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Journal of Teaching in Social Work

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Social Work education, Pedagogy


Field instructors are critical to enacting social work’s signature pedagogy as they are tasked with providing agency-based learning opportunities and supervision for students. It has been well-documented that field supervisors are instrumental in students’ learning and that the supervisory relationship is central to success in field education. However, there is a dearth of research regarding issues of identity, difference, race, and/or racism in these relationships, particularly from the perspective of field instructors of color. To date, we found no published literature that focuses specifically on the experiences and perspectives of Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) social work field instructors. The qualitative study presented here draws upon interviews and focus groups with BIPOC field instructors to better understand how race influences their role and work with students in field settings. Key findings include: 1) race and racialized experiences are primary motivations for becoming a field instructor, 2) BIPOC field instructors integrate issues of race and racism into supervision and work with students in multiple ways, and 3) BIPOC field instructors have differential experiences when supervising White students versus students of color. Recommendations for supporting racialized field instructors in their roles and future research are discussed.


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Social Work Commons