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Social Work with a Twist: Interweaving Practice Knowledge, Student Experience and Academic Theory

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Social work has always been characterised by a tension between the theoretical understandings that underpin its knowledge base and the daily practice of social work, which is heavily influenced by the context in which it is situated. The present article examines data gathered through academic visits to social work students on placement to discover the form of this tension as students undertaking their first placement experience it. The present article aims to determine why the nexus between theory and practice is so problematic for social work students and practitioners. Much social work writing sees two parties involved in social work education: the academy and practitioners. We argue for the inclusion of 'student' in a dynamic coconstruction of social work. Strategies are proposed by which these three parties in social work education can work together to reduce the tension between theory and practice.
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Keywords: Social Work Education; Student Perspectives; Student Placement; Theory-Practice Divide

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Australia 2: University of Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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