How do social work students perceive their fieldwork supervision experiences? : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Work at Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand

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Ma te whakaatu, ka mohio Ma te mohio, ka marama Ma te marama, ka matau Ma te matau, ka ora Through discussion comes understanding Through understanding comes light Through light comes wisdom Through wisdom comes wellbeing Fieldwork practice is a vital component of social work education. Positive fieldwork supervision, based on principles of adult learning is vital to the integration of theory and practice during the fieldwork experience. A student’s experiences of fieldwork supervision can shape the value they place on future supervision, thus it is essential that fieldwork supervision is experienced positively. This research focuses on the understandings seven social work students formed about their fieldwork supervision experiences. This study explores what these experiences might mean for those involved in fieldwork supervision in Aotearoa New Zealand. This study is qualitative, utilising a phenomenological approach. Data was gathered from semi-structured interviews, and an inductive approach was used for thematic explication. Eight key findings were identified which revealed three themes which signalled the importance of; knowledge, skill, and relationship. The findings endorse current literature about the place of fieldwork supervision in student learning, and the value of knowledge, skill and relationship in supervision. They also underscore the need for further research into cultural supervision, including the need for a review of how cultural supervision is understood and resourced in fieldwork education in the Aotearoa New Zealand context. The study also reinforces the need for contributions to the literature on fieldwork supervision, particularly exploring the student perspective. On the basis of this research six main implications are identified. This research identifies six key implications from this study, the first concerns the transferability of the findings, four concern the preparation of key stakeholders in fieldwork (namely students, fieldwork educators, external supervisors and fieldwork coordinators), and the fifth concerns the cultural supervision and Kaupapa Maori supervision needs of all social work students in Aotearoa New Zealand. Thus, like the opening whakatauki above suggests, it is hoped that discussion on which this study is founded provides light, understanding, and ultimately wellbeing for all those involved in and impacted by fieldwork supervision.
Social workers, Training of, Supervision of social workers, Social work education, New Zealand