Exploring the influence of feedback on student social workers' understanding of childcare and protection

Heron, Gavin and McGoldrick, Roisin and Wilson, Roy (2015) Exploring the influence of feedback on student social workers' understanding of childcare and protection. British Journal of Social Work, 45 (8). 2317–2334. ISSN 0045-3102

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    Abstract

    Social work tutors and practice teachers are under increasing pressure to better prepare students for practice in the area of child care and protection, however, little attention has been given to the role of feedback in this process. This study uses a content analysis of written feedback from tutors and interviews to examine students’ experiences of feedback on a social work course. Findings suggest there is considerable variation in the extent, type and source of feedback in student learning about child care and protection. Students consider feedback to be most effective when it is formative and delivered by an experienced practice teacher during the practice placement. The key factors which mediate upon student experiences of feedback are: the personal and emotive nature of the instruction; the expertise of practice teachers and learning opportunities on placement; and, the quality of relationships between the giver and receiver of feedback. These factors are not exclusive to a particular source or type of feedback. The task for tutors and practice teachers is getting the right balance of factors across the different types and sources of feedback, aligning it with the teaching and learning process and empowering students to participate in feedback practices.