Placements and work-based learning are key elements of many undergraduate programmes in education studies. Gaining experience of workplace contexts is widely considered to be vitally important for students of education. This is partly because the study of education is closely connected in many institutions with the professional preparation of teachers and other professionals working in educational contexts. However it is also because experiences of educational practice are seen as important for critically engaging with educational theory and with some of the key debates about the role of education in society. This book provides a thorough overview of the nature of placement and work-based learning in education studies, with a primary focus on the context of education studies undergraduate programmes in the United Kingdom. Despite the predominance of examples and arguments that relate to the United Kingdom, much of what is discussed here may also have application to experiences of students in other countries. The first part of the book (Section A) concentrates on providing a general and conceptual introduction, concentrating on the rationale for placements and work-based learning, the contexts in which placement and work-based experiences occur, the nature of work-based learning, preparing for placements and the role of work-based assessment. In the second part of the book (Section B) placements and work-based learning are examined in different contexts, which include schools, cultural settings, early years settings and youth and community work. Different issues and dimensions are also explored in this second part, including working with students with learning difficulties on placement, international aspects of placements and the significance of field trips and study visits. All the chapters in this book aim to help students engage with the nature of placement and work-based learning through suggested activities, which may involve investigation, reflection or analysis. The authors have also signposted key further reading for deeper understanding of the topics discussed, enabling students to extend their knowledge and awareness in those areas that are of particular interest. Students using this book may wish to start with Section A to gain awareness of general issues that relate to placement and work-based learning in education
studies, or jump immediately to those chapters in Section B that particularly relate to the placement and work-based experiences that they have had or are preparing to experience. The book is therefore structured to meet the needs of individual students who may choose to return to it to consult different chapters as they progress through the course. The first two chapters of Section A are intended to provide a general introduction to the topic, mapping out some of the terrain. In Chapter 1 Jim Hordern presents an overview of placement and work-based learning in education studies, starting with a discussion of the emergence of education studies degrees in England over time and their relationship to forms of teacher education and other academic disciplines. He examines the rationale for placement and work-based learning in education studies and identifies what placements and work-based learning can offer students. In Chapter 2 Hordern focuses on the context of placements and work-based learning, locating workplaces within broader organisational, social, political and economic contexts. He investigates the extent to which workplace processes and activities provide access to specific knowledge and competence, and to distinctive forms of learning. This then moves into a discussion of what students can learn from their experience of workplace activities while on an education studies programme. In Chapter 3 Nick Sorensen provides a theoretical discussion of the nature of work-based learning that occurs on placement. He examines why learning in the workplace is important, what it entails and how that learning occurs. He discusses why reflective practice needs to be seen as an important feature of continuing professional development (CPD) with reference to a masters level programme, and connects this to the experiences of undergraduates on education studies degrees. In Chapter 4 Catherine Simon focuses on issues around preparing for placements including how to choose a placement that is right for you and how to negotiate university, placement and personal expectations. She also discusses some of the risks connected with placements, discussing what to do when things go wrong and the practicalities of insurance, health and safety and safeguarding. These are all especially important when undertaking placements and work-based activities in educational settings. She also covers the role of a reflective journal in establishing a structured way to organising your learning on placement. In Chapter 5 Joe Brown discusses the nature of work-based assessment and how it is typically assessed on university-level programmes. He explores the different types of knowledge, skills and professional capabilities which work-based assessment aims to develop and how students can recognise these in the assignments they are undertaking. He highlights the importance of critical reflection and collaboration, and outlines some reflective activities and example assignments. He also tackles the ethical requirements of work-based assessment. We hope you enjoy this book and find its contents useful as a starting point for thinking about the nature of placements and work-based learning in education studies. Please feel free to get in touch with the authors if you have any comments or feedback!