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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Issue 59 Winter 2015
6 In collaboration with senior staff, we developed key major and minor focuses for professional learning across three years (Robinson, 2013). This helped us to work out which areas of professional learning we wanted to invest in each year. The value of organising professional learning into major and minor priorities is that it manages the demands of learning and ensures that work is undertaken in sufficient depth to embed changes in practice. If too many topics are attempted, then learning will not be consolidated and change will not be sustained. How many times do we waste valuable learning by not ensuring that practice changes and systems are in place to support educators to understand that the new practice is the norm rather than reverting back to familiar, comfortable ways of working? Once we had our framework for the proposed key areas of professional learning, we invited the staff team to critique our work at a whole of organisation staff meeting. This provided opportunities for staff to ask questions, provide critical feedback about our thinking and to fine-tune the plan. In this way all staff were invited to engage in the process. We value opportunities for sustained shared thinking between leaders in different roles, however, for shared thinking, both parties must contribute and ideas must develop out of these. While leaders play a key role in building collaboration and change (Colmer, Waniganayake & Field, 2014; Grarock & Morrissey, 2013; Hard & Jo´nsdo´ttir, 2013; Nupponen, 2006) engagement of educators will only occur through genuine opportunities to participate. Where staff have decision-making capacity, the collaborative work that occurs is strengthened and the ongoing impact of professional learning includes improvement to practices which help to meet organisational goals and outcomes for children (Nupponen, 2006). Team leaders and educational leaders have an essential role within the overarching leadership of the organisation, whereby they bring an intimate knowledge of the needs and values of families and children (Colmer, 2008). We had thoroughly enjoyed the debate and shared thinking that went into the process of developing our plan from the beginning to reaching agreement with the team. The next stage in our planning encompassed identifying who had the expertise required to provide our identified professional learning topics. This involved researching available resources such as Gowrie Australia's Reflections, the PSC, and resources from ECA to source current and relevant authors on our identified topics. We are now finding guest speakers or key academics working in the topic areas, as well as working with the Gowrie Training Centre. We were careful not to overlook our own internal educators and staff and their particular areas of expertise and have ensured that our professional learning will be provided with input from internal and external facilitators. We recognise our own role as pedagogical leaders in creating a culture which values ongoing professional learning (Heikka & Waniganayake, 2011). Not only do we want our educators to be engaged in connected and purposeful professional learning, we also want to engage as active participants. We have now created a holistic plan for professional learning for the next three years. This learning will connect strongly with our Quality Improvement Plan and our work with children and families. We have also built in review points and kept this plan flexible so that we can change it as the needs of educators, children and families will also change. We are excited that we have this opportunity and are hopeful that there will be long-term benefits of planning for professional learning in this way. References: Colmer, K. 2008, 'Leading a learning organisation: Australian early years centres as learning networks', European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 107-115. Colmer, K, Waniganayake, M, and Field, L. 2014, 'Leading professional learning in early childhood centres: Who are the educational leaders?', Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 39, no. 4, pp. 103-113. Grarock, M and Morrissey, A. 2013, 'Teachers' perceptions of their abilities to be educational leaders in Victorian childcare settings' Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 4-12. Hard, L & Jo´nsdo´ttir, A. 2013, 'Leadership is not a dirty word: Exploring and embracing leadership in ECEC', European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 311-325. Heikka, J & Waniganayake, M. 2011, 'Pedagogical leadership from a distributed perspective within the context of early childhood education', International Journal of Leadership in Education: Theory and Practice', vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 499-512. Nupponen, H. 2006, 'Leadership concepts and theories: Reflections for practice for early childhood directors', Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 43-50. Robinson, V. 2013, 'Too much change, not enough improvement', The Future is Now, Conference, Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL), 2-4 October, Canberra. KEY FOCUS: CURRICULUM & PEDAGOGY Connections to NQS QA 1: 1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.1.3, 1.1.4, 1.1.5, 1.1.6, 1.2.1, 1.2.2, 1.2.3 National Law: 168, 323 National Regulations: 73, 74, 75 Timeline Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Facilitator/Format Meeting in teams With a critical friend Guest speaker Covered through Adanced Diploma etc Whole team Provocations Topics Inquiry based learning Talking & Thinking Floorbooks Challenging older children Extending children's learning Hundred Languages of Children Dispositional learning
Reflections Issue 58 Autumn 2015
Reflections Issue 60 Spring 2015