Networks: An On-line Journal for Teacher Research

Book Review

by Gay Roland
Gay Roland is the Director for the Cooperative Education/Internship program at North Shore Community College in Danvers, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Milnes, Joan. (2003). Field Work Savvy: A Handbook for Students in Internship, Co-Operative Education, Service-Learning and other forms of Experiential Education. WA: Pleasant Word. Pp. 138. ISBN 1-57921-571-8. $12.99

Field Work Savvy by Joan Milnes is a handbook for students preparing to participate in a field based learning experience. It is a user-friendly guide for high school and college level students.

Ms. Milnes has researched the whys and hows of making a field experience successful for students and employers. This handbook provides the students' faculty coordinator with a comprehensive preparatory plan to ease the transition from the classroom to the world of work.

The book's seven chapters transition smoothly from "Getting Started," which acknowledges the anxiety students experience when first faced with the prospect of actually having to go into the real world, to the final chapter of reflecting on what the experience was really all about. Students will welcome the many templates for writing letters of introduction, résumés, reference lists and portfolio construction.

Instructors will be able to bring real life scenarios into the classroom utilizing the many tips gleaned from insider information provided by experienced students, workplace supervisors and professionals in the field. These tips, scattered throughout the book, are identified with the amiable icons of a pointing finger aimed at advice or "pointers" and a magnifying glass inviting the reader to "Take a look" at examples from the field.

The chapter on interviewing provides the basis for identifying those all-important soft skills that many times are overlooked by students as they concentrate on what they can do, not on how they do it. The workplace issues chapter continues to identify the basics of professionalism and human relations in real life scenarios. These vignettes will lead to lively discussion among students as they share similar situations with each other.

The learning contract chapter provides an outline of what the work experience should provide for both the student and the employer. Instructors can use this section to expand on key questions that come up concerning expectations and outcomes for the student and site supervisor.

Seasoned professionals and newcomers to the arena of field-based learning will find this publication an asset for classroom teaching. No matter what the experiential learning experience is called from internship, practicum, clinical, service learning to cooperative education, Field Work Savvy is a tool that will provide students and instructors with the framework to insure the work experience is a positive one for all participants.

Field Work Savvy: A Handbook for Students in Internship, Co-Operative Education, Service-Learning and other forms of Experiential Education by Joan Milnes is endorsed by the National Society for Experiential Education. The Table of Contents and the Introduction for Students can be viewed at www.nsee.org.

About the Author

Joan Milnes holds a master's degree in counseling psychology and certifications in secondary school guidance and vocational education guidance. She has worked with higher education students enrolled in two-year and four-year degree programs at public and private institutions in Massachusetts.

About the Reviewer

Gay Roland has over 20 years experience as the Director for the Cooperative Education/Internship program at North Shore Community College in Danvers, Massachusetts. She has established partnerships with over 1,000 companies in the local area providing a broad spectrum of work-based opportunities for students. She collaborates with program coordinators in the areas of business, culinary arts, travel and tourism, liberal arts and graphic design to assure students are referred to appropriate placement sites that will parallel the course curriculum. In addition, she has coordinated the Faculty Externship program by providing work place experience for over twenty-five faculty members. She is a contributing member of local civic and professional organizations.