How did you become involved with the course?
“I qualified as a social worker in 1990 and have always worked in the mental health field in voluntary sector organisations. After about 13 years in social work I decided to take on a student and did a practice teaching course at Goldsmiths. Since then I have always had students and it was this experience which inspired me to carry on with the programme. After the first course I had a taste of practice education skills, but knew there was much more that I could learn.
Also, in the voluntary sector as a social worker you can sometimes feel a bit isolated. So I realised that the course at Goldsmiths was a good way of keeping in touch with social work. So I continued with the course right up to the MA in Advanced Social Work: Practice Education. I even managed to get a distinction! It was hard work but very rewarding on both a personal and professional level.
I had to juggle a full-time job and it was really helpful that I was able to dip in and out of the course and spread it over several years. I never enrolled in more than two modules a year and had some time completely out. It was helpful that I got some funding for parts of the course.”
How did you find the course?
“Goldsmiths' teaching and learning approach was really good. There was a helpful balance between students learning from each other, seminars, lectures, input from practitioners and service users. Our feedback was heard and as students we felt valued.
It was nice that the other students came from diverse backgrounds and from different social work organisations, fields and roles. This diversity made for a much wider discussions and was enabled through an emphasis on sharing knowledge and experiences.
The teaching and information presented was up to date and quite a few of the lecturers could present personal research that they had done. In the last couple of years, I was using the virtual learning environment (VLE) much more and a lot of the books that were recommended were uploaded as E Books and there was good access to journals.
Tutorials were very helpful and I could always ask questions and get a response even outside formal tutorials."
What are your career plans now?
“As well as practising as a social worker I am now an independent Practice Educator. The course gave me the confidence to do that, which I would not have had before doing the course. I have also been asked to carry out the role of Practice Assessor to support and assess other trainee practice educators.
Now I am aiming to do more work in practice education and I am looking at possibilities of becoming involved in teaching on BA in Social Work courses as a tutor. The whole course has opened up a lot of options within the broader context of social work education and learning and development in organisations.”