Giving Early Level Teachers Voice

Report
GIVING EARLY LEVEL TEACHERS
VOICE
Grace Paton
University of the West of Scotland
1st TEAN Annual Conference
Friday 21st May
THE CONTEXT FOR EARLY YEARS
EDUCATION-THE DISTINCTIVE WESTERN
FEATURES - STEPHEN(2006)
a focus on individual development
 an emphasis on child-initiated not adult-directed
learning
 learning is co-constructed with adults and peers
 children are active agents not passive recipients
 a view of children as competent learners rather
than immature adults
 listening to and respecting children and their
choices
 learning is shaped by context and community.
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THE CONTEXT FOR EARLY YEARS
EDUCATION-THE DISTINCTIVE WESTERN
FEATURES - STEPHEN(2006)
areas of learning to structure the curriculum
rather than subjects/disciplines
 general agreement on the areas of development
to be addressed:
 social and emotional
 cultural, aesthetic and creative
 physical
 environmental
 language, literacy and numeracy.
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THE SCOTTISH CONTEXT- CURRICULUM
REFORM
Previous Framework
Reformed framework
A Curriculum Framework for
Children 3-5
(1999)
Curriculum for Excellent (CfE)
Early level
Covers age range 3-6 years
(2004-present)
5 developmental areas ( Key
Aspects)
8 curricular areas
66 learning features – plain English
145 outcomes and experiences –
elaborate language
Vital contribution of pre-schooldevelop and broaden learning
experiences- confident, eager and
enthusiastic learners -looking
forward to school
4 purposes- successful learners,
confident individuals, responsible
citizens, effective contributors
Assessment is for Learning
Principles – recorded in profiles
matched to the 5 developmental
AIFL principles + A Framework for
assessment to support the purposes
of learning 3-18
A FRAMEWORK FOR ASSESSMENT TO
SUPPORT THE PURPOSES OF LEARNING
3-
18
assess knowledge and understanding, skills,
attributes and capabilities
 assessment will place greater emphasis on
literacy and numeracy across the curriculum,
health and well being, ICT and higher order
skills, including creativity
 secure learning and progression requires
enriching and reinforcing of learning experiences
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ASSESSMENT EXEMPLARS
( IN PROGRESS ACCESSED 24/4/10)
24 examples for early level -12 making reference
to pre-school practice
 4 randomly selected examples, all adult directed,
formal learning situations
 Observations about weather
 Exploring numbers through stories and games
 Practise how to do woodwork safely
 Express feelings through art

MIXED MESSAGES
This will mean extending the approaches
which are used in pre-school into the early
years of primary, emphasising the
importance of opportunities for children to
learn through purposeful, well-planned play
( CfE, Ministerial Response, 2004)
.Another consistent theme running
through thinking about young
children's learning is the positive
value of play. However, it should be
noted that the efficacy of play as a
medium for learning is more often
asserted than evidenced and our
understanding of the role of play is
limited. ( Stephen, 2006)
MIXED MESSAGES
Aspects for Improvement....Staff Interaction with children
which extends and challenges children’s learning ( HMIE,
2009)
Active learning is learning which engages and challenges
children’s thinking using real life and imaginary situations. It
takes full advantage of opportunities for learning through
spontaneous play, planned purposeful play, investigating and
exploring, life events and experiences and focused learning,
supported when necessary through sensitive adult interaction
to support and extend play ( Scottish Executive, 2007)
THEORY ,POLICY, PRACTICE
The socio-cultural paradigm involves both
children and teachers working together towards
the upper end of their zones of proximal
development ( ZPDs) as they co- construct
meaning in higher order thinking ( Vygotsky,
1926) . Two terms which have become
associated with working in the socio-cultural
paradigm are “scaffolding” and “coconstruction”... Both terms can be related to
teacher- child interaction ( Jordan 2004)
We have found that practitioners endorsed
active learning pedagogical rhetoric....but
the reality of children’s learning
experiences was varied and there was not
always evidence of the degree of pedagogic
awareness on the part of practitioners ( all
with teacher education qualifications) that
might be expected ( Stephen , 2010)
STUDENTS DEVELOPING A PROFESSIONAL
VOICE
Iterative construction of professional knowledge
 Development of skills and justification of their
pedagogy
 Opportunity to develop and articulate
professional values
 Motivation and skill to act appropriately on
professional values

ITERATIVE CONSTRUCTING PROFESSIONAL
KNOWLEDGE
Engagement with relevant theoretical
perspectives
 Using the knowledge to critically examine
practice
 Having opportunities to engage in discussion
with colleagues

