Practical learning: achieving excellence in the human services

January 23-25 2008 Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Bridging the gap between theory and practice

Keywords: academic and practice domains,partnership working,common goals

Author: Ms Roisin McGoldrick (Glasgow School of Social Work)

In the matrix of requirements facing providers and other stakeholders of the new degree in social work it is important to have a clear understanding of the points of convergence and the criteria used to assess students work in both academic and practice domains. As each layer maps on to another it is possible for the assessment criteria to become too complex and perhaps too dense to be easily understood and shared by the wide constituency of groups with an interest and investment in the process. We need to establish a clear , shared understanding of what is required by whom , for what purpose and why. This needs to be a shared enterprise which allows confidence in the new degree to grow and develop and to be viewed as 'fit for purpose'.

The Scottish Credit and Qualification framework is a familiar tool in academic circles but perhaps less so in the practice arena as yet. The Standards in Social Work Education are likely to be better understood in both domains but the linking of them both in a meaningful and accessible way is the challenge must be address if we are to bridge the gap between theory and practice in a way which values and respects the core activities in each. This paper will explore some attempts to do this in a joint project between the Glasgow School of Social Work and the Scottish Institute for Excellence in Social Work Education.

This presentation will help to expand the dialogue between stakeholders in the new degree in a way which is accessible, credible and useful. It is important to draw on the existing skills base in this area and to harness the valuable experiences of practitioners, academics and students in their endeavours to create and become 21st century social workers.

Date: Thursday 24 January 2008, 12.00 - 12.30

Venue: Carrick Three

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Organised by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services in association with PEPE (Practical Experiences in Professional Education).