The Practice Pyramid: A model for integrating social work values, theory and practice


  • Jean Gordon Independent
  • Gillian Mackay Social Work Student



The Practice Pyramid is a learning tool that supports social work students’ ability to integrate their understanding of personal and professional values, theory and practice during field placements. Although it has been used by practice educators in Scotland for over 20 years, it is not well known elsewhere and has yet to be evaluated. This paper, written by a practice educator and a student social worker, describes the Practice Pyramid and provides a case example to illustrate how it contributed to one student’s learning during a practice placement. Four factors that appear to contribute to its success are proposed: its model of pedagogy, the visual and accessible nature of the tool, flexibility and the support it gives to collaborative learning processes. It is suggested that the Practice Pyramid may usefully support learning in a range of social work and non social work contexts, and would benefit from more extensive evaluation of its role in supporting practice - theory integration.

Keywords: Practice Pyamid; social work students; field placements; Scotland; collaborative learning

Author Biography

Jean Gordon, Independent

Practice Educator, Independent Research and Training
Consultant, Open University Tutor


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How to Cite

Gordon, J., & Mackay, G. (2017). The Practice Pyramid: A model for integrating social work values, theory and practice. The Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 14(3), 64-80.