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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Magazine Issue 55 Winter 2014
REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • WINTER 2014 - ISSUE 55 17 To address the difficulties experienced by the Assistant Team Leaders in enacting decision-making and leadership responsibilities, the dilemma stories model was used to create a learning environment specifically for this group of educators. Over time, participation in the dilemma stories model has increased the ability of Assistant Team Leaders to reflect and learn together through contributing and listening to each other's perspectives on a dilemma. A benefit of using dilemma stories means participants can ask questions from different perspectives. Some perspectives focused on family needs, some on educator needs, some on processes and some on underlying feelings. One of the difficulties in leadership roles in early childhood contexts is that, due to the busy and constant nature of the work, there is often little time in which to make decisions. Providing the resources (such as time and relief staff ) so that Assistant Team Leaders and Children's Program Leaders can participate in the Learning for Leading group every six weeks has been an important investment for the organisation. In relation to the original difficulties when the Assistant Team Leaders undertook Higher Duties, the dilemma story model has, on the whole, shown success. Assistant Team Leaders have shown increased confidence in managing competing demands when their Team Leader is absent. They have shown greater capacity for consultation and the ability to consider multiple perspectives in their decision-making, which in turn, has influenced their responses and actions. This has resulted in a reduction in complaints from families. In addition, the Assistant Team Leaders have shown increased reflective and critical thinking and they have created a stronger support network with other educators and staff across the organisation (Amble, 2012; Groundwater-Smith & Mockler, 2010; Howard, Sanders & McClannon, 2010). The Children's Program Leaders have also benefited from the Learning for Leading group. We are now more deeply questioning our own decision-making and assumptions, and helping other staff in the organisation to do the same. This has led to thinking and learning about issues around the impact of social justice and equity. Based on the success of this model in our context, our work and learning together will continue. References Amble, N. (2012). Reflection in action with care workers in emotion work. Action Research, 10(3), Sage Publications, 260-275. Retrieved January 27, 2013 from http://arj.sagepub.com/content/10/3/260. full.pdf+html - reflection in action with care workers Blackmore, J. (2010). Preparing leaders to work with emotions in culturally diverse educational communities. Journal of Educational Administration, 48(5), 642-658. Groundwater-Smith, S. & Mockler, N. (2010). From lesson study to learning study. Side-by-side professional learning in the classroom. In A. Campbell & S. Groundwater-Smith (Eds.). Connecting inquiry and professional learning in education: International perspectives and practical solutions, (pp166-178). New York: Routledge. Heikka, J., Waniganayake, M. & Hujala, E. (2013). Contextualizing distributed leadership within early childhood education: Current understanding, research evidence and future challenges. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 4, 30-44. Howard, B., Sanders, R. & McClannon, T. (2010). Constructing transformative learning communities in 3D immersive learning environments. In T. Volkan Yuzer, & G. Kurubacak (Eds.). Transformative learning and online education: Aesthetics, dimensions and concepts (pp 34-47). Hershey, PA: Information Science Pub. Stamopoulos, E. (2012). Reframing early childhood leadership. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 37(2), 42-48.
Issue 56 Spring 2014
Reflections Magazine Issue 54