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SWSP2013 Field Education 1

Level: Bachelor
Credit Points: 18
Prerequisites: SWSP1003; SWSP1013; SWSP1023; Successful completion of a minimum of four Level 100 units
Mode(s) of Delivery: Online
Core/Elective: Core

Unit Description

All Field Education units include 500 hours of supervised practice in a social service agency. Opportunities to integrate theory with practice will inform these practice-based units. These units introduce students to the real world of practice. Students will be placed in agencies where they have the opportunity to utilise the skills developed in the practice units, such as engagement, assessment, and intervention with individuals, families, and small groups. Students are expected to develop practices that take account of the socio-economic structure of people’s lives as well as their psychosocial situation, to gain an understanding of the policy and organisational context of direct practice, and to explore the application of relevant theory and knowledge in the field of practice where they are placed.

Field Education 1

The first placement introduces students to human services organisations and social work fields of practice. This is when the student immerses the full integration of theory and practice applying the knowledge and skills learned in class. It is in this unit that the student commences to experience themselves as social work professionals. Students are mentored, supervised and supported to reflect critically upon their practice as well as their personal assumptions and beliefs.

Placement opportunities for the first placement include agencies and human service organisations, such as family and children's services, local community centres, community health centres, crisis support and/or accommodation services, hospitals, housing services, mental health services, and large and small government and NGOs will be utilised for the placement.  

Unit Workload

Integrative Seminar: The unit includes five weeks of 2 hours of class time.

Integrative seminars are designed to facilitate the integration of theory and practice during students’ placement and to support their learning experience. 

This time will be used for interactions with students to facilitate discussion of field education unit materials and assessments, readings, presentations and group activities.

Course material will be available in the online class space.

In addition to the seminars, students are expected to engage in 4-5 hours of private study per week including completing the required reading tasks, completing a Field Education Journal and developing a reference list of relevant literature and research.


Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge relevant to the placement context, organisational structure and function, and the role of social work within this context.
  2. Apply conceptual skills in relating theory to practice.
  3. Work independently and demonstrate initiative in practice situations.
  4. Demonstrate professional conduct in the field education placement and recognise the ways in which their values influence responses to practice situations
  5. Identify the ways in which the interests and values of dominant groups determine the definition of, and responses to, service user needs.
  6. Demonstrate specific skills in relation to the particular emphasis of specific placements, i.e. communication skills, writing skills, recording and evaluation skills and organisational and planning skills.
  7. Know how and when to use consultation and supervision.
  8. Demonstrate an emerging capacity for critical reflective practice.
  9. Demonstrate a practice-based awareness of the issues of consumers' service and resource networks associated with their placement agency's functions.
  10. Continually assess the process of intervention in the light of personal and agency ideology and social work values.

Learning and Teaching Approach

  1. Learning is an active process – which involves both questioning and challenging.
  2. Learning is a shared process – where others’ thoughts and ideas are presented, critically analysed, exchanged and respected.
  3. Learning is a collaborative and empowering process for self and others.
  4. Learning is thoughtful and reflective.
  5. Learning requires integration with prior knowledge and other arenas of knowledge development in the program.
  6. Preparation for lectures and seminars and reading the recommended texts and references is essential.

The content of this unit has been designed to maximise both online and face-to-face learning to integrate the subject matter.

Students are expected to:

  • Complete all activities
  • Complete readings
  • Complete all assessments
  • Attend all classes

It is also recommended that students:

  • Keep a record of new terminology that is introduced in this unit
  • Keep a copy of assessments and other correspondence
  • Make notes on unit content and readings

There will be learning activities linked to all lecture materials which are designed to encourage students to deliberate and reflect and to provide opportunities for further learning. The activities are designed to help students think through and practise the specific skills and general concepts presented in this unit as well as provide valuable learning opportunities.


Recommended Texts

  • Cleak, H., & Wilson, J. (2019). Making the most of field placements. (4th ed.).  Cengage Learning.

  • Noble, C., Gray, M. & Johnston, L. (2016), Critical supervision for the human services: A social model to promote learning and value-based practice. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 

  • ACAP, School of Social Work, (2016). Field Education Manual.

Recommended Readings

  • Giles, R., Irwin, J., Lynch, D., & Waugh, F. (2010). In the field: From learning to practice. Oxford University Press.

  • Beddoe, L., & Maidment, J. (2009). Mapping knowledge for social work practice: Critical intersections.  Cengage.

    Note: These books are excellent reference texts for preparing for your placement and supporting you and your learning throughout the process. They are also excellent resources for your supervisor and for use and reference in your supervision sessions and importantly, for when you become a supervisor. 


  • Australian Social Work
  • ADVANCES: Journal of Social Work and Welfare Education
  • Australian Journal of Social Issues
  • Critical Social Work
  • Journal of Social Work Education (USA)
  • Journal of Social Work (UK)

Academic Misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy for full details.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the trimester. For a list of required textbooks for the upcoming trimester, please click here.