Back to Support for writing

1. Supporting social work writing at university: educators’ perspectives

Most of the writing undertaken during qualifying social work programmes can be broadly termed as ‘academic’, or in other words the primary purpose of the writing is for assessment and learning rather than practice. There is some crossover with practice and professional writing such as portfolios, practice studies, case studies and reflective writing all of which are assessed but draw on practice experience and may include authentic practice texts. However, it can be unclear where responsibility for teaching professional writing sits and the extent to which learning to write effective academic assignments prepares social workers for the writing that they do in practice.

Watch the video where two social work educators, Janet Mellville-Wiseman and Lucy Rai, reflect on the extent to which academic writing at university prepares students writing for practice.

As you watch the video write your thoughts on the following questions:

1.What does Janet say about the link between academic and practice writing?
2.To what extent do Lucy and Janet think that writing skills are transferable from academic to practice writing?
3. To what extent do you agree with their views, based on your experience? Can you think of any examples where you were able to transfer skills from the academic to the practice context?

Thinking about your own experience of students learning to write in practice, who do you think is available to offer support both at university and in practice? If you are a student or recent graduate, did you have support from anyone? If you are an educator, does your university have any processes to ensure that students learn to write effectively in practice?

Based on your own experience, what are the greatest challenges in writing in practice? If you are an educator, what do you think the tricky areas of practice writing are?