COGNITIVE DIMENSIONS OF PROBLEM LEARNING IN FIELD INSTRUCTION
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Student problems in field instruction are of serious concern to social work educators. In the past, personality theory has been the major approach to understanding these difficulties. This study presents the thesis that cognition is a significant factor in field work performance. Specifically, cognitive deficits account for maladaptive performance associated with non-self-corrective (NSC) learning.;As part of the study, a Typology of Cognitive Deficits was developed which identified four types of maladaptive stances of NSC learners: intellectual stubbornness; dysfunctional automatic behaviors; inaccurate perception; inadequate interpersonal behaviors.;The study was conducted at New York University and Yeshiva University Schools of Social Work. The 1980-81 first year classes served as the subjects for three tests of social intelligence. During the academic year they were given global assessments of performance by their advisors. Based on these assessments, they were divided into three groups: problems, superior students and residuals. At the end of the year, field instructors filled out questionnaires on the problem students and the superior students. The questionnaire was constructed from the Typology of Cognitive Deficits and explored the cognitive behaviors associated with problematic and successful performance.;Results of the study supported the thesis that cognitive deficits are a major factor in field work problems. Problem students scored significantly lower than the two other groups on all three tests. In addition the questionnaire identified specific maladaptive cognitive behaviors that were evidenced by problem students. Furthermore, there was a high correlation between test scores and student performance in the field. The findings suggest that considerable understanding of student dysfunction can be gained through the use of cognitive theory. In addition, the tests may be of value as predictive instruments during the admission process.