Social work students show flaws in understanding

Social work students have fundamental flaws in their knowledge
and understanding of basic social work skills, a new
government-commissioned study has revealed.

Researchers found there was an urgent need for social work
students undertaking the two-year DipSW course to have a “deeper
grounding in social work theory, research and their application in

Questionnaires revealed shortfalls in students’ knowledge
and understanding of the origins, causes and nature of social
problems, theories and methods of interventions, areas of critical
analysis, monitoring and evaluation, therapeutic methods and
specific case studies.

The researchers called the findings “seriously concerning”, and
said students lacked confidence in assessment, setting objectives,
monitoring and evaluation.

The findings, the result of interviews of 234 carers, service
users, social workers and students in 26 focus groups last year,
have been used to shape the content of the new three-year social
work degree, due to begin in September 2003.

The research also highlighted the need for more practice-based
training, with the new degree curriculum raising the number of days
in practice from 70 to 200.

Research summaries at

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