Learning contract and evaluation activities

The School of Social Work currently is exploring and developing frameworks and applications of a trauma-informed and human rights (TI-HR) perspective across all levels of social work practice.

Trauma-Informed and Human Rights Perspective Activities

Please select a student type and learning objective to see a list of related Field Education activities. Activities relevant to a [TI-HR] perspective are labeled as such.

Student Type

Do you have field activities you'd like to share?

Email us at sw-field@buffalo.edu

Sample Learning Contract Projects for In-person or Remote Field Learning

These assignments can be useful adjuncts to in-person fieldwork as well as for when a disruption or stoppage in fieldwork occurs related to a public health issue or other event. They should be incorporated into student learning contracts and connected to relevant competencies.  

Examples include the following:

  • Development of agency trainings on topics of self-care, ethics, etc.
  • Development of curricula for groups or workshops on things like life skills, grief, trauma, intimate partner violence, etc.
  • Development of written materials, such as handouts, flyers or brochures, for service recipients or wider community on topics such as voting rights, informed consent, etc.
  • Agency-specific policy review with written recommendations on topics such as safety, use of social mediate, utilization of technology, etc. 
  • Legislative policy review paper on laws and policies impacting the population students work with (ex- Indian Child Welfare Act, Emergency Mental Health Holds, Homeless Camping Ban, etc.) and provide a synopsis of key takeaways or prepare advocacy materials (letter to editor, develop key talking points, etc.)  
  • Literature review on field-specific topics, i.e. effectiveness of an intervention, how interruption of services impacts mental health or economic stability, etc.
  • Grant work, including researching potential funding opportunities and/or preparing specific sections of a proposal. 
  • Community networking and Resource development, i.e. teleconferencing with various service providers, participating in resource mapping, and develop a list of resources for clients with services offered, referral process, etc. 
  • Completing on-line trainings and providing a certification of completion and/or a written reflection paper.
  • Engaging in volunteer work related to population served, or in response to community crisis and providing a written reflection paper. 
In the case of a public health issue, students may help with public education, connect service recipients to health care resources or other benefits, engage in outreach and inform clients of changes in services, provide resource and referral information, work on agency initiatives in response to the crisis, participate in community awareness campaigns, and write to elected officials about issues impacting service delivery, and the needs of the population served.
Assignments below have been developed by members of the UBSSW Field Team. Students also have access to the UB Learns course site, Social Work Field Education, where a more comprehensive listing of activities can be found. Students can contact sw-field@buffalo.edu if they need assistance. 


Self-Care Assignment (4-5 Hours)

Self-care is an important component of social work practice (and life in general), especially in times of stress. While many of you will have already seen some of these resources, and certainly given thought to your personal self-care, it is important to regularly re-visit our self-care plans and activities. We are in a time of unprecedented uncertainty and we want to encourage and ensure that students are taking care of themselves in positive and healthy ways. For this assignment, we want to students to spend around five hours engaging in the study of self-care, and developing a personal plan for yourself.

Review the following:

Create (or revisit) a personal self-care plan: Develop Your Self-Care Plan.
To cite:

Field Podcast Assignment (35-40 Hours)

This assignment can be done individually or with a partner. The purpose of this assignment is to help students learn about assessment, evaluation, and/or intervention skills while also learning about technology tools and resources that will help them be informed about social work practice. In this assignment you will also demonstrate your ability to present yourself in a professional manner, self-awareness, and ability to engage in critical peer consultation.

An audio podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a portable media player, computer, or other device. The content of a podcast can inspire, inform, or entertain an audience. An audio format can be used as a way to capture people’s attention and direct their concern to the topic you cover in ways that you cannot do in writing. You will save your audio file in an mp3 or mp4 format, which is the default for most recording devices.

Before you record, edit, and upload your podcast, you will:

  • Listen to a podcast and rate it using the attached rubric
  • Review attached material about storytelling best practices and audio technology
  • Review YouTube videos related to creating podcasts
  • Listen to a podcast that is similar to the type of podcast you will create
  • Choose a topic, audience, and interview or discussion guide for your podcast. Draft your narrative: what’s the story you want to tell? What do you imagine will flow from this story? What will listeners want to know about your topic? How will you elicit or develop this information?

For your podcast - your podcast should focus on a topic that is relevant to your field agency, the podcast can then be shared with your field site to use as a resource. For example, if you are placed in a school, any topic about education and/or children and youth would be relevant. You could also highlight how your agency is adapting to the changes and stresses associated with the Corona Virus pandemic.

