SW421 Field Instruction Seminar I

for FA 2004

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Field Instruction Seminar I

 Fall 2004

Faculty: Gary Bachman, Field Director

Office: MA225B

Office Hours: M 2-3pm T&R 9am-12noon

Office Telephone (816) 584-6504

Faculty E-Mail:  gary.bachman@park.edu

 Dates of Semester: August 23-December 19, 2004

Class days and times: TBA

Prerequisite: Social Work Major & concurrent enrollment in SW420.

Credit Hours: 1


University Mission Statement

The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement

Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


Course Description:      

Field seminar provides students an opportunity to resolve issues encountered in the Field Instruction through sharing and interaction with peers under the direction of the Director of Field. Through analysis of their field experiences, students’ understanding and integration of previous classroom learning is enhanced.   Prerequisites:  SW310, Social Work Major, and permission of instructor.   Co-requisite:  SW420.  1:0:1


Instructor’s Educational Philosophy:  Social work as a profession emerged in response to the many challenges, inequalities and threats to societies and the world’s most vulnerable populations.  The demographic of those populations is constantly evolving, as is the nature of challenges that increasingly confront us all. 

It is vitally important that students and new graduates, regardless of their professional identity, be prepared to efficiently and critically consider their environment in order to identify, strategize, and communicate an appropriate response to the matters before them.  This is as true in business, science, education and government service as it is in social work. 

It is the intent of the faculty in the Department of Social Work to facilitate learners in the acquisition of such knowledge as will serve them, their families and their communities, throughout their lives.  Through the semester, world and local events will occur which may influence our academic, personal, or professional pursuits. In light of such circumstances, the instructor reserves the right to amend the schedule of study.




SW421 Course Objectives:  It is expected that upon successful completion of this course students will be able to:


  1. Demonstrate the ability to integrate classroom knowledge with field experience.
  2. Demonstrate awareness of the place of social work values in direct practice.
  3. Effectively present practice situations and professional dilemmas encountered in field.
  4. Apply appropriate self evaluation of practice behavior.
  5. Give and receive feedback constructively and develop insight into professional behavior.
  6. Demonstrate an ability to appropriately seek, accept, and apply supervision and guidance from peers.


Course Textbook:   The Social Work Practicum, The Guide and Workbook for Students, Garthwait, C. ISBN:  0-205-40802-8


Academic Honesty:  “Academic Honesty is required of all members of a learning community.  Hence, Park will not tolerate cheating or plagiarism on tests, examinations, papers or other course assignments.  Students who engage in such dishonesty may be given failing grades or expelled from Park.”


Plagiarism:  “…the appropriation or imitation of the language or ideas of another person and presenting them as one’s original work—sometimes occurs through carelessness or ignorance.  Students who are uncertain about proper documentation of sources should consult their instructors.”


Attendance Policy:  “Instructors are required to keep attendance records and report absences.  The instructor may excuse absences for cogent reasons, but missed work must be made up within the term of enrollment.  Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.  In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/ term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of “WH.”  A Contract for Incomplete will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.  Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance (TA) or Veterans Administration (VA) educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.  Reports of an F grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for students receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned above will be reported to the appropriate agency.”  Regular classroom attendance is both expected and essential for the attainment of course objectives. Material not found in the text will be presented and discussed in class.  Absences detract from your learning as well as that of others.



Late Submission of Coursework:   Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the date indicated. In the event of an absence, assignments may be submitted to the instructor electronically.  The student remains responsible for lost, misdirected or incompatible formatting of electronic submissions.  In extenuating circumstances (as determined by the instructor) and with timely notification an exception may or may not be granted.  Assignments not submitted on time will receive a deduction of 10% of the possible score per day.  If you ever have a question about any assignment or expectation in this course, please contact the instructor in a timely manner.   Please be aware that there is no extra credit work in this course.


Make up exams: This course has no scheduled exams.


Course Assessment:   Presentation, Two Process Recordings, Weekly assignments, and Attendance and Participation. Written assignments are to be double spaced, 12 font size, typed or word processed. CO refers to course objectives met, noted in parenthesis.


  • Presentation of an in depth review of the field agency in which they are assigned. (CO 2)


  • Process Recording (2).  (CO1-6)


  • Assignments relevant to issues identified in seminar will be assigned.  (CO1-6)


  • Attendance and Participation.


