Field Education As A Distinctive Pedagogy For Social Work Education


  • Ronnie Egan RMIT University
  • Phyllis Chee Griffith University
  • Natasha Long La Trobe University
  • Sharryn McLean Griffith University
  • Janis Parrish Griffith University
  • Anna Spencer Queensland University of Technology


Field education, Signature Pedagogy, Australian social work education


This article presents the process for the development of a strategic national statement about field education in Australia. It tracks the thinking of a group of social work field education academics over a nine-month period to ultimately produce a statement about social work field education as a distinctive pedagogy of social work education, for presentation to the Australian Association of Social Work (AASW) as part of the 2016 Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards (ASWEAS) review. The development of an Australian statement began in response to the current crisis in field education relating to a dearth of quality placements available for students who are ready for placement. The article begins with a review of the literature about the American Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) 2008 decision to develop a statement of field education as the signature pedagogy, as well as a review of articles critiquing the American response. From this, the group used Shulman’s definition and the literature to produce a strategic statement that could be used to highlight the place of field education in Australia. This raised multiple issues confronting field education teams and prompted further research about the pedagogy informing field education.

Author Biographies

Ronnie Egan, RMIT University

Global, Urban and Social Studies

Phyllis Chee, Griffith University

School of Human Services and Social Work

Natasha Long, La Trobe University

La Trobe Rural Health School

Sharryn McLean, Griffith University

School of Human Services and Social Work

Janis Parrish, Griffith University

School of Human Services and Social Work

Anna Spencer, Queensland University of Technology

Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health


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