The podcast assignment has three parts:

1. Create a podcast between 15-20 minutes in length, including intro. 

  • The intro should be 1-4 minutes and identify you (name and your role as a social work student), and any other people, include the date of the recording, and explain what is talked about during the podcast. It should also mention any distractions (that can’t be edited out) that happen during the podcast. You might also discuss background or relevance of the topic to social work, and what audience might benefit from listening. For best results, this should be created after the podcast is recorded.
  • If you are conducting an interview, questions should help weave a story. If you are not interviewing, your narrative should still help weave a story. See story arc presentation handout.
  • The podcast should end with a thank you (if interview) or other clear ending (where to find more information on the topic, etc.)
  • The interview should be edited to cut distractions where possible, pauses, and add a very short (a few sec) intro/exit music or other appropriate sounds that enhance the recording.
  • If you have external references, mention the website/article/etc as “show notes” which will be posted alongside your podcast if shared widely.

2. Have a peer review your podcast using the attached rubric. After the review, you may choose to re-record or edit any part of the podcast to address changes. Complete the reflection portion of your assignment. Your reflection should answer these questions: (a) what did it take to create your podcast; (b) what did you learn from creating the podcast, about technology and your topic; (c) how is podcasting similar and different to writing a paper on the topic; (d) how will you use podcasts in the future; (e) if you worked with a partner, describe how you divided the work and who did what.

3. Complete a short survey about this assignment. This survey is worth one hour of field time. You will upload the last page of the survey (confirmation of submission) to receive the extra credit. Your answers to the survey will not impact your grade, but will be used to improve the assignment in the future, and the information will also be anonymized and used for research if you give consent. The survey will ask you about your learning and strengths/weaknesses of this assignment.

Complete a reflection paper that covers: (a) what did it take to create your podcast; (b) what did you learn from creating the podcast, about technology and your topic; (c) how is podcasting similar and different to writing a paper on the topic; (d) how will you use podcasts in the future; (e) if you worked with a partner, describe how you divided the work and who did what.

Consider sharing your podcast with the Field Team at sw-field@buffalo.edu and/or via social media. For example, your podcast can be published with accompanying text via Wordpress or other blogging site, and a link to your post can be shared on Twitter or other platform using the hashtag #UBSSW. 


Cultural Humility Assignment (9-15 Hours)

The online version of this module, Conversations About Culture: Video and Lesson Plan, can be found on this website.

The content is designed to facilitate skills for effective cross cultural communication and collaboration. The very important concept of cultural humility is a central focus. Cultural humility entails acknowledging difference, and positioning ourselves as people interested in learning and understanding. Cultural humility is particularly relevant to a trauma-informed, human-rights-based approach to social work practice; it underscores the dignity and value of the individual and empowers the client as expert in their experience.

Because the process of self-reflection is so important for the development of cultural humility, sample reflection exercises are provided. Learning objectives include the following:

  1. Define the concept of cultural humility;
  2. Discuss the difference between cultural competence and cultural humility;
  3. Highlight the role cultural humility plays in social work practice;
  4. Explore the dynamics of difference;
  5. Reflect on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes which are associated with becoming culturally self-aware and valuing diversity;
  6. Increase awareness of unconscious cultural stereotypes, and the impact of these on service recipients.
View Videos and Complete Readings:
To cite:

Technology in a Pandemic Assignment (4-5 Hours)

The use of technology, both personally and professionally has profound impacts on our lives and our work. Recently, CSWE and NASW have put out standards for the ethical use of technology and making tech proficiency a critical component of social work education. This assignment allows students to explore various uses of technology and their implications for practice and self-care.

  1. Please review the resources below:
    1. Listen to the following podcast: New York Times: Alone Together podcast (7 minutes)
    2. Review at least 4 blog posts on Laurel Hitchcock’s Social Work Technology Blog
    3. Read: The Tech That Could Be Our Best Hope for Fighting Covid-19—and Future Outbreaks
    4. Watch: How Technology is Being Utilized to Mitigate the Covid-19 Virus
  2. Write a reflection paper responding to the following prompts:
    1. What are ways you are using technology during the Covid-19 pandemic?
      1. What ways are you using technology for self care and to stay connected to peers?
      2. How have you been using technology in your field placement? Do you have any new or innovative ideas of ways that technology can be implemented in your field placement?
      3. How can technology be used in social work to improve practice?
      4. Do new technology (social media) pose any unique risks or threats in an environment that the Covid-19 pandemic?
    To cite:

Training or Volunteer Participation Reflection Assignment

This sample reflection paper assignment can be used in conjuncton with training, volunteer or other activities assigned by the Field Educator. 

Write a Reflection Paper (at least 3-5 pages) on the training you attended, responding to the prompts below, and addressing where possible connections to competencies 1-9. 

Submission instructions: Students can submit their reflections, noting number of completed training hours plus time spent completing this reflection, directly to their Field Educator. 

(1-2 Pages) Respond to the following prompts

  • What I learned
  • What I would do differently
  • My thoughts going forward

(1-2 Pages) Next, consider any connections to the nine Social Work competencies.

  • Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
  • Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
  • Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  • Competency 4: Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
  • Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice
  • Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Do you have field projects you'd like to share?

Email us at sw-field@buffalo.edu