We spoke with Meredith’s Social Work Program Director Amanda Jones, MSW, LCSW, about an assignment she’s been giving her students in her SWK390 course, General Individual Practice.
Can you describe the assignment?
For the Experiential Interviewing Exercise (EIE) assignment, students are assigned a practice client (one of their classmates) and will work with that practice client having the opportunity to engage in the seven phases of direct practice (including: preparing, beginning, exploring, assessing, contracting, intervening, and ending). Assignments are divided into sections to reflect textbook chapter content. Each student performs both the role of Practice Social Worker and Practice Client. For each of the phases of direct practice, students meet with their practice client for a corresponding interview, which they film, and complete corresponding paperwork.
Why did you decide to give this assignment?
After my first year of teaching the Social Work Practice with Individuals course as an adjunct faculty member, I knew that I wanted the class to be more. Students typically take this course in their senior year, the semester before they complete a 32-hour per week internship in which they are actually working with the communities most vulnerable populations. I wanted the course to provide students with an opportunity to practice and demonstrate all of the social work knowledge that they had accumulated thus far in a way that resembled real world practice.
The assignment has evolved over the years to include more opportunities for self-reflection, critique and praise. Students are able to “see” themselves practicing social work and make adjustments to deepen their professional practice which will increase their efficacy in their internships and careers.
What were some outcomes?
Through this project students are able to practice applying the content and demonstrating the skills that they have learned thus far in their social work education. Along with the recorded interviews, students complete corresponding paperwork for each of the sessions and complete self-reflection assignments in which they are encouraged to meaningfully reflect on what they did well and what aspects of practice that they may need to continue to focus on.
Students also take an active role with that information, articulating how they plan to improve that skill that needs additional focus. Overall, the project allows students to increase their confidence in the professional practice of social work and know that they are more prepared than they may realize to enter the field.