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Faculty of Community Services

Information for field instructors

Field instructors play a pivotal role in providing Ryerson social work students with the opportunity to put theory into practice. Through their mentorship, students gain the valuable hands-on experience needed to begin their careers with skill and confidence.

What are field instructors?

Field instructors are employees of organizations that partner with the School of Social Work and placement settings to provide learning experiences and instruction to students for a period of time set out by the school.

What is field instruction?

Field instruction is a form of teaching that occurs within a placement setting or organizational context.

Field instruction supports students to link classroom theory and learning with practice activities. Opportunities to interact with clients and complex systems of service delivery allow students to apply and integrate social work knowledge, skills and values.

The selection of field practice opportunities is a key element of field instruction. It is through these organized opportunities that students become engaged in a hands-on professional education process.

Roles and responsibilities

Field instructors support student learning by:

  • Guiding their daily activities.
  • Providing consultation to them as required by the school.
  • Evaluating their performance in the context of school expectations and placement setting requirements.  

Together, field instructors and students establish clear goals and expectations that promote the integration of knowledge, skills and values for social work practice.

They meet weekly to reflect on student work within the placement setting, as it relates to their learning plan and their developing identity as a social worker. Reflection involves discussion on what has been done (tasks), how it was done (process) and with what impact (outcome).

Field instructors do not  assign a final grade. Instead, they make a recommendation to the faculty consultant.

Field instruction methods

Field instructors draw upon a variety of teaching tools to assist students in their learning and promote their success. These include:

  • Learning plans.

  • Process recording.

  • Critical reflection.

  • Audio recording and written analysis of interviews conducted by the student.

  • Conjoint interviews with the student and field instructor.

  • Video recording and written analysis of interviews conducted by student.

  • Daily logs or personal journals.

  • Role playing with field instructor.

  • Written analysis of critical incidents.

  • Observation by the student of the field instructor interviewing or leading groups.

  • Observation by the student of other workers interviewing or leading groups.

  • Observation by the field instructor of the student interviewing or leading groups.

  • Group field instruction or case review.

  • Team teaching with other field instructors or placement setting personnel.

  • Case presentation.
Do you have a field placement opportunity at your organization?

Are you interested in offering field placements to Ryerson BSW and/or MSW students at your organization? If so, please contact the Field Education Office.

Resources
Workshops

The Field Education Office hosts a series of workshops for field instructors who will be supervising a BSW or MSW student from Ryerson. These workshops take place throughout the academic year. Field instructors will receive more information via email. If you have any questions about upcoming workshops, please contact the Field Education Office.