Document Type



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

Publication Details

Social Work Education, Apr2012, Vol. 31 Issue 3, p364-382


This paper presents and discusses some of the findings from a qualitative study of identities in work-related learners. The theoretical framework of structural symbolic interactionism is outlined and the two identities of interest, that of student and practitioner discussed. The aim of professional education is viewed as enabling the practitioner to deal with ambiguity and change through critical examination of work practices and location of these within theoretical frameworks. It is argued that for knowledge and behaviour to transfer to the work setting the student and worker identities need to be integrated rather than kept separate. Factors identified as influencing the integration and separation of the social identities of student and social care practitioner are discussed.