Failure to Fail? Practice Educators' Emotional Experiences of Assessing Failing Social Work Students

Article


Finch, J. and Taylor, Imogen 2012. Failure to Fail? Practice Educators' Emotional Experiences of Assessing Failing Social Work Students. Social Work Education. 32 (2), pp. 244-258.
AuthorsFinch, J. and Taylor, Imogen
Abstract

The paper explores issues that arise in the assessment of failing social work students in practice learning settings in England. It draws on existing literature on the topic, as well as a small empirical study. The qualitative methodology is influenced by practitioner-research paradigms. Based on twenty in-depth interviews with practice educators, the research utilised the voice-centred relational method of data analysis which revealed five distinct “emotional stories”, explaining why practice assessors’ found the process of working with a failing student challenging and difficult. These stories include the “guilty story”, “angry story”, the “what is my role story”, the “idealised learner story, and the “internalisation of failure so I couldn’t always fail them story”. The paper considers the possible adverse impact on the assessment process of these often unacknowledged emotional responses experienced by practice educators, namely, that there is a very real possibility that students are being passed as competent when the evidence may strongly suggest otherwise. The paper offers some ways forward in light of the findings, linking these to the change process underway in social work education in England but suggesting these have wider relevance to practice assessment in other contexts.

JournalSocial Work Education
Journal citation32 (2), pp. 244-258
ISSN1470-1227
0261-5479
Year2012
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2012.720250
Publication dates
Print17 Sep 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Jan 2016
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Social Work Education on 17.09.12, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02615479.2012.720250.
Permalink -

https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/85y8x

  • 29
    total views
  • 166
    total downloads
  • 6
    views this month
  • 24
    downloads this month

Related outputs

Securitising Social Work: Counter Terrorism, Extremism, and Radicalisation
Finch, J. and McKendrick, David 2019. Securitising Social Work: Counter Terrorism, Extremism, and Radicalisation. in: Webb, Stephen A. (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Critical Social Work Routledge.
"Yellow Star"
Finch, J. 2017. "Yellow Star". in: Doel, Mark (ed.) Social Work in 42 Objects (and More) Kirwin Maclean Associates Limited.
Share: A New Model for Social Work
Maclean, Siobhan, Finch, J. and Tedam, Prospera 2018. Share: A New Model for Social Work. Kirwin Maclean Associates Limited.
PREVENT, Safeguarding and the Common-Sensing of Social Work in the UK
McKendrick, D. and Finch, J. 2019. PREVENT, Safeguarding and the Common-Sensing of Social Work in the UK. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work . 31 (2), pp. 18-28.
Social Work and Countering Violent Extremism in Sweden and the UK
Finch, J., Jönsson, J., Kamali, M. and McKendrick, D. 2019. Social Work and Countering Violent Extremism in Sweden and the UK. European Journal of Social Work.
Projective Identification as an Unconscious Defence: Social Work, Practice Education and the Fear of Failure
Finch, J. and Schaub, Jason 2014. Projective Identification as an Unconscious Defence: Social Work, Practice Education and the Fear of Failure. in: Armstrong, David and Rustin, Michael (ed.) Social Defences against Anxiety: Explorations in the Paradigm Karnac.
Italian and English Practice Educators Experiences of Working with Struggling or Failing Students in Practice Placements
Finch, J. and Poletti, Alberto 2016. Italian and English Practice Educators Experiences of Working with Struggling or Failing Students in Practice Placements. in: Taylor, Imogen, Bogo, Marion, Lefevre, Michelle and Teater, Barbra (ed.) Routledge International Handbook of Social Work Education Routledge.
Supporting Struggling Students on Placement: A Practical Guide
Finch, J. 2017. Supporting Struggling Students on Placement: A Practical Guide. Policy Press.
‘Downpressor Man’: securitisation, safeguarding and social work
McKendrick, David and Finch, J. 2017. ‘Downpressor Man’: securitisation, safeguarding and social work. Critical and Radical Social Work. 5 (3), pp. 287-300.
A critical exploration of practice assessment panels: participation, power, emotion and decision making in relation to failing social work students
Finch, J. 2014. A critical exploration of practice assessment panels: participation, power, emotion and decision making in relation to failing social work students. The Higher Education Academy.
The Needs and Expectations of Higher Education Learners in a Further Education College
Finch, J. 2006. The Needs and Expectations of Higher Education Learners in a Further Education College. Havering College.
Communities and Widening Participation in Higher Education in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
Finch, J. 2009. Communities and Widening Participation in Higher Education in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Continuum: University of East London. doi:10.13140/RG.2.1.5113.9602
A critical exploration of practice assessment panels: participation, power, emotion and decision making in relation to failing social work students
Finch, J. 2014. A critical exploration of practice assessment panels: participation, power, emotion and decision making in relation to failing social work students. Higher Education Academy.
Evaluation of a non-statutory ‘Place of Calm’, a service which provides support after a suicidal crisis to inform future commissioning intentions
Briggs, S., Finch, J. and Firth, R. 2016. Evaluation of a non-statutory ‘Place of Calm’, a service which provides support after a suicidal crisis to inform future commissioning intentions. Cass School of Education and Communities, University of East London.
Evaluation of Counselling Partnership’s ‘Survivors of Suicide’ service to inform future provision and commissioning
Briggs, S., Farah, F., Opaluwa-Hamblin, L. and Finch, J. 2017. Evaluation of Counselling Partnership’s ‘Survivors of Suicide’ service to inform future provision and commissioning. East Sussex County Council (ESCC).
Evaluation of Grassroots training programme to inform future provision and commissioning
Briggs, S., Farah, F., Opaluwa-Hamblin, L. and Finch, J. 2017. Evaluation of Grassroots training programme to inform future provision and commissioning. East Sussex County Council (ESCC).
“…It’s Just Very Hard To Fail A Student…” Decision-Making And Defences Against Anxiety – An Ethnographic And Practice-Near Study Of Practice Assessment Panels
Finch, J. 2016. “…It’s Just Very Hard To Fail A Student…” Decision-Making And Defences Against Anxiety – An Ethnographic And Practice-Near Study Of Practice Assessment Panels. Journal of Social Work Practice. 31 (1), pp. 51-65.
‘It's been hell.’ Italian and British practice educators’ narratives of working with struggling or failing social work students in practice learning settings
Finch, J. and Poletti, Alberto 2013. ‘It's been hell.’ Italian and British practice educators’ narratives of working with struggling or failing social work students in practice learning settings. European Journal of Social Work. 17 (1), pp. 135-150.
Projective Identification and the Fear of Failing: Making Sense of Practice Educators' Experiences of Failing Social Work Students in Practice Learning Settings
Finch, J., Schaub, Jason and Dalrymple, Roger 2013. Projective Identification and the Fear of Failing: Making Sense of Practice Educators' Experiences of Failing Social Work Students in Practice Learning Settings. Journal of Social Work Practice. 28 (2), pp. 139-154.
‘Under Heavy Manners?’: Social Work, Radicalisation, Troubled Families and Non-Linear War
McKendrick, David and Finch, J. 2016. ‘Under Heavy Manners?’: Social Work, Radicalisation, Troubled Families and Non-Linear War. British Journal of Social Work.
‘Running with the Fox and Hunting with the Hounds’: Social Work Tutors' Experiences of Managing Failing Social Work Students in Practice Learning Settings
Finch, J. 2014. ‘Running with the Fox and Hunting with the Hounds’: Social Work Tutors' Experiences of Managing Failing Social Work Students in Practice Learning Settings. British Journal of Social Work. 45 (7), pp. 2124-2141.