STUDENT PEER GROUPS: SOCIALIZATION IN GRADUATE SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION
SCHREIBER, MEYER S.
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Student peer groups is an area of professional socialization that has received limited study in graduate social work education. This informal social organization, which is part of the student subculture of the social system in the graduate school of social work, is of interest as it affects the nature and quality of the total learning that student experiences. This inquiry seeks to study how the student peer group evolves as a situational variable related to the structure of the graduate school.;In this exploratory study a purposive sample of twenty five (25) students from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Social Work were interviewed three times during the academic year, 1979-1980. This approach utilized the framework of Symbolic Interactionist theory from Sociology as a means of understanding "the world" of the students as they created and perceived it. The three interviews were subjected to content analysis which yielded considerable data regarding the eighteen (18) students who joined peer groups, and the other seven (7) who did not join such a group.;The hypothesis generated from this data is: Peer groups in the first year of graduate school of social work facilitate socialization and learning while these students are involved in status passage. Students learn how to actively deal with or manipulate their educational experiences with the instrumental, emotional and social supports of their peers. In so doing they are able to manage the role of first year student in a way which serves to further the goals of the school and the faculty.