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Title: "Helping me to notice more things in children's actions" : how early years practitioners, working in socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods, developed their theories about children's learning and their role as educators during a programme of support and professional development
Author: Grenier, Julian
Awarding Body: Institute of Education (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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The English government is significantly expanding the number of free nursery places for two-year olds; but little is known about what sort of training and professional development might help early years practitioners to offer appropriate styles of early education and care for such young children. This thesis explores a project to offer professional support and development to eight early years practitioners working with two-year olds in a highly socially disadvantaged area in London. The project began with the participants being trained to use a structured child observation tool, and developed through fortnightly group meetings over a three-month period. These provided an opportunity for the participants to engage in dialogue and critical reflection about their data. The data were interpreted using a qualitative research methodology drawing on grounded theory and constructivist grounded theory. Evidence from the study suggests that the participants developed skills in “keen observation” (Dalli et al. 2009), and that they used the data they had gathered to develop their understanding of the children’s learning. The findings from the research increase the visibility of the practitioners’ theories: in particular, their theory that their work enables the children to act more autonomously in the nursery settings. Both the methodological approach used and the small size of the sample mean that no generalisations can be made from these findings. However, widely-held assumptions that early years practitioners are lacking in the capacity to reflect on and theorise their work are not supported by this research. Future studies might continue to make practitioners’ own theories about their work more visible, in order to explore them more deeply. This would enable the further development of approaches to training which engage with and enrich the practitioners’ own thinking.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Early Years and Primary Education