Blog Post: My Teaching Partnership Experience
By Anna Holland, Consultant Social Worker at NSPCC and Teaching Consultant for the Teaching Partnership
When I saw the opportunity to be involved in the Teaching Partnership and work with Kingston University I jumped at the chance. As a social worker and then later as a manager, I have always loved having students within the teams I’ve worked in as I think there is something about the energy and curiosity of “why do you do it that way?” that even the most experienced workers can benefit from reflecting on.
In the last few years, my role had taken me more in the direction of training and consultancy to Social Workers and other professionals. My specialist area has become Child Sexual Exploitation and Trauma, and training around practice and implementation of the NSPCC’s Reunification Practice Framework. This is an evidence informed framework to support decision making by Social Workers when considering whether it is safe for children to return home from care.
I really enjoy the two-way process of training because it creates an environment where people can share their experiences and their challenges, as well as what has gone well and ask the questions that they really want to ask! I wanted to learn more about how to ensure that students get the best from the learning environment and how to become a good facilitator.
So, what does a “day in the life” of the Teaching Partnership look like? One word – “Varied!” Working as a Teaching Consultant has been incredibly interesting on both a personal and professional level. I’ve been part of interview panels and group exercise facilitations/observations for students applying to both Undergraduate and Postgraduate Social Work Courses along with colleagues from a huge range of other Social Work partners, shared learning, run sessions for Student Social Workers coming to the end of their course and the beginning of their journey into qualified work and done wider trainings for partners within Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) conference settings.
There has also been the support and learning which has benefited not only my own Continuing Professional Development, but that of colleagues across the organisation. For myself, I’ve had several days of teaching from academics within the University around adult learning and teaching within a University Context. This is something which has been useful not only to my work within the Teaching Partnership, but is of huge benefit to the role I am then undertaking day to day at work. I’ve also contributed to a development and learning day around post-qualifying offers and what this could look like. On a wider level though, the Teaching Partnership has offered training and development opportunities to more than just me. Colleagues and managers within our Service Centre and beyond have had the opportunity of places on Coaching and Mentoring and Leadership in Social Work courses and colleagues across the Service Centre have delivered training sessions as part of the partnership.
In the words of one colleague:
“I had the opportunity to deliver a twilight workshop to 3rd year Social Work students around Child Sexual Exploitation. It was great to be back in the University environment and to meet a student who was interested and had lots of questions. I would advise anybody to take any opportunity that comes their way, to develop new skills and experience in a different environment.”
So, my advice to those who are thinking about being involved is go for it! You get so much back as a practitioner and Social Worker as well as what you can give to students in terms of teaching. There is something a bit nostalgic in being back in a learning environment and having an opportunity to influence and input into Social Work education – it’s a great reminder for all of us of why we started (and stay) in Social Work.
Whilst there are currently no vacancies for Teaching Consultants, if you work within our Partnership and are interested in delivering training or masterclasses for practitioners across our Partnership, please get in touch with us at email@example.com
Future opportunities to become a Teaching Consultant will be advertised on the website and Twitter, so keep an eye out if this is of interest to you!