Inventory of Promising Practices


Refers to the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE-ACFTS) implementing initiatives, regulations, or policies to address the noted crisis in field education.

Practice 1:

Having university programs include courses on knowledge and competencies for field instruction as part of the curriculum

Providing training specifically on mentorship and field instruction competencies can help improve mentor-student relationships.

  • “… I come from the field of marriage and family therapy, and one of the things that I would like to see social work adopt from that field – because I think it’s one of the strongest facets of designations in the credentialing in that field – is that those of us who want to be supervisors had to become approved supervisors. Which meant we had to go through a course; we had to have our first 100 hours of supervision supervised by an approved supervisor; we had to write our philosophical statements and have those approved and also the practices that we engaged in to show that they were in line with our philosophy’s” (Interview Participant, Prairie Region)
  • “I think we need to do better at giving tools to our field instructors. We do have expectations of them, like they’re volunteers. They’re out there. They’re the ones that are shaping our students in practice. And I’m wondering, is there ways that we can build in more …I don’t know…not accountability, but…influence with them. […] I’m a little disappointed by the online manual and modules for field instructors. We don’t say that out loud in the report, but it never really took off.” (Interview Participant, Prairie Region)
  • “So, maybe if it was two weeks or a month before the field placement started and you talked in that session about welcoming a student and what do you do in the first few weeks or something. And then a couple weeks or a month after, maybe as the student is starting or just after the student starts, you discuss some of the strategies around promoting autonomy. For example, moving from observation into practice, such as, what are the things that you need to look for strategies for modalities to use in supervision. (Interview Participant, Quebec region)
  • “What’s interesting is that it’s training that’s specific to social work supervision. So, yes, there is a part where there are our educational tools that are presented, but it is much more than that. We are talking about the role of the supervisor. We are talking about the learning styles of students. We talk about the challenges we can have. We have a section on the performance anxiety of our students. We have a whole section full of tools that can be used as part of the two hours training. It is very much appreciated when we look at the evaluations because it is concrete, it is specific to social work supervision. … those who take it anyway go “wow”, there it is concrete, it is clear, it is complete and, really, we only have good comments usually there from this training.” (Interview Participant, Quebec region)

Practice 2:

Exploring more diverse social work supervision outside of supervisors with BSW/MSW

Providing potential supervisors with different educational backgrounds and experiences outside of social work (e.g., sociology, counselling psychology graduates working in social justice)

  • “The accreditation body has to be more lenient and open on what constitutes social work supervision. There are people working with different educational backgrounds and experiences outside of social work that have a lot to contribute to our students in terms of supporting their social work education. So, not only do we have a hard time finding enough field educators with BSW and MSW backgrounds, but we also actually felt that people with a master’s in counseling psychology or an undergraduate degree in sociology are doing an amazing social justice initiative with that and are just as qualified to provide support and education to our students. So, recognizing that people come from all different walks of life and have different access to different things. And, somebody who doesn’t have the BSW degree, but has decades of experience on the front lines has a lot to contribute to our profession” (Interview Participant, Ontario Region)
  • “Yes, even when it comes to talking to our accreditation bodies, CASWE, there are a lot of issues around supervision and qualifications of instructors. We’re able to, as a collective voice, share how we’re all experiencing challenges when it comes to that because a lot of the time, it’s a challenge even to find a social worker that would supervise a student. A lot of the time, the community type of placements, which is a lot of them, especially for the Bachelor of Social Work students, the instructors are doing the work of social workers but without the degree. So, we’ve been able to voice that. We still have the expectations we need to follow, but at least they’re aware that in the future, when they do audit universities, it’s something that everybody’s going through, and we’re trying to work through that.” (Interview Participant, Ontario Region)

Encouraging an open mind and flexibility about practicum placements, organizations, or populations to increase field placement options.

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