well as directly on the subject of study so that problem is brought into focus and points worth studying are suggested. Difference between Social Survey and Social Research Social Survey and Social Research, though identical in many respects, are not one and the same. The major differences between the two are: 1) Social surveys are concerned with specific persons, specific problems and situations, whereas social research is concerned with general and abstract problems. 2) In social survey the object is to fulfil immediate needs and use knowledge available at a given time. It is thus practical in nature. While in social

Education and Research


research the object is long time research in order to develop accurate procedures and theories. Its primary aim is theoretical in nature. 3) In social survey the purpose is to improve the lot of men and, hence, it is utilitarian in nature. Whereas in social research the purpose is to increase the general knowledge or improve the technique of study. It is thus purely academic or scientific in nature. 4) Social surveys result in social reform or administrative change. Social research results in the formulation of new theories or modification of old concepts. 5) Social survey may form the basis of some hypothesis, whereas social research develops the hypothesis and thus evolves a theory. 6) Social surveys are conducted on professional monetary basis. Many surveys are conducted on payment from interested parties e.g. opinion surveys. In social research thirst for knowledge and satisfaction is the main incentive for a social scientist. Evaluation Research in Social Work Evaluation research is an area of social work research and implies the use of research designs. Evaluation provides objective assessment of the performance. All programmes are evaluated for the results they have achieved or failed to achieve. Evaluation, apart from making an analysis of the progress made and problems faced in the


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

implementation of a programme also indicates the corrective measures necessary. Evaluation is, thus, an indispensable tool in the organizational process of improving both activities still in progress and for future programme planning and decision making. Concept of Evaluation Evaluation, literally means, assessing the value of. Evaluations are undertaken in all spheres of life, in formal or informal ways, whenever one wishes to know and understand the consequences of some action or event. Evaluation of development work may be undertaken during the implementation of the development programme or project or after it has been completed. The process of getting reliable data using scientific technique is known as evaluation. In a broad sense, the concept of evaluation research or programme evaluation connotes use of research methods to evaluation programmes or services. According to Rossi and Freeman (1993), evaluation is the systematic application of social research procedures for assessing the conceptualisation, design, implementation and utility of social intervention programs. Differences between Evaluation and Basic Research Social research, in general, and basic research, in particular, is carried on for its own sake. In a very broad sense evaluation research is applied social research. Evaluation research is a special branch of applied

Education and Research


research, designed to evaluate social programmes and projects, such as adult/non-formal education, welfare schemes, innovative intervention methods and health care systems. The findings of evaluation research are not meant merely to add to our knowledge or construct theories. They are more concerned about whether the programmes should continue or be abandoned, whether budgets should be enhanced or reduced and whether the programme achieved its goals. Evaluation research is designed with a shorter time span than basic research as it is carried out to evaluate ongoing programmes. The social problems are not solved immediately, but decisions about programmes are made immediately. The need for quick and definite answers makes evaluation research different from basic research. Types of Evaluation Research It is difficult to make precise categorization of numerous types of evaluation used by researchers. Some researchers prefer to classify evaluation research according to evaluators, i.e., the persons responsible for evaluation for the programme. Based on this classification, evaluation researches can be of three types: a) Internal Evaluation It is a continuous process of self-evaluation by principal actors and participants according to preestablished criteria. Here, the personnel and the executive of the agency and the group participate.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

b) External Evaluation Here, persons outside the agency do the evaluation. External evaluators are chosen mainly because the outsiders are more objective or at least neutral. Besides, having specialists who possess expert technical knowledge can add fresh thinking and enhance the credibility of the results. c) Joint Evaluation Here, external evaluators and one or more representatives of the organization are involved. Joint evaluations, though difficult, enable training of agency personnel and gaining their ownership of results. Social work practitioners are constantly evaluating effectiveness. A social case worker evaluates the extent to which changes in the anxiety of a particular client are associated with his or her treatment activities. Similarly, a group worker wishes to asses the extent to which a film on birth control is more or less effective than group discussion in increasing knowledge of birth control. All such evaluations are not evaluation research because most of the time we do not think of applying scientific method. We use a term called informal evaluation for all such evaluations. Need for Programme Evaluation NGOs and donor agencies need to prepare systematic evaluation reports of their effectiveness. Though NGOs have increased in number there have been very few evaluation studies on their effectiveness.

Education and Research


NGOs that undertake welfare schemes and provide services to individuals, groups and communities are concerned about the outcome of their services. They need to know whether the services are effective and relevant or whether the goals have been achieved. Besides, the funding organizations want reliable evidence to know if funds have been effectively utilized. It needs to be mentioned that systematic evaluation has not been given due attention either by the NGOs or by the funding agencies. Most of the NGOs assess their outcome by presenting individual success stories to justify their performance. The donor agencies mainly rely on annual progress reports and evidences collected during their field visits. NGOs and funding agencies need to realise that evaluation research is an integral part of the projects. Evaluation research can play multifarious roles to make services more effective. The various role of evaluation research at different stages of programme planning, implementation and outcome can be classified into three categories: a) Evaluation research for programme formulation,

b) Evaluation research for monitoring of programmes, and c) Evaluation research for programme outcome.

This chapter has given you a broad framework for field setting in the area of education and research. From pre-school stage to higher education and research


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

undertakings, social workers can play an important role. School social work has changed with the dynamic changes of society. School social workers diagnose students problems and arrange needed services, counsel children in trouble, and help integrate disabled students into the general school population. School social workers deal with problems such as learning difficulties, misbehaviour in class, and excessive absences. They also advise teachers on how to cope with problem students. School Social Workers are, thus, a vital part of the total educational team. The purpose of evaluation research is to assess the utility of social intervention and human service programmes. Student social workers placed in NGOs can help the internal and external evaluation teams and thereby get knowledge of evaluating procedures besides helping the concerned organisation in undertaking evaluation. Social workers can achieve their potential as a contributing member of the social work profession when they are competent with research methods. Research knowledge will enable you to reach higher goals.

Dale, Reidar. Evaluation Frameworks for Development Programmes and Projects. New Delhi: Sage Publications India Pvt. Ltd., 1998. Das, D K Lal. Practice of Social Research: Social Work Perspective. Jaipur: Rawat Publications, 2000.

Education and Research


Ramachandran, P. Issues in Social Work Research in India. A Felicitation Volume. Bombay: Tata Institute of Social Sciences, 1990. Skidmore, Rex A., and Milton G. Thackeray. Introduction to Social Work. 3rd ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc., 1982. Stroup, Herbert Hewitt. Social Work: An Introduction to the Field. 2nd ed. New Delhi: Eurasia Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., 1960.

16 Correctional Services
*Sangeeta Dhaor

All societies place restriction and limits on human behaviour and establish both formal and informal means to deal with those who exceed the limits. Formal means find expression in written laws and institutional structure, that identify, charge convict and sentence violators. This crime control apparatus is called criminal justice system. The response to crime is a complex process that involves citizens as well as agencies and branches of government. The criminal justice system is designed to control crime and contribute towards a safe and orderly society. There are really many levels of criminal justice systems and much of the response to crime usually involves local officials. The total system seeks to properly identify law violators establish guilt, issue an appropriate sanction and change offenders behaviour. These responsibilities are carried out by police, courts and corrections component within a framework of democratic principles designed to protect
* Sangeeta Dhaor, Dr.B.R. Ambedkar College, Delhi University, Delhi.

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all individuals civil rights. Officials are legally permitted to exercise wide discretion in determining a persons entry into, movement through and exit from the system.

Definition and Philosophy

Correction is one segment of criminal justice system by which the society seeks to protect the public, punish offenders, change behaviour and in some cases compensate victims. Since a wide range of social and political objectives are expressed in criminal justice and correctional processes, various degrees of supervision are in operation. Supervision ranges from a minimal amount within the community to maximum security incarceration. Criminals are not born but made. The human potential in every one is good and so one must never write off any criminal as beyond redemption. Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru always maintained that harsh sentencing under rigorous conditions did not serve the humanizing purpose of punishment. On the subject of crime Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation, had once said Crime is outcome of a diseased mind and jail must have an environment of a hospital for treatment. We firmly believe in this principle and, during the last 56 years, we have tried to convert our prisons into the correctional institutions. The main goal of prison administration in India, today is to develop a sense of discipline and security among prisoners, and to reform and rehabilitate them in the given social milieu through appropriate correctional interventions. We also


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

aim to equip the prisoners with such skills and abilities as will help them to lead a normal life as a citizen, once they are let out of prisons. We share a universally held view that sentence of imprisonment would be justifiable only if it ultimately leads to protection of society against crime. Such a goal could be achieved only if incarceration motivates and prepares the offender for a law-abiding and selfsupporting life after his release. It further accepts that, as imprisonment deprives the offender of his liberty and self-determination, the prison system should not be allowed to aggravate the suffering already inherited in the process of incarceration. Thus, while certain category of offenders, who endanger public safety, have to be segregated from the social mainstream by way of imprisonment; all possible efforts have to be made to ensure that they come out of prisons as better individuals than what they were at the time of their admission thereto. Keeping this in mind in a number of judgments on various aspects of prison administration, the Supreme Court of India has evolved three broad principles: 1) A person in prison does not become a non-person. 2) 3) A person in prison is entitled to all human rights within the limitations of imprisonment. There is no justification in aggravating the suffering already inherent in the process of incarceration.

Obviously, these principles have serious implications for prison administration. They call for a thorough restructuring of the prison system in terms of

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humanization of prison conditions, minimum standards for institutional care, reorientation of prison staff, reorganization of prison programme and rationalization of prisons rules and regulations.

History of Prison in India

The historical account of jails in our country can be traced back to the Epic age. In Ramayana, when Bharata saw Rama at Chitrakut, the latter, while making detailed inquiry about the state of polity and welfare of people of Ayodhya, did not forget to elicit the situation in jail there. References of jail are also there in the Mahabharata. In those mythological period there were eighteen important state officials and one of them was the head of the institution of jail (karagriha). In Manusmriti it is stated that (the King) should have all the prisons built on the royal highway, where the suffering and mutilated evil doers can be seen. There were also horrific punishments like feeding to animals, mutilations etc .We have locked up people in our country (in dungeons and cellars) to get them out of sight and often to await some other punishment such as banishing, ostracizing, and death. This includes the locking up of Krishnas parents in a dungeon with seven doors in Mathura where Krishna was born. The preBuddhist jails were said to be very cruel. Here, the inmates were, kept in chains and under heavy loads. Whipping was a daily routine in these jails. Account of Ashokas Naraka (hell) was included in the writings of Huien Tsang and Fa-Hien. Good and humane treatment of prisoners was unknown in this period. During Muslim period, old forts and castles served the purpose of regular prisons. These prisons were not as


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

cruel as the pre Buddhist prisons. Since Independence, a number of jail reforms committees have been appointed by state governments. There was a report on Jail Administration in India by the UN expert, Dr. W.C. Reckless in 1951-52. His recommendations resulted in the revival of the conference of Inspector Generals of Prisons after a lapse of 17 years. An All India Jail Management Committee submitted its report in 1960. This resulted in the settings up of the Central Bureau of Correctional Services, which was later redesigned as the National Institute of Social Defense. Lord McCauley Commission Report, 1835 In this report Lord McCauley suggested the abolition of outdoor labor, general introduction of indoor work, the inauguration of separate system, better classification of convicts, careful separation of untried prisoners, the institution of central or convict prisons, and the regulation of prison system generally by employment of inspectors of prisons were the main recommendations of this report. The Prison Discipline Committee, 1836 Lord William Bentick appointed the second committee on Jan 2, 1836 under the Chairmanship of H Shakespeare, a member of Governor Generals Council. This committee is known as the Prison Discipline Committee. They submitted a report in 1838 to Lord Auckland. The major observations are the rampant corruption in the establishment, laxity of discipline, and the system of employing prisoners on extra- mural labor. The committee recommended increased rigorous

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treatment and rejected all notions of reforming criminals through moral and religious teaching, education or any system of rewards for good conduct. It recommended separation of untried prisoners from the convicted ones. Another notable recommendation of this committee is the request for establishing the office of Inspector General of Prisons Commission of Jail Management and Discipline, 1864 A second committee was appointed in 1864 to reconsider the whole question addressed by the first committee. Sir John Lawrences examination of the condition of the jails in India led Lord Dalhousie to appoint this Commission of Jail Management and Discipline.. This commission made specific recommendation regarding the accommodation, improvement in diet, clothing, bedding, medical care of the prisoners and for the appointment of Medical Officers in jails. The commission also recommended the separation of male prisoners from females and children from adults. The Fourth Jail Commission, 1888 In 1888, the fourth jail commission was appointed by Lord DufFerin to inquire into the facts of prison. This commission reviewed the earlier reports (reports of 1836, 1864, and 1877) and made an exhaustive inquiry into all matters connected with jail administration. It was of the opinion that uniformity could not be achieved without enactment of a single Prisons Act. It also recommended the setting up of jail


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

The Prisons Act, 1894 Based on the 1888 Jail Commissions report, a consolidated prison bill was prepared. This bill was later passed. Thus came into being the Prisons Act, 1894 which is the existing law governing the management and administration of prisons in India. This Act, as it is, based on deterrent principles concerned more with prison management than with the treatment of prisoners and gave more consideration to prison offences and punishments than to their effect. The Indian Jail Committee, 1919-20 The Indian Jail Committee 1919-20 made the first comprehensive study of the problems in the present century. This committee report was treated as a turning point of the prison reforms in the country. The committee departed from the vintage theoretical basis of prison administration-(deterrents) and advocated for a new outlook to the prisons. For the first time in the history of prisons, reformation and rehabilitation of offenders were identified as the objectives of prison administration. The committee also recommended the care of criminals should be entrusted to adequately trained staff, rejected the idea of excessive employment of convict officers and recommended the reduction of such excessive employment. The committee condemned the presence of children in jails and recommended the establishment of childrens court and the juvenile homes. Reckless Commission Report, 1952 Dr. W C Reckless, a UN Expert on correctional work, visited India during the years 1951-52 to study prison

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administration in the country and to suggest ways and means of improving it. His report Jail Administration in India is another landmark in the history of prison reforms. He made a plea for transforming jails into reformation centers and advocated establishment of new jails. He opposed the handling of juvenile delinquents by courts, jails, and police meant for adults. He also advocated the detention of the persons committed to the prison custody and for their reformation and rehabilitation. He recommended revision of outdated jail manuals All India Committee on Jail Reforms, 1980-83 In 1980 Government of India constituted All India Committee on Jail Reforms under the chairmanship of Justice Anand Narain Mulla. The recommendation of this commission, universally known as MULLA COMMISSION constitute a landmark in the reformatory approach to prison reforms. The commission made thorough study of the problems and produced an exhaustive document which is still considered as bible of correctional services. The Mulla Committee examined all aspects of prison administration and made wideranging recommendations, which if implemented would go a long way to make prison administration efficient, humane and professional. The recommendations of the Mulla Committee touched upon legislative, operational, security aspects besides matters like classification of prisoners, living conditions in prison, medical and psychiatric services, treatment programs, vocational training for prison inmate, problems related to undertrials and other un-convicted prisoners, problems of women prisoners etc. The report laid emphasis on the


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

management of prisons to be entrusted to a cadre of professionals. Fragmentation of Corrections There is a fragmentation of correction on the basis of a number of factors. Main sources of fragmentation are as follows: By jurisdiction a) Central b) State c) Local By criminal justice function a) Police b) Courts c) Corrections By location a) Institutional b) Non-institutional By age a) Adult b) Juvenile By other factors a) Size of operation

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b) Sex of offender c) Type of offence d) Special program All these fragments come under one master classification which is statutory and non statutory. Statutory is the category covered under Indian Penal Code and other laws. Correctional work with adult prisoners comes under this category wherein minor prisoners are sent to Welfare Homes and Nari Niketan (in case of females). Other statutory ones come under social legislations like JJ (Care and Protection) Act, 2000, Immoral Trafficking (prevention) Act, 1956, and Bombay Prevention of begging Act, 1959.

Correctional Administration
The success of correctional administration mainly depends on the faith, philosophy and efficiency of the correctional personnel. Prison officers play a pivotal role and have a most difficult task on hand. Good professional relationship between staff and prisoners are essential elements of dynamic security. Carefully selected, properly trained, supervised and supported staff goes a long way in performing efficiently. The role of prison staff is to: i) treat prisoners in a manner which is decent, and just; humane,

ii) ensure that all prisoners are safe; iii) make sure that dangerous prisoners do not escape;


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

iv) make sure that there is good order and control in prisons; and v) provide prisoners with the opportunity to use their time in prison positively so that they will be able to resettle into society when they are released.

It is found that prison staff helps in guarding against this insularity. Staff needs to remain sensitive to changes in the society and consequential changes in prison administration. Correctional programmes in prisons in nearly all parts of the globe show a significant trend towards specialisation, diversification and experimentation. Another important trend is the substitution of the individualized treatment to prisoners based on their reformative requirements for the earlier doctrine of equal punishment for same crime (individualization). The third major trend in prison administration involves an attempt to reduce the social barrier between inmates of the correctional institutions and the civilian community. There is also increasing interest in the possibility that the society or groups of prisoners can be utilised for therapeutic purposes. Group therapy and other devices aimed at increasing inmates participation in the routine affairs of prison administration are designed to reduce the barrier between the society and the administrative policy and to give the inmates desired degree of self-esteem and confidence. Tihar Prisons have a history of reformation programmes in tune with the current correctional philosophy. Education, Cultural activities, Vocational activities and

Correctional Services


Moral Education etc. have been going on in Tihar Jails for a long time as a part of the efforts of the Prison Administration for reformation of the prisoners. In the last ten years the process has accelerated and received world wide attention. The reformation package tried out by the Delhi Prison Administration is popularly termed as New Delhi correctional model, the basic characteristics of which are: i) Bringing the community into the prison.

ii) Formation of a self-sufficient community of prisoners iii) Participative management. This model strikes a balance between the approaches of Privatisation of Prison administration and the Half way houses. The New Delhi correctional Model has been presented and discussed in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch at UNO, Vienna and other international and national conferences. It has been deeply appreciated. Women in Detention Respect for gender dignity and rehabilitative concern for women is very important consideration in all correctional institutions and personnel in the Criminal Justice System. The police, prison, correctional and judicial personnel involved in the handling of women, are especially trained to ensure this and their knowledge are updated in laws and procedures applicable to women. Taking into account the special role of women in family life


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

and social development and the vulnerability of girls, the current policy of the Criminal Justice System is to avoid the arrest and detention of women to the extent possible. In cases where women are taken into custody, all provisions regarding protection of their person and rights are scrupulously adhered to. At no stage, a woman arrestee is left unguarded by police women or other women authorised by the Government. Whenever, women are detained or kept in custody, in addition to basic amenity and privacy, the prison administration makes every effort to provide the essentials for meeting the womens special needs Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act, 2000 Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act, 2000 considers any person below the age of 16 as child. Person who has acquired the age of 16 but not 18 is considered a minor JJ (Care and protection of children) Act, 2000 focuses on two kinds of juveniles, a) Juveniles in need of care and protection,

b) Juveniles in conflict with law. There is distinction between the children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with the law. Children in need of care and protection are the ones who do not have any place of abode and are found begging, working and in conditions of vulnerability. Such children are taken and produced before child welfare committee and later sent to juvenile homes till they attain the age of 18 and efforts are made towards rehabilitating them either into their own family or

Correctional Services


arranging for adoption, foster care, or sponsorship. If needed institutionalization of such children is also done though it is not a very favorable option Juveniles in conflict with law These juveniles are identified through regular criminal justice process wherein when a person is caught in some offence, his/her age is verified. If that person happens to be a minor or juvenile, comes under the jurisdiction of JJ Act (Care and protection of children) 2000, such a person is produced before special courts which comprises of two social workers apart from one honorary magistrate. The law pertaining to what are now called children in conflict with the law has undergone a few changes. The adjudicating authority has been redesigned as the Juvenile Justice Board and the composition has changed from an adjudicating authority which was a Magistrate with a panel of two social workers to assist her as prescribed under the old law to a Bench which is composed of two social workers and one Magistrate. This change in composition of the adjudicating authority is one of the more significant changes in the new law, as now the space exists for bringing about a change in the very nature of the inquiry. The primary inquiry of whether the child did commit the offence as mandated by a magistrates training could now be displaced by a social workers inquiry, which could focus in on why the child committed the offence, and how does one redress the same. The shift in composition of the Board can bring about a shift in the line of inquiry from intention to motive. Thus what could change has been referred to as the criminal law mindset itself. This is in


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

effect an important step towards decriminalizing the administration of juvenile justice, provided the rules operationalize the same. The role of social workers in this setting pertains to identifying the cause of the offence and making necessary recommendations for the rehabilitation of such chidren. Children in need of care and protection In case of children in need of care and protection adequate social investigation is done so as to rehabilitate them back to their families. If the families are not found to take care of the children adequately then other options are sought. Social worker can serve in juvenile homes as well as observation homes by way of group work or social case work with the client; juvenile, in this case is helped to develop an understanding of his problem, look at the resources available to him and involve them in the decision pertaining to them. Involving community in activities of children such as celebration of some important days or cultural activities is also undertaken. Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1960 Another social legislation is Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act which deals with prevention of soliciting in public. Under this act two kinds of persons are caught-ones who are accused and the others ones who are victims. Accused are the ones who are touts or pimps or who voluntarily work as sex worker and solicit client at public places or arrange clients for madams. These people are dealt with as per the provision of the

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Act and sent to jail after trial. Another category is of the victims who indulge in sex work under pressure. Such victims are verified for age and in case of person being minor or juvenile the case is referred to Child Welfare Committee under JJ (Care and Protection of children) Act, 2000. In case the victim being major she is sent to Nari Niketan where social workers work towards the rehabilitation of these women. They are sent back to their families or to the ones who claim only after thorough verification. In case the minor is trafficked from neighboring countries she is handed over to the concerned embassy. Bombay Prevention of Beggary Act, 1956 Beggary is an offence. Under this, persons who are found begging are caught by the police and within 24 hours produced before the magistrate. In case of it being a first offence bail is granted to the person. If the person is a habitual offender (Bagger in this case) he is sent to baggers home and is given vocational training as to prevent him from bagging in future. In this case also the persons are verified for the age and in case of offender being minor comes under the purview of JJ (Care and Protection) Act, 2000.

Correctional Social Work

It refers to application of social work principles to correctional setting. Most individual who are performing therapeutic and quasi therapeutic functions in correction setting such as probation or parole officers and institutional counselors are operating under the umbrella of correctional social work. But it is not a


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

smooth sail as there are many barriers in the administration of justice and rehabilitative approach to the offenders; Presence of such barriers endures belief that behaviour can be modified by coercive punishment and also militates against treatment advances. Social work emerged as a profession in the twentieth century and today is the profession charged with fulfilling the social welfare mandate of promoting wellbeing and quality of life. Thus, social work encompasses activities directed at improving human and social conditions and alleviating human distress and social problems. Social workers, as caring professionals, work with people to enhance their competence and functioning, to access social support and resources, to create humane and responsive social services, and to expand the structures of society that provide opportunities for all citizens. In the main, counseling and in particular casework is the method that is being applied in prison social work, even though conscious efforts are being made to place emphasis on both group work and community work. Social work in prison does not follow any particular framework for practice. This makes it difficult for practitioners to clearly define their point of departure. To conclude, social work practitioners should acknowledge and respond to the real environmental and emotional crises that can be created by incarceration. Each offender has the capacity to grow and develop to be a constructive member of the family, community and society. Prisoners are responsible for their behavioural change. A central component of valuing the individual is recognizing the individual in relation to their family and community.

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Workers challenge attitudes and behaviours, which result in crime and cause distress, or harm to victims and others. Initiatives such as diversion, community services, parole, probation, correctional supervision and the conversion of imprisonment sentences to those of a communitybased treatment should be explored to minimize reoffending or recidivism. Social workers in correctional facilities provide two types of services: supportive services within the institution and connections to resources in the community. Within a correctional facility, social work services might be utilized in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, education, and vocational rehabilitation. This will help social workers to understand the prison environment and offender better. Probation The earlier penological approaches held imprisonment that is custodial measure to be the only way to curb crime. But the modern penological approach has ushered in new form of sentencing whereby the needs of the community are balanced with the best interests of the accused. Compensation, release on admonition probation, imposition of fines, community services are a few such techniques used. Probation is derived from Latin word which means to test or to prove. It is developed as custodial alternative which is used where guilt is established but it is considered that imposing of a prison sentence would do no good. Imprisonment decreases his capacity to readjust to the normal society after release and association with professional delinquents often has


