In social work, supervision is considered an integral
part of professional practice. It primarily relates to
agency-based professional practice and forms part of
the ethical standards of assuring competent and
accountable practice with clients. The various functions
of supervision are as follows:
 Assessing the student’s level of knowledge and skill.
 Assuming responsibility for working out a plan that
will provide the student with an array of appropriate
and challenging learning opportunities during the
practicum.
 Assisting the student in understanding and
adapting to the community or environment where
the practicum takes place.
 Assessing the “fit” between the student’s and
client’s backgrounds and experiences (i.e. urban/
rural, middle/lower class) and their implications
for interactions.
 Monitoring the student’s practicum experience and
assisting in evaluating the student’s performance.
 Assisting the student in identifying his or her
learning needs, formulating learning objectives, and
preparing a learning agreement.
 Facilitating the student’s learning by providing
guidance and serving as a source of information.
 Assisting the student in integrating social work
theory and the specific experiences of the practicum.
 Educating the student by modeling appropriate
practice behaviours and techniques, providing
relevant feedback and encouragement, clarifying
and interpreting various behaviours exhibited by
the student, and sharing experiences that enhance
the student’s development.
 Encouraging self-acceptance and enhancing self
esteem.
 Encouraging interpersonal regard.
 Managing interpersonal and organizational
tensions.
 Fostering interdependence of the student.
Models and Modes of Social Work Supervision 193
194 Social Work Practicum and Supervision
 Advocating for the student.
 Evaluating the student’s progress and development.
Supervision occurs within an agency setting in which
the supervisor serves as the primary teacher in the field
whose aim is to teach the core skills of social work
practices, such as interviewing, listening, observation,
recording, assessing and prioritizing client problems,
developing interventions, etc. Other administrative
tasks are also taught, which include planning,
budgeting, drafting, etc. Other important components
of supervision also include the development of
professional attitudes and behaviours, such as
accountability, assuming responsibility, good time
management skills, and a general commitment to
completing the work assigned in a professional manner.
The supervisor will generally use a number of
techniques to assist in facilitating a student’s learning,
such as:
 Engaging in a discussion of case material and
asking why a certain intervention was used.
 Didactic teaching, such as providing information
directly.
 Experiential teaching, such as role playing in which
the supervisor demonstrates a particular skill or
technique.
In general, the supervision process is based on the
development of a positive supervisory relationship that
will be discussed later in this block. Undoubtedly
without this relationship, the functions of supervision
will not achieve the primary purpose of helping a
student attain the level of knowledge and skills
necessary to enter the field of social work practic

In social work, supervision is considered an integral
part of professional practice. It primarily relates to
agency-based professional practice and forms part of
the ethical standards of assuring competent and
accountable practice with clients. The various functions
of supervision are as follows:
 Assessing the student’s level of knowledge and skill.
 Assuming responsibility for working out a plan that
will provide the student with an array of appropriate
and challenging learning opportunities during the
practicum.
 Assisting the student in understanding and
adapting to the community or environment where
the practicum takes place.
 Assessing the “fit” between the student’s and
client’s backgrounds and experiences (i.e. urban/
rural, middle/lower class) and their implications
for interactions.
 Monitoring the student’s practicum experience and
assisting in evaluating the student’s performance.
 Assisting the student in identifying his or her
learning needs, formulating learning objectives, and
preparing a learning agreement.
 Facilitating the student’s learning by providing
guidance and serving as a source of information.
 Assisting the student in integrating social work
theory and the specific experiences of the practicum.
 Educating the student by modeling appropriate
practice behaviours and techniques, providing
relevant feedback and encouragement, clarifying
and interpreting various behaviours exhibited by
the student, and sharing experiences that enhance
the student’s development.
 Encouraging self-acceptance and enhancing self
esteem.
 Encouraging interpersonal regard.
 Managing interpersonal and organizational
tensions.
 Fostering interdependence of the student.
Models and Modes of Social Work Supervision 193
194 Social Work Practicum and Supervision
 Advocating for the student.
 Evaluating the student’s progress and development.
Supervision occurs within an agency setting in which
the supervisor serves as the primary teacher in the field
whose aim is to teach the core skills of social work
practices, such as interviewing, listening, observation,
recording, assessing and prioritizing client problems,
developing interventions, etc. Other administrative
tasks are also taught, which include planning,
budgeting, drafting, etc. Other important components
of supervision also include the development of
professional attitudes and behaviours, such as
accountability, assuming responsibility, good time
management skills, and a general commitment to
completing the work assigned in a professional manner.
The supervisor will generally use a number of
techniques to assist in facilitating a student’s learning,
such as:
 Engaging in a discussion of case material and
asking why a certain intervention was used.
 Didactic teaching, such as providing information
directly.
 Experiential teaching, such as role playing in which
the supervisor demonstrates a particular skill or
technique.
In general, the supervision process is based on the
development of a positive supervisory relationship that
will be discussed later in this block. Undoubtedly
without this relationship, the functions of supervision
will not achieve the primary purpose of helping a
student attain the level of knowledge and skills
necessary to enter the field of social work practice.