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Title: Leading or following children's learning : a critical review of contradictory dscourses in the role of early childhood educators
Author: Fisher, Julie Arline
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 9503
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2019
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Eight publications are presented with this thesis, with the first published in 1996 and the last in 2016. Three of the publications are books and five are peer reviewed journal articles arising from the research underpinning the books. Together, the publications constitute a coherent programme of research seeking to navigate contradictory discourses surrounding the role of early childhood educators in England since the introduction of regulation concerning early childhood education. The publications, which are both empirical and conceptually grounded, highlight increasing tensions for early years educators between an escalation in government prescription of early years curriculum content and an established early years pedagogy espousing child-led, play-based enquiry. The research programme is framed around three action research projects which gave rise to and informed the submitted publications. Whilst the first project focused on the practice of one Reception teacher the other two involved large numbers of early years educators working across different age-phases and across different types of provision. Each project addressed practitioner concerns at the time, about the introduction of policy frameworks that appeared to demand changes to existing pedagogy and practice. The iterative processes within action research encouraged scrutiny of policy, analysis of current practice, engagement with relevant theory and reflective discussion. Being engaged in a ‘community of researchers’ was found to be particularly empowering for early childhood educators who sought to find ways through seemingly contradictory discourses in order to see them as complementary rather than in opposition. This thesis, and the body of work submitted with it, offer empirically based strategies for balancing contradictory discourses surrounding the role of early childhood educators whilst also offering insights into changing educational practice through practitioner-led research.
Supervisor: Wild, Mary ; Wright, Susannah Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral