Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Published in Social Work Education: The International Journal, online October 26th. 2016.


This paper presents findings from research about how practice

teachers in social care education in Ireland view their role, in

particular what elements they prioritise and what they see as relatively

unimportant. The aim of the research was exploratory, seeking to

discover commonalities and differences in how practice teachers saw

their role in the supervision of social care students. Q methodology

was used to compare the participants’ viewpoints. Twenty practice

teachers, from varying practice backgrounds and levels of experience,

sorted statements outlining aspects of the practice teacher’s role,

during individual interviews. Analysis indicates participants had two

ways of conceptualising the role. One focuses within the agency,

prioritising students’ awareness of the clients using the social care

service and policies as guiding practice. The second encapsulates a

broader view of learning beyond the agency, focusing on the practice

teacher assisting the student to integrate theory with practice and

using reflection as a learning tool. Conclusions are drawn in relation

to social care education.