Non-Traditional and Traditional Social Work Students: Perceptions of Field Instructors

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traditional, non-traditional, social work, field practicum


Drawing on a sample of undergraduate social work students from four mid-western social work programs, this study compared perceptions of field instructors regarding non-traditional and traditional students. Field instructors rated their perceptions of the successful fulfillment of the demands of field practicum and the impact of several life characteristics for traditional and non-traditional students.

Non-traditional students were rated significantly higher on a variety of measures as assessed by field instructors. This study has implications for social work education that involves differential recruitment, retention, and support of traditional and non-traditional students.


This article was originally published as Zosky, D., Unger, J., White, K., & Mills, S. (2003). Traditional and non-traditional social work students: Perceptions of field instructors. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 23 (3/4), 185-201.