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

undesired effects. During probation the probationer lives in the community. He regulates his own life under conditions imposed by court or other constituted authority and is subjected to supervision by a probation officer. Court if it is convinced that no previous conviction is proved against him, and with regards to age, sex, and antecedents of the offender may order the release on probation of good conduct. The court may direct that he/she be released on his entering into a bond with or without sureties to appear and receive sentence when called up and in the meantime to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. Section 361 makes it mandatory for the judge to declare the reason for not awarding the benefit of probation; often offender is under 21 years of age. Probation in India mostly depends on the policy of the state. After care program has been set up to improve the lives of those released on probation. In all the settings the after care and follow up are an integral part to prevent recidivism. After care is micro constituent of the principle of social defence which is a term used in correctional frame of reference. After Care Concept of after care The term after care refers to the programme and services organized for the rehabilitation of inmates from correctional institution. It can be used to refer to the programme and services organized to complete the

Correctional Services


process of rehabilitation of socially and physically handicapped individual or group which have been begun and carried up to a particular stage in an institution. The model prison describes it as a bridge which can carry the offender or any other socially or physically handicapped individual from artificial and restricted environment of institutional custody; from doubts and difficulty and from hesitation and handicap to satisfactory citizenship; resettlement and to ultimate rehabilitation in the free community. After care thus is a continuation of the reformative rehabilitation endeavor for the helping service, guidance counseling support and protection of persons released from juvenile and adult institution meant for socially and physically handicapped individuals. Social work approach in correctional setting implies a philosophy as well as application of techniques for problem solving. Operational philosophy of social work rests on three specific premises. 1) Function of intervention is to target on a problem in social function. 2) Social work conceives problem solving as a partnership activity between social worker and client. 3) Response to the client means most and equilibrium is best restored at the point of crisis so crisis, related social work should be emphasized. Some of the important skills and techniques of social work with the clients are:


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Counseling It is a relationship in which one endeavor to help another understand and solve his problem of adjustment. It is distinguished from advice or admonition in that it implies mutual consent. It has as its goal the immediate solution of a personal problem or long range effort to develop self understanding and maturity. Insight and empathy Perceptive understanding is required on the part of the social worker who develops insight into the problem of the client/offender by empathy. Empathy is a critical ingredient in the therapeutic process: Getting into the clients frame of reference. Interviewing Interviewing is a professional conversation with a purpose. Effective communication is at the heart of positive human interaction. Interviewing is different from intense psychotherapy and counseling. Interview is basic while counseling is the epitome of positive guided interaction. In correctional setting there are a few issues which must be kept in mind The captive client Here the client because of the constrained setting is captive. Presence during the sessions is not voluntary and somewhat imposed. Hence it is a very responsible process and the whole environment should be lighthearted. There is needed a structured permissive

Correctional Services


relationship between the client and interviewer. This relationship should allow the client gain an understanding of himself to a degree which enables him take positive step in the light of a new environment. Stigma and self esteem Oxford Dictionary describes stigma as a mark of disgrace. It should be kept in mind that becoming an offender and coming in conflict with law has a deeper impact on the self esteem of the client, as the society treats them as marginalized and stigmatized. Sometimes the client internalize the stigma and behaves in a very different way (defensive or abusive) Hence the social worker has to keep these factors in mind before entering into any kind of intervention with them.

Role of NGOs
There is considerable scope for NGOs and voluntary agencies to work in the field of treatment, after care and rehabilitation of offenders. If the services of well organized NGOs could be obtained on a regular basis, it would be desirable to assign a role for them as visualized by the Mulla Committee in regard to the following: a) Services of experts in education, medicine, psychiatry, law, social work, the media etc. could be utilized in the formulation of correctional policy by associating them with advisory committees at the national and state levels. b) Appointments of eminent citizens interested in correctional work as visitors to prisons. They could


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

also be appointed as non-official members on sentence reviewing boards for district and central prisons. c) In conducting adult education and free legal aid programs; d) Running health camps; e) Organizing recreational and cultural activities; f) Individual coaching to inmates pursuing higher studies; and g) The NGOs should play a greater role in creating the right kind of awareness about the prison administration and the core problems of correctional sub-systems with a view to eliciting public cooperation. There is increasing public awareness in regard to human rights and the need to adhere to humanitarian laws and in issues like custodial violence and deaths, unduly long detention of persons under special laws like Tada. A number of after care programmes are being run by the government with the help of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which are acting as a bridge between the prisoners and the community. These services are offered to the prisoners on their release. The Prison Departments are also providing tool kits of trades to released prisoners to achieve self-employment. Prison Welfare Officer also helps released prisoners in availing grant or loan under various development schemes. In certain states, half-way homes have also been set up especially for women prisoners who are facing problems of rehabilitation.

Correctional Services


There are many constraints pertaining to the role and position of social worker in correctional setting.

The working conditions of social workers should be investigated and reengineered to effect better rehabilitation services to the offender. Re-visit social work salaries, positions and promotions to improve morale and level of job-satisfaction of social workers. The size of social problems in prison and the paucity of social workers call for a generalist social worker who is able to attend to the overall needs of a family. However, developments in social work attest to the need for specialization of social workers in some sectors of social work practice: e.g. youth centers, probation and parole and long-term

Correction is one segment of criminal justice system by which the society seeks to protect the public, punish offenders, change behaviour and in some cases compensate victims. It took long to develop the concept of correction in Indian prisons, though the history of prisons is long and horrifying. It took the efforts of Mulla committee to light a ray of hope in the prison reforms. The kind of efforts which are required for organizing correctional services and their delivery are taught in the form of various skills and techniques in the teaching of social work profession. The philosophy of correctional as well as that of social work get along well. It is realized that there is a very important role of social workers in the field of correctional services. The roles of social worker in correctional setting include those of advocacy,


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

broker, mediator, catalyst, social control agent, and community organizer among others. Social workers also provide services in the areas of advocacy, brokerage, and linkages between incarcerated individuals and their community ties. In addition to that the social workers input may influence decisions regarding a residents movement within and between facilities as well as decisions made by parole boards and courts of law.

