Challenges Encountered by Field Supervisors of Kenyan University Students’ Undertaking Practicum Attachment
Ogola, L. K.
Weeks, L. E.
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There is little published research that explores or documents the practicum supervision experience of field supervisors of university students in Kenya. Practicum provides students with an opportunity for experiential learning and hands-on work experience during their university education. The aim of this study was to identify the challenges encountered by field supervisors of students during practicum in organizations dealing with community issues. Fifteen organizations that had hosted third year students from the Department of Community Resource Management and Extension at Kenyatta University during their practicum attachment were sampled using purposive sampling. Data was collected using fifteen key informant interviews with field supervisors. Data was analyzed using NVivo software for qualitative analysis. Thematic analysis resulted in the identification of key themes related to clarity of learning objectives of the practicum and the supervision challenges encountered by field supervisors during practicum. Key findings indicate that the supervisors largely lacked a clear understanding of practicum expectations and the academic preparation of students in the Community Resource Management & Extension program. The main supervision challenge fundamentally revolved around orientation of students to community-based field work as they endeavored to link theory to practice. It is anticipated that a greater understanding of the challenges that field supervisors face could be utilized to enhance the practicum experience of university students through additional support provided to the host organizations. Consequently, the students will be more likely to optimize the intended benefits of the attachment as a result of the host organizations enhancing the quality of field-based learning.