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The redesign of field placement for social work students during the pandemic. An Italian case study
Social Work Education  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-09-06, DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2021.1972094
Paolo Rossi, Francesca Maci

ABSTRACT

The first wave of the spread of Covid-19 was contrasted by many countries through a severe lockdown of working and learning activities. One of the solutions for preserving the continuity of teaching activities was the adoption of different forms of remote teaching. A similar ‘translation’ has been adopted by many universities for re-organizing field placement. This decision was undertaken by bachelor programs in Social Work in Italy too. However, since field placements rely on the physical presence and the participation of students in the activities performed by social workers, this shift was particularly challenging. Moreover, remote interactions hinder the possibility of observing the distinctive relational dimension of social work. This paper examines the process of re-organization of field placements enacted by a Bachelor’s Program in Social Work in an Italian university. We propose a preliminary assessment of this experience, reflecting on the positive and critical aspects of the forced reorganization of field placement. We consider this phenomenon as a process of organizational learning, that crosses multiple domains of social work. We discuss whether this process can be the driver of a mechanism of double-loop learning, leading towards the enrichment of teaching and learning activities rather than a temporary adaptation to a contingent need.