Integrating Theory and Practice in Social Work Education

Florence Watson, Helen Burrows and Chris Player.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ISBN 1 85302 981 5

a title hinting at a grand theme, this volume is exclusively about how students
should tackle the "practice assignment" – that extended piece of
analysis of practice that Diploma in Social Work students are universally
required to submit while on placement.

offers ideas to assist students, practice teachers and tutors in planning and
executing that assignment, with chapters devoted to creating a preparatory
plan, providing theoretical orientation and writing the assignment itself. A
fine chapter on values notes that they are not moral straitjackets, but sources
for reflection and flexibility in practice.

following the authors’ – at times didactic – guidance, most students will be
able to produce a first-class practice assignment. But this work is not for
slouches. The authors demand highly disciplined students who should undertake
research "in evenings, at weekends, using time off in lieu, whenever there
is a spare moment".

everyone will have that kind of time, and it raises the question of whether the
practice assignment should loom so large within the placement experience.

Pierson is senior lecturer, Institute of Social Work and Applied Social
Studies, Staffordshire University.

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