Snarr W. Richard, Introduction to corrections. 3 rd ed.Brown & Benchmark, 1996. Chakrabarti N.K.,Institutional Correctios, In the Administration of Criminal Justice-Deep & Deep Publications, 1999. Carney P. Louis, Corrections: Treatment and Philosophy. Prentice Hall,Inc. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 07632. Tripathi S.C. and Arora Vibha, Laws Relating to Women and Children, Central Law Publications, 2005. Vernun BFox, Stinchcomb B.Jeanne, Introduction to Corrections, Prentice Hall Career & Technology Englewood Cliffs NJ 07632, 1994. Kant Anjani, Women & Law. Rawat Publications. Carter Robert M. Glaser Deniel, Wilkins Leslit. Probation Payrole and Community Correction. 3Rd Edn. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Johnson, Elemer H. Crime Correction and Society. 4th Edn. (1978). Dorsy Press.

Correctional Services


Report of the All India Committee on Jail Reforms: 1980-83, Vol. I, II, Govt. of India.,,,,,,,, http://

17 Corporate Sector, Donor Agencies and NGOs

*Joseph Verghese

The aim of any private enterprise is to maximize profit and give its owners/ shareholders the maximum return on their investment. However, even in free market countries private enterprises are not allowed complete freedom. Governments do administer a number of regulations related to pollution, labor, prices, and quality standards. Controls are administered so that the functioning of the enterprises does not cause injury to the society then and in the future. Often these regulations are made in form of laws which the government implements. The enterprises are also taxed. The basis for the administration of these measures is that while enterprises are private initiatives they are very much part of the society and benefit from its resources. For example, an enterprise gets its clients/ buyers and employees from the society. Hence, the private enterprises have a responsibility towards the society also. Thus the immediate stakeholders of any company are its owners, shareholders, employees,
* Joseph Verghese, Christ College, Bangalore.

Corporate Sector, Donor Agencies and NGOs


buyers, and distributors. In the larger sense all members of the society are its stakeholders. Industrialists during the early days of industrial capitalism did not have the idea of social responsibility. Consequently there existed 16 hours working days with no holidays, child labour, no security control on pollution. Gradually with the increased pressure from labour movements and growing awareness, industries allowed regulation in these areas by the state. Presently government and increasingly international bodies act as watchdog of the industry performance in these areas. For example, the issue of climate change has lead to intergovernmental cooperation to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases by companies. How much regulation is needed and its effectiveness is subject of perennial debate. Corporate social responsibility is presently used and advocates that corporate should do more than just follow laws, it should actively participate in efforts to enhance the well-being of the society. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is defined in many ways. McWilliams and Siegel (2001) define it as situations where the firm goes beyond compliance and engages in actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law. Others have given a broader view of CSR. According to this view, all actions that a corporate does to benefit the society can be called CSR. It need not be voluntary as it can be statutorily enforced (Hib, 2004). Thus, all decisions, which affect all the stakeholders, are part of CSR.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

There are many who feel that CSR can help the corporate in many ways. It has contributed to profitability and sustainability. The sustainability factors include governance and management, stakeholder engagement, environmental process improvement, environmental products and services, local economic development, community development, and human resource management. It can prevent the loss customers, shareholders and even customers (ibid, p3).

Corporate Social Responsibility in India

Indian industry has been engaged in the CSR initiatives for a long time. Mahatma Gandhis theory of trusteeship aimed at making the industry owners trustees of the industry. The industry would be run for the benefit of the society rather than for private benefit. The first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru addressing a meeting said ... [Business has] responsibility to itself, to its customers, workers, shareholders and the community ... every enterprise, no matter how large or small, must, if it is to enjoy confidence and respect, seek actively to discharge its responsibilities in all directions ...and not to one or two groups, such as shareholders or workers, at the expense of community and consumer. Business must be just and humane, as well as efficient and dynamic. A number of corporate and the business houses have initiated a number of initiatives. For example, the Tatas have supported a number of social initiatives. The Tata institute of social sciences is one of its significant initiatives, which started professional social work

Corporate Sector, Donor Agencies and NGOs


education. After liberalization process was started in the government it has asked corporate to participate more actively in social development. According to a survey, three core elements in CSR exist in India which are as follows: 1) Community development: Most large companies either have their own foundations or contribute to other initiatives that directly support the community upliftment, notably in health, education, and agriculture. 2) Environmental management: Environ mental policies and programmes are now standardized, and many companies have implemented the ISO 14 001 system throughout their businesses. 3) Workplace: Growing out of long-standing commitments to training and safety a more recent emphasis has been on knowledge and employee well-being. Professional social workers are mostly engaged in the first and third function. Scope of Social Work in Corporate Social Initiatives The professional social worker has to play an important role in CSR initiatives in the country. Indian CSR has focused mainly on the community development initiative and workers welfare. Social workers can assist CSR in the following ways. 1) Assisting the corporate to convert social responsibility into initiatives Interpreting social responsibility is the primary responsibility of the social work. Often corporates


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

are willing to spend resources for social initiatives but are unaware of how it should be operationalised. Most of them busy are running the business that they do not get enough time to conceptualize the initiative. Social work can identify the client groups, understand their needs, and formulate programmes to address their problems. There is an increasing tendency to place MBAs in the role of managers of social initiatives as it is assumed that their management skill will result in greater efficiency. In fact, MBAs are being placed in social work agencies all over the world. However many of them do not have an understanding of the client dynamics and provide unrealistic solutions. Therefore, while a multidisciplinary approach is useful the social worker has to educate the other professionals to understand client system. Another tendency is to convert social initiatives into public relation exercises and get media attention. While this is a legitimate objective, it can result in paying lip service and publicity seeking initiatives. 2) Implement the programme Various programmes can be implemented by the social worker through various methods of social work.

