Preparing social work students to be effective practitioners is a complex and challenging task undertaken in a dynamic environment both in terms of the field of social work and the higher education sector. There have been recommendations that self knowledge, empirical knowledge, theoretical knowledge and procedural knowledge are the keys to high standards of social work practice. This paper suggests that the concept of practice wisdom is a useful focus for integrating these different aspects of informed practice and for focusing educational programmes for social work. As practice wisdom is more about process than possessed characteristics then there are important motivational and value-based considerations in developing wise practitioners. This discussion considers motivational and personal narrative aspects of practice wisdom so that it can be integrated into social work teaching. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.