Classroom Rules of Conduct:  In order to maintain a positive learning environment the following ground rules will be followed:


  1. Personal perspectives will be valued. Degrading or discriminatory remarks or behaviors are not acceptable.
  2. Discussion will reflect an exchange of information, experiences, ideas, and opinions that have an educational value.
  3. If you work in groups, it is the responsibility of the group members to delegate work. All members of a group must present on the project and all will receive the same grade.
  4. Because of our sensitive subject matter, courtesy needs to be maintained in the classroom at all times. Students need to arrive on time. Students will not hold private conversations when another person is speaking. Students will speak one at a time.
  5. If student’s behavior in the classroom is disruptive, the instructor will allow the student an opportunity to correct the behavior without consequences. If the student’s behavior continues to be disruptive, that student may be asked to leave the classroom and will be referred to the Office of Academic Affairs.


Disability Guidelines:  "Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance.  These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal.  It is Park University’s policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities and, to the extent of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply.  Additional information concerning Park University’s policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: www.park.edu/disability."

SW421Course Schedule:  


Week 1

Get Acquainted


Appendix: Sample Learning Agreement



Week 2

Ch 1 The Purpose of a Practicum


Ch 2 School, Agency, and Student Expectations











In this class discussion the following will be included: Background        

information about what is field instruction all about, how to use this book,        

how the chapters are structured, practicum-related strengths, a workbook       

activity, how do we learn, conduct a cursory examination of each chapter        

in this book and note the topics addressed and how the content is                    

organized, roles of the student, agency, and field director, guidance and           

direction, clarifying expectations, read the Park University Field Manual,          

carefully examine the student evaluation forms.



Week 3

Ch 3 Planning to Learn


Ch 4 Getting Started















In this class discussion the following will be included: A plan for learning           

during the practicum is like a road map, preparing to learn, generalist   

perspective and the plan for learning, the generalist perspective is a way of

looking at and thinking about the process, develop a written plan that will         

guide your practicum experience, complete the planning to learn                      

workbook activity, consult the Field Manual and various descriptions of          

the curriculum in search of specific learning goals, how to become                    

familiar with professional staff, how to have a quality practicum                        

experience, learn how first impressions have a powerful impact on                   

personal and professional relationships, complete the basic information            

about your practicum exercise, locate and read agency manuals that    

describe agency policy and procedures.



Week 4

Ch 5 Using Supervision


Ch 6 Personal Safety

















In this class discussion the following will be included: The purpose of   

supervision, types of supervision such as individual, group., peer, formal          

case presentations, and ad hoc supervision, supervisors variety of styles,          

learning how to use supervision, caution about dual relationship with your         

field instructor, using the work book activity on supervision learning, learn

how to attend any group or peer supervisor session at your field agency,          

the potential sources of harm to a social worker, reasons for dangerous           

interpersonal situations, such as initial tension and frustration, verbal     

attack, loss of control, recovery after the outburst, dealing with potentially        

violent clients, handling the potential dangers of ha home visit, handling

an intense argument between two or more people, agency procedure and        

the dangerous client. exercise about reducing the risk or harm in the filed          

practicum, consider what a local police officer could offer in regard to

guidance and the reducing of the risk in and around the field agency.


Week 5

Ch 7 Communication


Ch 8 The Agency Context of Practice













In this class discussion the following will be included:  Communication is        

at the heart of social work practice, the existence of trust, what is good         

communication, what about communication via e-mail, voice mail, and          

fax, understanding the agency's mission, goals, and objectives, what is a        

social program, what is socialization, social integration, social control, and

social change, expect to learn a great deal from your field agency, how to     

become familiar with your agency's methods of evaluating its programs         

and services, what is an agency analysis, study your organizational chart,       

what are your agency's ways of record keeping, record, storage, and client   




Week 6

Ch 9 The Community Context of Practice


Ch 10 The Social Problem Context of Practice














In this class discussion the following will be included: agencies do not            

exist in a vacuum, clients work and live in the community, learning about       

the community takes time and effort, how is power and influence used in       

the community, elected office, how we are all shaped by positive and            

negative experiences, learning and becoming aware of common                    

community factors, using care in regards to drawing conclusions about          

why people of the community do not fully utilize the services available,          

how to use critical thinking to avoid conclusions from first impressions,          

hasty judgments, faulty assumptions or poor date gathering, beginning a        

community analysis, and learn how to read grant proposals, examine

social problems, examine what needs are addressed.            



Week 8

Ch 11 The Social Policy Context of Practice


Ch 12 Diversity


















In this class discussion the following will be included: what are social

polices pertinent to field agencies where students are completing their           

field instruction, what are the four dichotomous approaches to the                 

legislative process such as generic versus categorical, holistic versus  

segmented, rational versus crisis approach, future planning versus political

context approach, what is your level of interest in social policy, what are       

some social policy domains such as abortion, adolescent pregnancy to          

public health and safety and substance abuse, how to complete a social        

policy analysis, what does culture have to do with working in field, one's       

culture consists of the unspoken and unquestioned assumptions  and ideas    

about the nature or reality of how life should be lived, what is                        

ethnocentrism, prejudice, membership in a minority group, what is cultural

sensitivity on a continuum like, will the continuum include                              

destructiveness, incapacity, blindness, pre-competence, basic competence,   

and advanced competence, how does one recognize one's own biases,         

prejudices, or ignorance regarding diverse groups, and how culturally           

aware is your agencies.


