Navigating relationships in practice learning: voices from practice educators
Yeung , Echo
This paper explores the nature and quality of relationships between social work students and their practice educators and discusses how practice educators navigate their multifaceted and complex role in the context of practice learning in England. The data was drawn from individual interviews with 13 practice educators and two focus groups with first year MA social work students. The findings indicate that challenges associated with social differences, in engaging students in learning, and in initiating critical dialogue affect the nature and quality of practice learning relationships. Practice educators need to develop skills, knowledge and confidence to manage the complexities and different demands of their role. It is also important for practice educators to invest time to develop and sustain meaningful relationships with students, and to create a safe space for critical dialogue to take place. A trusting relationship is fundamental if students and practice educators are to raise and explore difficult issues.