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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Student Work Placement What Workplace Supervisors look for

McElgunn David, Irene Pagliarella.

Field placement plays an integral role in experiential learning for students seeking to work as professionals in the growing field of justice/community services environment. It is in the field placement that students are able to integrate the theoretical perspectives covered in the classroom with the professional approach to practice

In this framework students identify as professionals and apply critical thinking skills, ethical considerations and knowledge to develop considered responses and interventions to societal issues and injustices and assess their effectiveness.

In the interest of maximising the practical placement experience and develop professional skills while not compromising the service delivery to clients, it is important to have an understanding of the knowledge skills and values sought after by the host organisation.

The authors have developed a tool to gather critical information from placement supervisors concerning their attitudes to student placements. In addition it identifies the qualities sought after by placement supervisors in students including knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that are congruent with the justice community service field.

This process serves to establish a preference fit to the organisation’s principles to ensure the accomplishment of the learning objectives consistent with the aims of the program and the professional skills required in the industry.

The model captures the expectations and responsibilities of the student in defining areas of responsibility and strategies for meeting agreed targets and objectives. The model can also be used as a basis for providing feedback to the student about their performance.


McElgunn David  (Australia)
Program Coordinator
Department Of Social & Community Services
RMIT University

Irene Pagliarella

  • Workplace supervisors
  • Workplace students

(30 min Conference Paper, English)