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In this essay professionalism will be discussed as well as reflective practice, ethical practice and effective interpersonal communication will be identified and how they promote professionalism in the early childhood setting. Included in the discussions some strategies will be present to effectively promote the practices.
Professionalism in Early childcare reflects an
desire to meet the minimum
expectations of excellence within their jobs or responsibilities states Anderson (2006). Anderson (2006) also states some key ingredients that can help further professionalism are honor; good role modeling and good examples of people who give good examples of professionalism both traditionally and non-traditionally.
It is clear that when professionalism is present, there is always something evident. For example, going beyond what is needed, willingness to work late to finish a project, having integrity, and mutual respect for colleagues and others (2006).
In this section promoting ethical practice in the early childhood setting will be discussed and how it can promote professionalism. Ethical practice is a set of shared values for all early childhood educators in Aotearoa/New Zealand to abide by, teachers need supporting documents like the code of ethics. Early childhood education code of ethics national working group (1996) state to provide guidelines for their professional conduct, enhance the protection of children and those who work with them, also building unity among people working in different sectors of the profession. Ethical practice is important as it upholds the quality in early childhood education, it provides a common set of statements, a sense of purpose, beliefs, protection for workers, children, whanau, community and society (Early Childhood Education Code of Ethics, National working group, 1996).
Rodd states the significant responsibilities of educators in the early childhood setting is to make decisions and to act in a way that will promote and protect the rights of children. The ethical responsibilities for early childhood educators is acting as a protector, facilitator, advocate and champion is a high priority as the educators are in the best position to know what is in the interest of the child and their family (Lansdown & Lancaster, 2001). For example, New Zealand s teachers council (2004) say commitment to parents/whanau/guardians/family is establishing opem honest relationships and involving them in decision making. Commitment to society, working with local schools and centre s, commitment to learners- maintaining and developing an relationship based on the ethics in the early childhood setting.
interests are a few strategies that can promote
The following discussion will explain and identify reflective practice in the early childhood setting. Teachers reflective practice is important as it helps them to understand what they already know and to clarify and give reasons for their actions (Perry, 1997). O Connor & Diggins (2002) state reflective practice also impacts on values and beliefs of educators as well as the influences of theories learnt and observations of the practces of other educators. Strategies to promote reflection would be asking open-ended questions, Te Whariki (Ministry of Education, 1996) shows how such links are made for example, what problem-solving activities support each other? (Contribution, Goal 3, [MoE], 1996, p.70). Reflective skills are not mastered entirely at the beginning of teacher training, however they develop along with professional experience and knowledge. This becomes a part of ongoing professional growth and development (O Connor & Diggins, 2002).
O Connor & Diggins (2002) also state reflective practice helps to catch your own assumptions and explore them, instead of taking them for granted. Te Whariki (MoE, 1996) introduced Vygotsky s sociocultural perspective on learning and development, challenging Piagetian theory. Many educators experienced personal and professional conflict as they tried to incorporate the new theory. This example proves why reflective practice is so important in promoting professionalism, O Connor & Diggins (2002) state reflective practice helps to explain why your current beliefs about early childhood education conflict with new theories. However, on a positive note it is also a tool for finding solutions to difficulties that may result in conflict.
How could this reflective pratice help children, families and staff?
Interpersonal communication in the early childhood setting will be discussed in this next section of the essay.Early childhood services are specifically people services, where communication and interpersonal relationships are the building blocks on which other activities, such as developmental programs and curricula are based (Rodd, 1989)
Rodd (2006) states some core features of life-long learners are robust self-esteem, openness of communication and wide behavioural repertoire, promote confidence rather than crisis when a challenge presents itself. On the other hand if an individual is not open to new experiences it may lead to defensive communication. There are many barriers that may hinder communication a few examples would be poor expression, messages that are expressed badly, emotions whether its fear, hate, love, or anger we cannot communicate coherently (Pinner, 2002). Rodd (2006) states it is a professional technique for communicating with other people as it is a more direct and honest expression that conveys personal confidence and respect for others as well as yourself. As an early childhood teacher you need to be able to communicate with everyone you meet in the early childhood centre. Your communications with colleagues and parents in directly affect the children you work with. For example, if you do not openly communicate with a child s parent about their development, social skills etc , they may not openly discuss or come to you for advice or information, they will be reluctant. Burley-Allen (1995) highlights the importance of getting information from others in a nonjudgmental and empathetic way and responding in a manner that invites the communication to continue.
Empathy involves listening, understanding and acceptance of other s feelings. Listening to what children say is an important way to understand them, develop your relationship with them and encouraging them to communicate with you. It also presents them with a model of how they should listen to and treat others (Burley-Allen, 1995). To sum up interpersonal communication Rodd (2006) states early childhood educators have a balanced personal and professional life that enables them to meet others needs. This balance is a result of effective communication skills, the ability to delegate and respond to conflict constructively.
In conclusion, all three practices covered in this essay are vital tools needed to become and promote professionalism in the early childhood setting, without these we will not gain trust, respect or establish good communication skills with colleagues, family, whanau or society.
Anderson, M. P. (2006, January/February). Professionalism: The missing ingredient for excellence in
Single line spacing in the list and indentation for second &the workplace [Electronic version]. Exchange, 49-54. subsequent lines Inc.
Burley-Allen, M. K. (1995). Listening: The forgotten skill (2nd ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons,
Early Childhood Education Code of Ethics National Working Group. (1996). Early childhood education code of ethics for Aotearoa/New Zealand (pp. 9-16). Wellington: NZEI – Te Riu Roa.
Kostelnik, M. (2004, November/December). Modelling ethical behaviour in the classroom. Exchange, 160, 34-37
Lansdown, G. & Lancaster, P. (2001) Promoting children s welfare by respecting their rights(3rd ed.) London; G Pugh, Paul Chapman
New Zealand Teachers Council. (2004). Code of ethics. Retrieved January 20, 2013, from www.teacherscouncil.govt.nz/ethics/code.stm
Ministry of Education. (1996). Aotearoa/Early childhood curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media
On reflection: Reflective practice for early childhood educators (pp. 19-33, 65-70). Lower Hutt, New Zealand: Open Mind Publishing
Pinner, D., & Pinner, D. (2002). Communication skills (4th ed., pp. 13-21). Auckland: Pearson Education.
Rodd, J. (2006). Leadership in Early Childhood (3rd ed.).Victoria, Australia: Allen & Unwin
Very impressive list of references!!!