RESOURCES FOR LEARNING TRIANGLE
( ROLAND, 2000 IN BOLTON, 2005)
The public context-knowledge
from different disciplines
The personal contextknowledge from different
personal experiences,
reflection
The shared context-knowledge
of the present student learning
process
Developmental psychology, early
childhood pedagogy , childhood and
family studies, government guidance
on early childhood practice
Private and individual, questioning
and reflecting, reflexive
acknowledging own attitudes and
values-e.g. Provision for play and
active learning
Tutor valuing and respecting learners,
feedback ,evaluation of the learning
experience by students, expectation of
tutor action
THE RESEARCH - THE TWO COHORTS OF
ITE STUDENTS
Bachelor of Education( Hons)Year 3 of 4 year course
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3rd placement
4 week placement
80 hours lecturer contact ( 6
weeks)
Traditional approach to
student learning:- Year group
lectures, seminars , workshops.
Minimal contact between
university and placement
Assessment- discursive essay
on approaches to learning and
teaching in pre-school, drawing
on placement experience.
Professional Graduate Diploma
in Education(Primary) - 1 year
course
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I st. placement
3 week placement
32 hours lecturer contact ( 2weeks)
A group collaborative learning task,
to foster individual and group
learning around early childhood
pedagogy and Scottish Government
policy, supplemented by some
lectures and workshops and outdoor
learning experience
Minimal contact between university
and placement
Assessment- reflective statement
on own ability to promote active
learning
STUDENT EVALUATIONS OF THE LEARNING
EXPERIENCE
B Ed. 3
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Focus groups- minimal
direction- conducted after
placement
Standard module
evaluation form
Very positive evaluation of
course as a preparation for
placement- enjoyed
placement
Assessment
inappropriate- need to
assess student work in
placement more
consistently
PDGE(P)
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Class evaluation( 25)– with
focused discussion topicsconducted before placement
Standard Module
evaluation form – after
placement
Very positive about peer
group learning , outdoor
learning, workshops, set
reading
Less positive about lack of
time available for tutor
conducted seminars
Enjoyed placement -Would
prefer a placement based
assessment
SOME B.ED. QUOTATIONS
“Books published by people who have
researched, nothing to do with government.
You get a lot from that, even from people
who are American…you can get an idea of
something you can put into your own
practice”
 “ He said a ghost.. I brought in pens, sheets
and gave them choice.. so what do you think
we should do… so it was very child led.”
 The nursery has a health promotion day …
and they were getting bags with different
types of toys…they could get involved with
the child at home”
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SOME B.ED. QUOTATIONS
We had an HMI visit…one of the things they
picked up on was there wasn’t enough
photographs of the children. You could say
you you’ve got enough observation notes.”
 “ To be called a professional you have to
constantly evaluate and reflect on your
work”
 “I think you continue to develop as well,
going on courses and finding out what’s
available and trying to develop your own
skills.”
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SOME PDGE(P) QUOTATIONS
“This method worked well. Good way of
gaining new information. Reinforces own
learning and discussion and raises different
points”
“Good to hear about active learning in
practice. Effective to hear about how CfE is
being used in settings”
“ More feedback from tutors on discussion of
tasks would have been invaluable”
SOME PDGE(P) QUOTATIONS
“ Interesting. Good hands on approach. Felt
more comfortable than sitting in a lecture
theatre” ( Workshops)
 “ Very good. Gave lots of practical ideas”
( Outdoor learning)
 “More opportunities for outdoor learning.
Each subject , a session outdoors”
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FINDING PROFESSIONAL VOICE
BEd 3 – Some success
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Opportunity to evaluate
after placement
Adequate time to
assimilate ideas
Opportunity to discuss
pedagogy to consolidate
understanding
Discussion and written
assessments indicated
developing criticality
and personal values
PDGE (P) - unsuccessful
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Evaluation prior to
placement
Limited time for
assimilation of knowledge
and skill development
Many students were
focused on subjects /
disciplines rather than
developmental aspects
The assessment indicated
the students tended not to
subject government
guidance to critical
reflection
ELEMENTS WHICH FACILITATE
DEVELOPMENT OF PROFESSIONAL VOICE
Opportunity to read, assimilate and discuss
relevant literature and research
 Open discussion around pedagogy and with
more experienced colleagues ( Placement and
university)
 Opportunity to develop practice skill over time
 Opportunity to discover own professional values
which inform pedagogy
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BARRIERS TO DEVELOPMENT OF
PROFESSIONAL VOICE
The proportion of time allocated to early
childhood education ( on campus and in
placement) is inadequate
 Partnership between university lecturers and
placement mentors is underdeveloped
 Greater priority needs to be given to developing
student criticality and allowing students to
express professional values
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IMPLICATIONS FOR SCOTTISH ITE
PRACTICE
CPD to critically examine current curriculum
guidance proposals and strengthen
University/placement partnership
 A clear message from the Scottish government on
the role of the teacher in pre-school
 Evaluation of current pilot of an ITE and a CPD
qualification focusing on birth to six age range
 Reform of ITE (currently under review) which
takes account of the above
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REFERENCES
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Bolton. G. ( 2005) Reflective Practice. Writing and Professional
Development. 2nd edition. Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore.
Sage Publications.
Jordan, B (2004) “ Scaffolding learning and co- constructing
understandings” in Anning, A. et.al. Early Childhood Education.
Society and Culture. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi . Sage
Publications
HMIE (2009) Improving Scottish Education. A Report by HMIE on
Inspection and Review 2005-2008. Edinburgh
Scottish Office ( 1999) A Curriculum Framework for Children 3-5
Scottish Executive (2004) Curriculum for Excellence . Ministerial
Response
Scottish Executive( 2007) Building the Curriculum 2. Active
Learning in the Early Years
Scottish Government ( 2010) Building the Curriculum 5. A
Framework for Assessment
Stephen, C (2006) Early Years Education: Perspectives from a Review
of the International Literature Edinburgh. SEED
Stephen, C (2010) Pedagogy: The silent partner in early years
learning. Early Years Vol. 30: 1, 15-28

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