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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Magazine Issue 55 Winter 2014
18 The project titled Rethinking Inclusion, aimed to explore participants' understandings of inclusion and to enhance their knowledge around inclusive practice. Our approach was informed by the evidence base of effective professional development, which identifies the importance of professional development programs being conducted over an extended period of time, with opportunities to engage in reflective conversations with others (Raban, Nolan, Waniganayake, Ure, Brown & Deans, 2007). The reading group provided a mode of learning to complement other professional development opportunities, including training, coaching and mentoring. Context and Theory Drawing on best practice research, we facilitated a reading group for NSW ISFs based around issues of inclusion. ISFs support eligible child care services to build their capacity to promote quality and inclusive programs for all children, as part of the Australian Government's Inclusion and Professional Support Program (IPSP). The project was supported with funding provided by the NSW Professional Support Coordinator (PSC). The research project recognised the key role of ISFs in supporting early and middle childhood educators to engage in reflective practice in their work with children and families. Much of the professional literature on reflective practice draws on the work of John Dewey, an American psychologist and educational reformer. Dewey (1933:6) defined reflective thought as "active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it, and the further conclusions to which it tends" . Schon (1983; 1987) later differentiated reflective practice according to whether it occurred in the moment, "reflecting-in-action" or afterwards, "reflecting-on-action". Drawing on theories of reflective practice, and particularly Greenwood's (1993) focus on reflecting-before-action, the reading group provided a space for ISFs to participate in reflective discussions pertaining to inclusion. It also assisted them to support early and middle childhood educators to engage in reflective practice, which is a critical component of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and My Time Our Place. Reading Groups as a Method of Reflective Practice -- implications for practice Lorraine Madden Associate, Semann & Slattery Cristyn Davies Research Associate, Paediatrics and Child Health, & Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre (WSSHC), The University of Sydney In this article, we share the outcomes of a research project that used a reading group approach as a means to engage in reflective practice (Madden & Davies, 2011). While this research was conducted with NSW Inclusion Support Facilitators (ISFs), the process can be readily applied to support critical reflection and professional dialogue by early and middle childhood educators across a range of settings.
Issue 56 Spring 2014
Reflections Magazine Issue 54