Student Perceptions of Integrative Field Seminar: A Comparison of Three Models

Helen Harris, Dennis Myers
2013 Administrative Issues Journal Education Practice and Research  
Student perceptions of 63 concentration year MSW students, grades, and faculty perceptions were examined to evaluate differences in educational outcomes and in learning experiences among a traditional classroom model, a mixed or hybrid model, and a webinar online model for delivery of integrative field seminars. No significant differences were found in the grades among the three models. Findings showed strong support for the traditional model for students in local field internships and the
more » ... nships and the webinar model for students in distant site placements. Reciprocity among students and faculty was a major factor in seminar integration and effectiveness, regardless of the mode of delivery. INTEGRATIVE FIELD SEMINARS T here is arguably no more exciting time in social work education than the field practicum or internship. The integrative seminar is central to the interplay between classroom curriculum and field practicum. As students seek field internships in distant site locations, delivering the integrative field seminar is increasingly challenging. Phone-in participation in traditional seminars and on-line field seminars are approaches to providing the seminar to students placed away from the campus. The question, however, is whether or not they are educationally equivalent. Do students who are not "in the classroom" for integrative seminars receive the same benefits from the seminar experience? This study examines one program's attempt to address these questions. Why Have Field Seminars Anyway? According to Wayne, Bogo, and Raskin (2010) and Birkenmaier and Berg-Weger (2007) , the seminar is a specific method for meeting CSWE mandates that programs ensure the integration of theory and practice. The field seminar provides a forum to share field learning, explore values and ethics, discuss and compare policies and procedures in agencies, examine evidence informed practices, evaluate personal responses, and facilitate networking. Seminars provide safe environments for discussion of field experiences, processing of feelings, and examination of best practices. Most programs provide weekly or bi-weekly integrative seminar meetings to process field experiences and share case (identities disguised) issues and resolution (Favier, Eisengart, & Colonna, 2000). Accreditation In the latest iteration of the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) provided by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), field education is identified as the signature pedagogy of social work education. For many programs, the field experience is the final educational experience in the curriculum and includes the summative evaluation of the students' demonstration of competencies. Current accreditation standards address the integration of field education with the program curriculum in this way: Field education is an integral component of social work education anchored in the mission, goals, and educational level of the program. It occurs in settings that reinforce students' identification with the purposes, values, and ethics of the profession; fosters the integration of empirical and practice-based knowledge; and promotes the development of professional competence. (CSWE, 2008)
doi:10.5929/2013.3.2.3 fatcat:36ckgvdkr5dcjgsetnetiaqpgq