Citation

Using Practitioner Inquiry to Promote Reflexivity and Change in Infant-Toddler Early Childhood Programs.

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Abstract:

Australia is experiencing a rapid increase in the number of infants and toddlers entering early childhood programs. The promotion of high-quality, responsive infant-toddler programs is therefore paramount. While much is known about how structural considerations, such as ratios and qualifications, contribute to quality, less is known about how to support the direct, day-to-day contribution of practitioners. Traditional professional development approaches have included the delivery of one-off learning programs, yet recent research indicates that conceptual knowledge and operational skills can be further enhanced though practitioners’ engagement in more long-term projects.

The current project used a 6-month practitioner inquiry approach to promote professional development in 20 infant-toddler practitioners. Participants attended five workshops which provided theoretical and pedagogical information and discussion opportunities about a range of factors related to infant-toddler curriculum and pedagogy. At the conclusion of each workshop, participants were presented with challenges or questions designed to promote inquiry around the topic in terms of their own and the children’s perspectives and experiences. The aim was to encourage practitioner reflexivity, or reflective self awareness, so that practitioners not only developed a deeper understanding of these experiences, but also appreciated how they themselves contributed to unfolding events and the effect of any changes on their own identity, values and practice.

Evidence of reflexivity and change was captured by pre- and post-project surveys, by interviews during and after the project, and though written workshop reflections. Results suggested a number of positive changes including a reduction in practitioner stress, an increased level of responsiveness to children’s perspectives and agency and an enhanced understanding of curriculum content. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for the provision of professional development opportunities, with particular reference to the way in which practitioners can become empowered to make lasting and meaningful changes to their programs.
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Association:
Name: Children and Childhoods Research Symposium
URL:
http://www.iec.mq.edu.au


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p438623_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Degotardi, Sheila., Semann, Anthony., Shepherd, Wendy. and Honig, Toby. "Using Practitioner Inquiry to Promote Reflexivity and Change in Infant-Toddler Early Childhood Programs." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Children and Childhoods Research Symposium, Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, Sep 24, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p438623_index.html>

APA Citation:

Degotardi, S. , Semann, A. , Shepherd, W. and Honig, T. , 2010-09-24 "Using Practitioner Inquiry to Promote Reflexivity and Change in Infant-Toddler Early Childhood Programs." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Children and Childhoods Research Symposium, Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p438623_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Australia is experiencing a rapid increase in the number of infants and toddlers entering early childhood programs. The promotion of high-quality, responsive infant-toddler programs is therefore paramount. While much is known about how structural considerations, such as ratios and qualifications, contribute to quality, less is known about how to support the direct, day-to-day contribution of practitioners. Traditional professional development approaches have included the delivery of one-off learning programs, yet recent research indicates that conceptual knowledge and operational skills can be further enhanced though practitioners’ engagement in more long-term projects.

The current project used a 6-month practitioner inquiry approach to promote professional development in 20 infant-toddler practitioners. Participants attended five workshops which provided theoretical and pedagogical information and discussion opportunities about a range of factors related to infant-toddler curriculum and pedagogy. At the conclusion of each workshop, participants were presented with challenges or questions designed to promote inquiry around the topic in terms of their own and the children’s perspectives and experiences. The aim was to encourage practitioner reflexivity, or reflective self awareness, so that practitioners not only developed a deeper understanding of these experiences, but also appreciated how they themselves contributed to unfolding events and the effect of any changes on their own identity, values and practice.

Evidence of reflexivity and change was captured by pre- and post-project surveys, by interviews during and after the project, and though written workshop reflections. Results suggested a number of positive changes including a reduction in practitioner stress, an increased level of responsiveness to children’s perspectives and agency and an enhanced understanding of curriculum content. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for the provision of professional development opportunities, with particular reference to the way in which practitioners can become empowered to make lasting and meaningful changes to their programs.


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