The Importance of Field Practice in the Education of Social Workers

Jelena Tanasijević


Field practice has always held an important place in the education of social workers, especially today,if we look at the modern social trends and problems with which they will, as a professional workers,meet during the professional career. Contemporary concept of dual education allows to students to, atthe same time, connect and apply acquired theoretical knowledge and through that they can learn anddevelop their practical skills continuosly. If we look at the standards which are provided in educationfor social workers in Serbia, very important thing is that practical training has to comply with plan andprogram for every year of study, individually. Beside that, students could make a choice where they willwork their field practice, in which institution or organization, and it is an example of good practice. Thisis helpful on the one hand for students and on the other hand for institutions. Through the activities inthe context of field practice, students can perceive procedures of professional process, but they can alsodevelop possibilities for critical thinking, reflective approach and learn proffesional behavior. Thisapproach increases the possibilities for the realization of the concept of lifelong learning.Field practice is done in appropriate reference institutions, public autorithies, and also in nongovermentalorganisations. Some of these organisations are national, and some of them are international. A largenumber of options makes whole education more interesting how in content, also and methodological.One more important segment which contribute to improving practical learning is also training of mentorswho are responsible for students in their organisations. Through this we can provide higher level ofquality working with students, especially becuse professional workers in this role have the opportunityto convey their practical knowledge and skills. It is important for students becuse it is a way to empowerthem for further progress. Bearing in mind these tasks, it’s important that mentors are proffesionals withexperience. In that case they could be available for students and their questions, and at the same timementorship doesn’t interfere with working process.


education; social work; students; field practice; mentoring

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