What makes a good social work observation? As a Practice Educator of many years, it is safe to say that I have worked with a significant number of student social workers. I have undertaken countless observations and have supported students in their development as social work practitioners. Personally, it is some of the most rewarding work I have delivered/supported.

“What makes a good observation?”

In March, I was asked  “what makes a good observation?”. It is correct that there is no one formula for observations. However, there are certain focus points or key themes that student social workers should incorporate if they are to be assessed (or considered) as “good”. What are they I hear you say? Due to the new intake of student social workers, I have re-issued an easy guide to assist them in the identification and delivery of observations, which has been linked to the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF’s).

The guide includes the following:

  • Use the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) to decide what you should be observed doing!
  • Preparation and planning.
  • Tailor the session to the needs of the Service User.
  • Link intervention delivery to assessment.
  • Demonstrate your listening, communication skills and person centred approach.
  • It won’t go 100% as planned.
  • Don’t lie – It’s ok not to know everything.
  • Observations are for learning.

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