National Study

National Study

TFEL is leading a national study to inform the development of sustainable field education models starting in 2020. The study includes a survey on the state of field education in Canada, interviews on promising and wise practices in field education, and dialogue circles with students.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for social work field education, but also new opportunities. The TFEL project is conducting national surveys on the impact of COVID-19 from the perspectives of students and field instructors.

The Interviewing on Promising and Wise Practices team is collecting interviews from multiple regions across Canada. Promising practices are approaches that show potential for enhancing social work field education. Wise practices are considered approaches that are locally relevant to diverse Indigenous groups and can be implemented in field education. Interviews are being conducted with field education professionals, each of whom has shared promising and wise practices they have encountered in their field education practice. Each region is completing a regionally-specific coding process of each interview, outlining the key themes from participants. The Interviewing project will provide ample knowledge about current promising and wise practices that can we can further implement to transform field education.

Student research assistants and postdoctoral scholars will be involved in all research activities in Stream 2.

Topics of interest include: (1) Field instructor recruitment and retention; (2) Indigenous and anti-colonial field education; (3) Interprofessional practice; (4) International field education; (5) Service user placements; (6) Research-based practica; (7) Field supervision models; (8) Use of technology/simulation; and others.

The working group leading this Stream includes:

Uzo Anucha (York), Marion Bogo (UT), Grant Charles (UBC), Natalie Clark (TRU), Julie Drolet (UC), Sheri McConnell (MU), Eileen McKee (UT), David Nicholas (UC), Michelle Reid (NVIT), Tamara Sussman (McGill), Christine Walsh (UC)


The TFEL project held a virtual roundtable on Incorporating Indigenous and Wise Practices in field education. The facilitators shared key findings from the research. The dialogue focused on these wise practices:

Practice 1:  Incorporating Indigenous cultural practices and involving Elders in social work field education.

Practice 2:  Creating new ways of approaching learning agreements.

Practice 3:  Being creative, flexible, and open minded about definitions of key terms, such as clinical practice, that are more appropriate to apply in all contexts

Practice 4:  Focusing on initiatives towards decolonizing and Indigenizing social work field practica.

Facilitators: Natalie Clark (TFEL Co-Investigator, Thompson Rivers University), Julie Mann-Johnson (TFEL Collaborator, University of Calgary), Missa Mvuezolo (TFEL practicum student, University of Calgary), Saleema Salim (TFEL Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Calgary), Elizabeth Tettman (TFEL student research assistant, University of Toronto), Nchedo Udobata (TFEL practicum student, University of Calgary).

Promising, Wise, and Innovative Practices

This webinar is a presentation and discussion of the findings of 35 interviews that were conducted with the field instructors/coordinators in the Prairie Region to identify innovative, promising, and wise practices in the social work field education.

Please also view the Atlantic Region Final Report and the Ontario Region Final Report. The recordings and slideshows for each presentations are linked below.

Service Users In Field Education

The TFEL partnership would like to thank service user participants for sharing their perspectives in the online focus groups facilitation by social work students. The project found agreement that service users should be involved in social work field education, and practical suggestions and tips were offered. To learn more about the findings of the study, please read the report.

International Practicum Study National Report 2021

The international practicum study was designed by the TFEL team to learn about international field placements, or international practicum, using a mixed-methods online survey. Implications and recommendations of the study are provided in this report.

Focus Group Recruitment

The TFEL partnership conducted over 30 online focus groups to foster discussion on key topics to transform social work field education in Canada. Field education coordinators and/or directors, field instructors, faculty members, field educators and administrators who are involved in social work field education in Canada shared their perspectives and experiences with student research assistants. Implications and recommendations are provided in this report.


This project was developed with our partners in Africa to better understand the state of social work field education in Africa. Schools or departments of social work in Africa dcomplete an online survey with one respondent per institution. Join us on October 25, 2022 in a virtual webinar to learn more about the findings.

22nd ICSD Biennial Conference – Social Work Field Education during COVID-19: Learnings for Social Development Agenda

Presenters: Dr. Vibha Kaushik

As presented by TFEL post-doctoral scholar, Dr. Vibha Kaushik, and co-authored by project director, Dr. Julie Drolet and co-investigator, Dr. Grant Charles, the findings of Social Work Field Education during COVID-19: Learnings for Social Development Agenda, were presented at the 22nd ICSD Biennial Conference. 

National Study Report 2021

Perceptions of Challenges in Social Work Field Education

The Field Challenge project was designed to capture the perceptions of students, field education coordinators/directors, and field instructors on the most significant challenges experienced in social work field education through a mixed-methods online survey. The following is a report on the perceptions of challenges in social work field education.

Virtual Dialogue Circles Report 2021

Student Perspectives on Canadian Social Work Field Education

The Virtual Dialogue Circles is a project aimed at capturing student perspectives on social work field education in Canada by facilitating virtual dialogue circles with current social work students. The following is a report on the Virtual Dialogue Circles Project.

Webinar: Student Voices in the Field Education Landscape

This webinar discussed the findings and themes from a series of dialogue circles in which Social Work students from across Canada came together to discuss the current challenges and ideas for changes within field education.

Webinar: Anti-Indigenous Racism in the British Columbia Health Care System

This webinar presented findings on British Columbia’s Addressing Racism Review inquiry, with a specific focus upon the implications for social work. The inquiry was an examination on BC health care workers, commissioned by the BC Minister of Health, on instances of health care workers guessing the blood alcohol levels of Indigenous patients. This webinar took an in-depth look at Anti-Indigenous Racism in the British Columbia Health Care System and its implications for Social Work.

State of Social Work Field Education

2020 National Survey Report

This is a study designed to provide an assessment of the current state of social work field education in Canada by examining the structure and delivery of field education programs, field resources, and staff. The report details all of the findings from the study, and the infographic visually summarizes the key findings from the report.


This webinar was a presentation highlighting the results of the 2020 National Survey Report. 

Impacts of COVID-19 on Field Education

Infographic: Impacts of COVID-19 on Social Work Field Education: Perspectives of Field Instructors in Canada

This infographic visually showcases the experiences and key takeaways of research performed on Canadian field instructors during COVID-19, answering the question: how has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted social work field instructors?

Infographic: Canadian Social Work Student Experiences in Field Education During COVID-19

This infographic visually showcases the experiences and key takeaways of research performed on Canadian social work students in field research during COVID-19.

Symposium – Social Work and COVID-19

The symposium featured a presentation on the results of a National Survey on the Impacts of COVID-19 on Field Education: Perspectives of Students, and a panel presentation and discussion on how COVID-19 has impacted social work practice and field education.

Go on to learn more

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