How can you hold a supervision or intervision conversation about the work placement?

Supervision or intervision conversations transfer work placement experiences into learning experiences in a process-oriented way. During these conversations, students become aware of their feelings, emotions, thoughts, attitudes, values and norms. This way, they gain more insight into their own actions, thus allowing them to  further develop themselves. 


The difference between supervision and intervision lies in the presence of supervisors. 

  • A supervision conversation is moderated by a supervisor (for example, a lecturer, an assistant or a work placement supervisor), who determines the rules of the conversation: how it takes place, how long it takes, which topics are focused on. 
  • In an intervision conversation, the group is composed of equal interlocutors. Sometimes a supervisor can observe an intervision in order to give the students feedback afterwards. 


During an intervision or supervision, students acquire the following competencies: 

  • Reflecting: the students develop a number of skills to learn from their own (professional) experiences..
  • Concretizing: students should use a concrete experience as the starting point of a conversation. During consecutive conversations, students gradually learn how to do this.
  • Problematizing: after analyzing their own functioning, students phrase objectives. 
  • Generalizing: students check whether their reactions were single or frequent occurrences, which shows whether or not they should change their behaviour. 
  • Developing learning questions: to maximize the learning effect of a professional experience, students develop learning questions. Increased knowledge can change their view and thus also their behaviour. 
  • Evaluating: students learn how to evaluate their own skills. 


In order for a supervision or intervision to be a learning experience, some basic requirements are important:

  • Students should be willing to learn from their own mistakes. 
  • Different views are allowed. 
  • The conversation is not considered as small talk. 
  • All participants engage in a dialogue with one another. 
  • During the conversation, all parties listen to one another. 
  • A safe learning environment is created. 

How does a supervision conversation take place? 

  • A supervision conversation usually takes place one-on-one or in a small group consisting of a maximum of three people. In case of an intervision, larger groups of 4 up to 8 participants can be formed. 
  • A supervision conversation can be one-on-one or a group supervision. In the introductory conversation, the preparatory supervision, the work placement supervisor meets the student(s). The objectives and responsibilities of the work placement practice are discussed and a (preliminary) work placement plan is drafted. (see tips about the introductory conversation). 
  • The actual supervision conversation reflects upon concrete experiences of the students. The students’ attitude is questioned with regard to the expected professional attitude. Educational content and information are provided based on the students’ experiences.  

How does an intervision conversation take place? 

  • Ideally, four up to eight people participate in an intervision conversation. In the first conversation – the introductory conversation – clear arrangements are made (what is an intervision, which objectives do you intend to reach, how frequently will the group gather, who will moderate the conversation, …). 
  • During the actual intervision, concrete experiences of the students are discussed to get a better understanding of the problem definition. All students have prepared this intervision. When everyone has gained enough insight into the hurdles, recommendations can be shared and educational content can be provided. 
  • The moderator oversees the process. They keep track of pace and summarize all content. For each intervision conversation, another moderator can be appointed so everyone in the group takes on this role. 
  • All students have prepared the conversation: which questions do they want to present their peers with? The student should take on an open attitude and never withhold information. The other members of the intervision group ask questions to gain a better insight into the problem. Only when this phase has been fully completed and all involved parties have gained sufficient insight into the hurdles, can recommendations be shared. 
  • During an intervision conversation, students appeal to their peers to discuss hurdles they have faced during their work placements. No supervisor is present during these talks, although they can observe the first conversations to be able to give the students feedback on their approach. 
  • Similar to a supervision, an intervision can also be used to teach educational content based on the experiences the students have built up. 

UGent Practices

Last modified April 1, 2021, 1:24 p.m.