Background Non-traditional practice placements are a type of field education based on an innovation-oriented approach, in which students are expected to develop new activities or new projects that would not be realized without them. So, it is not a requirement to reproduce the work of other professionals but rather to experience something new. This “new” experience could be a program built along the lines of an existing program that has already been successful elsewhere, or it could include activities that an agency omitted due to insufficient staff to engage in them. In some case, students must venture on paths that are not beaten at all. Similar non-traditional placements are documented in the UK (Scholar et al., 2014) and in the USA, where they are sometimes developed according to a service-learning approach (Petracchi et al., 2016). In Italy, this type of practice placement is called Unconventional Practice Placement (UPP) to distinguish it from traditional ones. Such experiences currently exist in the Social Work Course of three Italian universities (Dellavalle, 2011; Cola, 2015; Calcaterra and Raineri, 2015). Chapter’s aims After a brief presentation about the general characteristics of these atypical practice placements, the chapter will present the Italian experience conducted in the Catholic University of Milan. The description will be based on first-hand knowledge of authors who have directly contributed towards the development of this model, informal information from practice teachers involved in UPPs supervision, and on data from a larger study about UPPs during ten academic years from 2008/9 to 2018/19. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered through a self-administered questionnaire. 515 students answered about 450 UPPs. Qualitative data were analyzed to map the contents of various interventions, and a frequency distribution analysis of quantitative data was carried out. Main results from a survey Thanks to UPPs, many local communities could benefit from creative small community work programs and various groupwork initiatives, generally not widely practised by Italian social workers employed in statutory services. In ten years, UPPs engaged more that 900 people, who collaborated in planning and implementing programs: about 12% were service users, 9% were users’ family members or informal carers; 17% volunteers and 15% active citizens. 70% of programs continued after the end of the placement, and 22% of students said they found a job as social workers thanks to their UPPs. Conclusion While further studies would be needed to assess students' learning from UPPs, the survey seems to confirm that UPPs are effective in involving communities and offering new initiatives and services. Interestingly, sometimes UPPs open the way for new spaces of professional social work practice and new jobs.

Raineri, M., Corradini, F., Landi, C., Limongelli, P., Unconventional Practice Placements: Creativity, Partnership, and New Professional Opportunities in an Italian Experience of Social Work Field Education, in Baikady, R., Sajid, S. M., Nadesan, V., Islam, M. R. (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Field Work Education in Social Work, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, New York 2022: 436- 454 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/203332]

Unconventional Practice Placements: Creativity, Partnership, and New Professional Opportunities in an Italian Experience of Social Work Field Education

Raineri, Ml
Primo
;
Corradini, F
Secondo
;
Landi, C
Penultimo
;
Limongelli, P
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

Background Non-traditional practice placements are a type of field education based on an innovation-oriented approach, in which students are expected to develop new activities or new projects that would not be realized without them. So, it is not a requirement to reproduce the work of other professionals but rather to experience something new. This “new” experience could be a program built along the lines of an existing program that has already been successful elsewhere, or it could include activities that an agency omitted due to insufficient staff to engage in them. In some case, students must venture on paths that are not beaten at all. Similar non-traditional placements are documented in the UK (Scholar et al., 2014) and in the USA, where they are sometimes developed according to a service-learning approach (Petracchi et al., 2016). In Italy, this type of practice placement is called Unconventional Practice Placement (UPP) to distinguish it from traditional ones. Such experiences currently exist in the Social Work Course of three Italian universities (Dellavalle, 2011; Cola, 2015; Calcaterra and Raineri, 2015). Chapter’s aims After a brief presentation about the general characteristics of these atypical practice placements, the chapter will present the Italian experience conducted in the Catholic University of Milan. The description will be based on first-hand knowledge of authors who have directly contributed towards the development of this model, informal information from practice teachers involved in UPPs supervision, and on data from a larger study about UPPs during ten academic years from 2008/9 to 2018/19. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered through a self-administered questionnaire. 515 students answered about 450 UPPs. Qualitative data were analyzed to map the contents of various interventions, and a frequency distribution analysis of quantitative data was carried out. Main results from a survey Thanks to UPPs, many local communities could benefit from creative small community work programs and various groupwork initiatives, generally not widely practised by Italian social workers employed in statutory services. In ten years, UPPs engaged more that 900 people, who collaborated in planning and implementing programs: about 12% were service users, 9% were users’ family members or informal carers; 17% volunteers and 15% active citizens. 70% of programs continued after the end of the placement, and 22% of students said they found a job as social workers thanks to their UPPs. Conclusion While further studies would be needed to assess students' learning from UPPs, the survey seems to confirm that UPPs are effective in involving communities and offering new initiatives and services. Interestingly, sometimes UPPs open the way for new spaces of professional social work practice and new jobs.
Inglese
The Routledge Handbook of Field Work Education in Social Work
978-1-032-20552-6
Routledge Taylor & Francis Group
Raineri, M., Corradini, F., Landi, C., Limongelli, P., Unconventional Practice Placements: Creativity, Partnership, and New Professional Opportunities in an Italian Experience of Social Work Field Education, in Baikady, R., Sajid, S. M., Nadesan, V., Islam, M. R. (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Field Work Education in Social Work, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, New York 2022: 436- 454 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/203332]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10807/203332
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