Field Education Signature pedagogies are elements of instruction and of socialization that teach future practitioners the fundamental dimensions of professional work in their discipline—to think, to perform, and to act ethically and with integrity. Field education is the signature pedagogy for social work.
The intent of field education is to integrate the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practical world of the practice setting. It is a basic precept of social work education that the two interrelated components of curriculum—classroom and field—are of equal importance within the curriculum, and each contributes to the development of the requisite competencies of professional practice. Field education is systematically designed, supervised, coordinated, and evaluated based on criteria by which students demonstrate the Social Work Competencies. Field education may integrate forms of technology as a component of the program (CSWE-EPAS 2.2, 2016).
Field placements expose students to the broad field of social work, as well as to a wide range of experiences. The internship experience is directly related to classroom learning and serves to synthesize theory and practice. Through this experience, students gather more information about their commitment to social work values and ethics and their professional identity. Becoming a professional social worker demands that a student embark on an exploration of challenging theories, complex analyses of policies and programs and self-examination as he or she uses new information to deal with the complex problems presented in professional social work field education.