Week 9




Week 10

Ch 13 Professional Social Work


Ch 14 Professional Ethics

















In this class discussion the following will be included: Social workers see          

themselves as professional, all professions profess to have special                    

knowledge and skills, what is NASW definition of social work, what are         

the core values of the NASW Code of Ethics, what is professional and non

professional behavior, what is employee orientation and professional    

orientation, one primary purpose of the field instruction experience is for          

the student to develop a professional identity as a social worker, a social         

worker as an artist will have compassion and courage, professional      

relationship, creativity, hopefulness  and energy, sound judgment, personal

values, professional style, the image and impact of social work,                        

understanding the defection of an ethical dilemma, NASW was formed in        

1955, what is a value, how to resolve conflicts, what are the guidelines to        

consider when you encounter an ethical dilemma, and values, ethics and           







Week 11



Ch 15 Legal Concerns












In this class discussion the following will be included: what are specific

state and federal statues, how do laws regulate clients, regulate a field of          

social work services, or regulate professional practice of social work, what

is negligence and malpractice, what are acts or omissions that can place           

social workers or agencies for which they work at risk of being sued, what

does knowing federal law about marriage and divorce, child custody,  

chide abuse have to do with field experience, what is a contract with an           

agency, and how can one prevent getting entangled in a malpractice law           

suit, and legal issues and concerns activity.




Ch 16 Social Work Practice as Planned Change














In this class discussion the following will be included: Social work is     

defined as an activity helping others enhance or restore their capacity for          

social functioning, what is a change agency, a client system, a target     

system, an action system, what are the phases of panned change, what are       

the causes of personal and social problems, how clients and client systems       

change and actions most likely to facilitate change, how can we use     

engagement and relationship building, clarification, date collection,       

assessment, contracting and planning of the intervention, intervention and         

monitoring, evolution and termination in planned change in a group,      

identifying the change process, and learning how to examine date                     

gathering and assessment tools and instruments used in your agency.


Week 13

Ch 17 Evaluating Student Performance


















In this class discussion the following will be included: To understand     

reasons for evaluating student performance in field, learning how                      

evaluation is of central importance in field, how evaluations need to be

fair and relevant to the performance, understanding reasons how                      

evaluations may be considered unfair and inaccurate, learning the pitfalls          

such as the halo effect, attraction of the average, leniency bias, and      

strictness bias,, examples of student behaviors or performance problems          

that may prompt the field instructor or the university to terminate the field         

instruction including such things as behavior with the potential of being  

harmful to the client, irresponsible and unprofessional behavior, unable to         

communicate, hostile in supervision or resistant to learning, symptoms of          

emotional disturbance, inappropriate sharing of personal views, and dual          

relationships, and discovering you are not suited for social work and that         

social work does not appeal to you and examining your performance in           



Week 14

Ch 18 Merging Self and Profession











In this class discussion the following will be included: Why people        

become social workers, most social works feel called to the profession,           

what contributes to social work satisfaction are overall workload, variety         

of work, opportunity, social interaction, learning the practice of social  

work requires an integration of professional knowledge and ethics with a         

high level of self-awareness, answering questions like am I growing as a           

persons, do I know myself better, am I optimistic about social change, and      

the merging self and profession activity.



Week 15

Ch 19 Looking Ahead, Leadership, and Social Justice















In this class discussion the following will be included: How will you      

become more informed, become a leader, deal with injustices, take on the       

social challenges, learning that desirable changes do not just happen,    

learning leadership skills, leadership is much more than having good     

ideas, good leaders first lead by example, leaders must be skilled in the art       

of collaboration, good leaders possess a high level of self-awareness,  

leaders develop a positive reputation, knowing the difference between

thinking of changing others rather than changing yourself, and knowing

that social work is not what they do, but it is who they are and lastly    

because very ordinary and small choices are so powerful in shaping our           

lives, strive as Gandhi urges to become the change you desire to see in            





Presentation of Portfolio Progress



Week 16

Evaluations due.


Grading:    Every effort will be made to be fair and reasonable in grading your work and participation.  If you have questions or concerns about this, please speak to the instructor.  You are expected to present material that is legible and well considered. And while you will be tested over specific course content, you should do well if you read the material and pay attention in class.


Scoring:       A= 90-100    B= 80-89    C= 70-79    D= 60-69    F= 59-0