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Effective Supervision. UW School of Social Work Field Instructor Training Program Module 5. Objectives for Supervision Module. Competency Objectives: 1) Define the elements of effective field supervision; 2) Identify strategies to incorporate these elements into the supervision of students;

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effective supervision

Effective Supervision

UW School of Social Work

Field Instructor Training Program

Module 5

objectives for supervision module
Objectives for Supervision Module
  • Competency Objectives:
  • 1) Define the elements of effective field supervision;
  • 2) Identify strategies to incorporate these elements into the supervision of students;
  • 3) Describe the elements of an effective supervisory conference.
research findings on supervision
Research Findings on Supervision
  • The quality of field instruction is the most significant factor affecting student satisfaction with the field placement
  • the quality of supervision provided influences students’ perceptions of their field instructor
  • Characteristics NOT associated with effective supervision:
    • Age, race, gender
    • Experience in social work or educational status
    • Years of experience as a field instructor
    • Position in the agency
supervision quiz handout 5a
Supervision Quiz: Handout 5A

Self-assessment of areas you cover in supervision with students, employees, or your supervisor, such as

  • Cases/projects
  • Assignments
  • Career goals
  • Performance
  • Skill-building
  • Administrative issues
elements of effective supervision
Elements of Effective Supervision
  • Elements fall in to four categories:
    • Agency
    • Tasks and assignments
    • Supervisory Skills
    • Supervisory meetings
1 agency elements
1. Agency Elements
  • Making the student feel desired by the agency
  • Including the student in agency functions and activities
  • Treating the student like a professional
  • Helping the student learn about the agency
2 tasks and assignments
2. Tasks and Assignments
  • Clarifying the purpose of assignments
  • Providing detailed directions and instructions
  • Working with the student to complete tasks
  • Regularly reviewing the student’s workload
  • Providing a variety of learning activities
  • Clarifying expectations for the student’s performance
  • Providing early opportunities for client contact
3 supervisory skills
3. Supervisory Skills
  • Explaining your role and the role of the student
  • Encouraging discussion of the student’s concerns
  • Helping the student link theory to practice
  • Providing clear and consistent feedback
  • Validating the student’s feelings
  • Reassuring students they can succeed
  • Demonstrating that the student is valued as a person and as a colleague
4 supervision meetings
4. Supervision Meetings
  • Holding regularly scheduled supervision meetings
  • Being available outside of regular supervision times
  • Providing a thorough discussion of the student’s learning needs
  • Reviewing and analyzing the student’s cases or projects
  • Providing consistent supervision throughout the placement
exercise making these elements a reality
Exercise: Making These Elements a Reality
  • Divide into four different groups, each taking one content area of supervision
  • Discuss or design specific ways you can facilitate the implementation of these elements in your agency
  • Report to the large group
the supervisory conference
The Supervisory Conference
  • The supervisory conference is crucial to the success of the field placement.
  • Research indicates that students want consistent and regularly scheduled supervision sessions throughout the field placement
  • Research also indicates that there are specific topics that students want to discuss during their supervision
research on student needs for supervision
Research on Student Needs for Supervision
  • Elements associated with student satisfaction are primarily issues concerning students’ practice experience
    • Practice skills used by students;
    • Cases, clients, and projects;
    • Ongoing performance issues;
    • Personal strengths, limitations, and areas for growth

(Fortune & Abramson, 1993; Gray et al.,1989; Knight, 2001)

topics not associated with student satisfaction gray et al 1989
Topics NOT Associated with Student Satisfaction: Gray et al.,1989
  • Community issues
  • Career plans
  • Administrative issues
  • Agency gossip
summary of supervision research
Summary of Supervision Research
  • Students want direct and practical information that will help them become ethical and effective social workers;
  • Students want dedicated time with their supervisor to focus on practice issues;
  • Though students may want to discuss issues such as career plans with their field instructor, research (Gray, et. al, 1989) suggests that students do not want to discuss these issues during supervision sessions.
  • Students want time with their field instructor to focus on practice, work in the field, and areas for improvement
handout supervision notes
  • Review example of a format that can be used during supervisory sessions to ensure that you are addressing the essential elements of the supervisory conference
  • Participants report on other useful formats.
ineffective supervisory behaviors ellison 1994
Ineffective Supervisory Behaviors (Ellison, 1994)
  • Supervision that is too directive
  • Lack of monitoring
  • Inappropriate use of the student
  • Inadequate supervisory contact
  • Lack of information, feedback


interactional supervision shulman 1993
Interactional Supervision (Shulman,1993)
  • Three Areas for Supervision:
    • Administrative:
      • Tasks, requirements, policies and procedures, accountability, etc.
    • Educational:
      • Linkage of tasks to classroom theory, applying theory to practice
    • Personal Development:
      • Attention to growth of insight, judgment, self-awareness, etc.
phases of supervision shulman 1993
Phases of Supervision (Shulman,1993)

Review Handout 5G: Phases of Supervision

  • Preliminary Phase: Tuning In
    • negotiate supervision expectations, needs
  • Beginning Phase: Contracting
    • clarity about roles, scope, vision of practicum
  • Middle Phase: Working
    • building, applying new skills in activities
  • End Phase: Termination
    • review and reflection, transition planning