Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


College of Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Terry A Wolfer


The field/practicum/internship experience is social work education's signature pedagogy (Council on Social Work Education, 2008). This study contributes to the body of field education knowledge by exploring how field instructors used cognitive apprenticeship to improve the learning experience and learning outcomes of social work students. Thirteen field instructors and their seventeen MSW students were taught the cognitive apprenticeship strategies and asked to use them to guide learning during student internships. Field instructors and students were interviewed during the course of student placements. Using action research and grounded theory, the participants and the lead researcher worked to understand how cognitive apprenticeship functioned as a pedagogical model in social work field placements. This study describes the ways in which field instructors used cognitive apprenticeship, its benefits, and barriers that interfered with its use. Implications for social work education and practice are discussed along with recommendations for further research.