Social Work Practicum in the Corporate Sector

The option of doing fieldwork in the corporate sector is increasing as increasing number of industries are

Corporate Sector, Donor Agencies and NGOs


starting CSR initiatives. For students it is an opportunity to gain practical experience in an agency whose competence is not in community development, counseling, etc. CSR for the corporates are an important area of work but definitely not their priority. Secondly, often the relationship between the various departments and the department which handles CSR, is not clear or well defined. Defining the role of the department in the corporate and disseminating information about its initiative within the company is itself major exercise for the students placed in the corporates other areas of interest in practicum are: 1) Assist in the formulation of the projects Activities to assist the formulation of the projects include determining the objectives, the target population, their needs and programmes. 2) Implement the projects Tasks in implementing the projects include breaking down the programme components, division of responsibilities, mobilizing the target population and performing various tasks and monitoring their progress. The methods of social work-casework, group work and community organization are used in this stage of work. 3) Ensure publicity of the programme within and outside the corporate about the programmes Publicity about the corporates programme in the larger society is an important activity from its point of view. If the programme is sufficiently large, coverage by the press maybe expected. Even


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

otherwise publicity in form of banners, handouts, and brochures can be prepared. 4) Another equally important area is the awareness about the programmes within the corporates itself among its employees. It is their involvement in the programmes and their appreciation that will encourage the corporate to continue to engage in similar programmes. Programmes have to be formulated so that it is possible for the employees to be part of the programmes and benefit from the moral satisfaction that is obtaining by helping the needy. For achieving this object the programmes have to be imaginative enough to catch the attention of the employees and be agreeable to their value system. It should be planned during such periods when the employees can spend their time and energy in these extra activities. It is only when the corporate investments in CSR brings about tangible returns in form of publicity and morale of its employees will CSR be promoted and supported. 5) Evaluation of the programme seeks to study as to what degree the objectives of the programme are achieved and how far have been the participation of the employees. CSR is an emerging area of the work for social worker. Increasingly government, associations, corporates, and social scientists are calling for greater involvement of the corporate in the social sector. It is also an opportunity for social workers to gain entry in a sector which is bound to grow in the coming decades.

Corporate Sector, Donor Agencies and NGOs


Field Work in NGOs

NGOs are characterized by the following characteristics: (1) Non profit orientation, (2) autonomy from state and its direct control, (3) initiative from the civil society, (4) working for public good on basis of mutual aid, self help and helping other. The predominant feature of the NGO sector is its variety. The variety is seen in different aspects of the NGO movement. The NGO approaches the issues in different ways. The size and level of competence is also different. Increasingly NGOs are professionalizing them. NGOs are hiring professionals like social workers, lawyers, doctors, scientists and management professionals. NGOs are run on formal lines and there are departments to handle the work. There is growing awareness and acceptance of the work of NGOs among the people. Socially committed individuals are also opting for a career in this sector. NGOs are also collaborating with governments to influence policy and implement programmes. Functions of NGOs 1) implementation of development programmes, 2) provision of services like child care, counseling and legal aid, 3) mobilizing people to demand services and protest against injustice, 4) advocacy for unrepresented people, 5) research, 6) creating awareness among the people on important issues, 7) running homes for the destitute, refugees, disease afflicted persons, 8) deaddiction and rehabilitation centers.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Practicum in NGOs 1) Understanding the NGO, its services and the beneficiaries. The various aspects of the NGO can be as follows: objectives of the organization history of the organization profile of the beneficiaries geographical area of work registered under which act organizational structure sources of funding foreign funding (institutional donors, individual donor, governmental and non governmental) and Indian funding (governmental, non governmental, corporate) people support in form of contribution of funds Infrastructure facilities of the agency relationship with other agencies including other NGOs, government depts., Panchyat Raj institutions and community based organizations opinion of the beneficiaries and public on the relevance and quality of services problems of agency from within and outside the organization

Corporate Sector, Donor Agencies and NGOs


future plans recognition and awards.

2) The client and NGO relationship: The nature of NGO-client relationship the ideology of the NGO and the ideologypractice gap the rationale for implementing the projects the targets set and achieved the factors that have bearing to the attaining/ not attaining the targets the agency view of the beneficiaries the relationship between the agency and the beneficiaries the relationship between the agency and community the number of projects the agency is implementing the intended tasks and the time frame for the same the ways and means how the project is monitored the indicators for evaluation the means adopted to obtain participation of the people


Social Work Practicum and Supervision


means of improving cost effective programme implementation.

The student also has to go beyond the obvious information that the he collects from the NGOs officials and documents.Some of the important inference you should make is regarding the following points: The value system of the agency. Does it adhere to the ideology that wants status quo or does it promote change? Does it empower its clients on a long-term basis or does it provide temporary relief making the client dependent on others? Do values of freedom, justice, dignity, democracy, and liberty guide the functioning of the organization? It is often unrealistic to expect an organization to follow these values in all situations. However it is upto you to infer whether the deviations are too great. How are employees treated? Is the NGO a learning organization i.e. an organization where continuous change is way of its functioning and its core assumptions because of its experience in the field. A learning organization should have a mechanism to obtain relevant information from the field, convert it to concrete knowledge, and share it to the members in the organization Many NGOs are indulging in wrongdoings like misappropriating funds, fudging accounts,

Corporate Sector, Donor Agencies and NGOs


creating fictionous clients etc. It can be rectified if transparency and openness are encouraged by the NGO. What is the position of the NGO on that and how does it maintain accountability towards the donor, government and the public at large? Does the NGO organize regular programmes for increasing the capacity of the agency to manage the new situations that are emerging?

4) Understand the client system Socio-economic profile of the client cultural and psychological problems that contribute to the problem factors causing the problem Government action to solve the problem and its limitations Non governmental actions to solve the problem.

5) Practice the methods of a social work casework, group work and community organization in the agency. The practice of the methods of social work depend on the following factors: the agency philosophy, methods, values and resources available the community support to the programmes the knowledge and skill of the students


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

the time and other resources available to the student.

The field work in the NGO is a very rewarding one. It allows the student to understand the NGO sector. The importance of this sector is growing in the recent times. The government is withdrawing from the economic and upto lesser extent from the social sector. Increasingly the social sector is going to be dominated by the voluntary sector. This sector will need social work professional to implement their programmes.

Field Work in Donor Agencies

A donor agency is agency that funds other organizations to implement projects and to meet their administrative costs. The main functions of the donor agency is as follows: 1) To mobilize monetary resources from corporates, individual donors, and interest groups. Mobilization of resources is a major activity of the donor agency. It organizes campaign to create awareness about crucial issues like poverty, child rights and child care, violence against women or any other issue that the agency thinks is important. The agency then requests the individual to donate funds either through one time or periodically subscriptions. They can also make bequests in the wills in favor of the agency. Corporates also have a policy of providing funds for social causes. Prominent corporates give matching contributions to the amount of the contribution of their employees. They then donate the amount to donor

Corporate Sector, Donor Agencies and NGOs


agencies or to NGOs. Often the donor agencies have to do a lot of preparation in highlighting issues in the media so that people respond to the issue positively. 2) To select NGOs that are creditworthy, efficient and have a positive image among the targeted groups. There are a large number of NGOs, which work in the different sectors. Many NGOs apply for aid to conduct their programmes. The donor agency has to study the NGO: (i) its philosophy and its approach, (ii) its track record in implementing programmes and projects, (iii) the agencys human resources and its leadership, (iv) its relationship with the target populations, (v) its area of work, (vi) its relationship with government, (vii) its financial situation. The donor agency has to develop criteria in form of indicators to evaluate the agencies that have applied for aid. Investigators representing the agency would do a field visit to the agency and get information directly from the field. All this information is used to decide which agencies have to be selected for the fund. 3) To fund the agencies selected and monitor the progress. The donor agencies fund the agency for a fixed period. Progress of the work is monitored on the regular basis, again using indicators formulated for the purpose. Field visits are also done to get primary information from the field. Advice is rendered in


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

the areas where improvement is needed. Corrections are made if there are errors in the implementation. Training is provided to enhance the capacity of the agencies. 4) Evaluation and follow up Evaluation of the work is done by the donor agency and in many cases if an extension is needed, it is provided. Evaluation also needs indicators that will reveal the impact of the project on the community. Nowadays the donor agencies are increasingly interested in determining to what extent the projects are sustainable and enjoy peoples confidence and support. Activities in donor agencies Field work in donor agencies is relatively new area. Donor agencies usually do not provide opportunities for practice of social work methods of casework, group work and community organization. A few donor agencies also implement their own projects in which case there maybe opportunities for the practice. Student can perform the following activities: 1) Understand the politics of Aid mobilization and Aid distribution The objective of aid is not always altruistic-it is often political. There are attempts to push surreptitiously a political or social agenda. Karat (1985) analyses the donor motives to fund NGOs activities in India and other developing countries and conclude that the funding agencies provide aid to further the

Corporate Sector, Donor Agencies and NGOs


interests of the MNCs and the developed countries. According to him the implicit aim of funding is to divide, the broad anti imperialist and anti capitalist movements into smaller splinters based on caste and gender, and replace the revolutionary ideals of the former with the reformists aims of these movements. In other case, another donor agency is alleged to have the aim of reducing the poor of the world by providing them with birth control measures. Funding for religious purpose also takes place. However, it is not to say that all aid is negative and will harm the society. An example is the food aid India received form European commission for operation flood, which was used judiciously and contributed towards making India the largest producer of milk. Therefore, the student should understand the dynamics of the functioning of the donor agency. The student should be able to the analyze the donor agency in the following terms: What is the aim of the agency? What are the major assumptions of the donor agency? What role it visualizes for itself in the society? What ideology does it follow? Who are its major backers? Why are they supporting the agency? What changes has the agency been experiencing in the years after its initiating?


Social Work Practicum and Supervision


The student trainee can gain experience in using indicators for monitoring and evaluation Action research is a tool often used by donor agency to obtain information about the progress of the project. It is an important area of research. Often a baseline survey is done at the beginning of the project to understand the existing situation in the target area and then compared with the research findings after the intervention is done. One important element in this type of research(before and after research) is the preparation of indicators for the change if any that has taken place in the behaviour of the clients due to the intervention. Indicators are to be carefully constructed. They have to be realistic, demonstrable and lucid. Often agencies borrow indicators from other agencies like World Bank. The use of this type of research is an important learning for the student placed in donor agency.


Exposure to reporting systems used by the agency Related to the formulation of indicators and research are reporting systems, which is being increasingly used by the donor agency to understand the progress, caused by the intervention. Reporting in agencies has become a major activity and an important activity.


Exposure to project proposals and criteria for selection A donor agency will receive a number of project proposals for funding from different agencies which

Corporate Sector, Donor Agencies and NGOs


they would evaluate using their own criteria. It can learn from different proposals available on the strategies used by the agencies to further their case for funding. The student can learn on what factors are proposals judged. Sometimes extraneous factors like personal factors may play a role in the selection of the projects. If the trainee can persuade a senior staff member to discuss how proposals are evaluated, it would be a major contribution to his learning. 5) Doing field visits to monitor progress Donor agencies often visit the field to assess the work of the funded agencies. If permission is given for the trainee to accompany the donor agency officials on such field visits, it would be an invaluable experience as he would be exposed to the functioning of a variety of agencies. He could also observe how donor agency officials deal with the agency officials and what kind of questions and clarifications are asked. 6) Dealing with inef f iciency, corruptions and mismanagement Most of the donor agencies encounter inefficiency, corruption, and mismanagement in the agencies that they fund. How they take action against the guilty parties is important. NGOs are increasingly losing credibility in the society as they are seen as money making ventures. To check these trend donor agencies are taking recourse to a number of means including litigation, blacklisting of NGOs and suspension of funding.


Social Work Practicum and Supervision

Most donor agencies have evolved a procedure to deal with complaints. They include conducting an enquiry and asking for written explanation. Conducting a spot investigation and checking the accounts, are other measures. 7) Observe and participate in capacity building programmes Donor agencies often conduct or arrange for conducting organizational development programmes, training programmes and collaborative programmes to improve the effectiveness of the organizations. The student can gain exposure to the planning and execution of these programmes. It is quite possible that the donor agency does not allow you to participate directly in the various processes. However, the student can ask for information from the staff members. It is strongly recommended that the student gets experience in the practice of social work methods casework, group work and community organization and direct experience in the field before he/she does her field work in a donor agency. His/her field work would be incomplete if he/she does not have direct experience in the target groups.

Corporate Sector, Donor Agencies and NGOs


Corporates, donor agency and NGOs will be important areas where the social workers will be employed in the future. Field work in these areas will be very rewarding for the student. Each of the sectors has their own strengths and weakness. Each of them presents a different kind of challenge to the social work and the social work trainee. However, the main objective is to practice the method. The exposure to these sectors should teach you which methods to be used, how to use them and how to satisfy various stakeholders in the processes.

Kumar, Rita(2004). The State of CSR in India 2004, acknowledging progress, prioritizing action, background paper, TERI, New Delhi Karat, Parkas (1984), the Marxist. McWilliams, A., Siegel, and Wright. Corporate(2006) social responsibility ; strategic implications in Journal of Management 43;1.