Theoretical perspectives on professional development.
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    Default Theoretical perspectives on professional development.

    Hello everyone. I'm currently an over 5s childminder training to care for early years and part of my course is to join a online forum to discuss the importance of reflection in relation to professional development.

    My question is.............is there any particular theory/model you follow when it comes to professional development? Does professional development even place high on your list of priorities in childcare?

    After looking at a few theories I think I would use Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle (1984) which basically states that we have the actual experience then we reflect on that experience then we learn from the experience and then we test out what we have learnt and this cycle then continues.

    It seems like a pretty common theme and self-explanatory so I was just wondering if this is what you guys do, and if not then how do you reflect on professional development.

    Thank you!

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    Professional development is very important to me and enjoy attending training courses which I feel will improve my everyday practice and enhance the children's learning, development and our learning environment. Unfortunately I don't really know about the theorist to say where I would put myself.
    Pixie Dust

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    Thank you for your reply Pixie Dust! So how often would you say you attend training courses? Do you do them online because I've noticed a lot of webinars available now which is useful.

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    I get a bit irritated when professional development is judged by how many courses you attend. I have been on courses with colleagues (former life) who made excuses to leave the course early - but still managed to get the course on their professional development record, when in reality they weren't bothered about being there. I have seen many people who go along to courses for a chat and barely listen to what the speaker is talking about. Also, some childminders asking on FB about which free courses they can do so that it looks good for Ofsted.

    Yes, courses are a brilliant way of developing your practice, but there are many forms of professional development. I can't get to many courses these days because they are expensive and I would have to arrange childcare. There are some fantastic webinars around but they often clash with the bedtime routine in our house and so I can't do them. However, I take my PD incredibly seriously. I love it and can't get enough. I am always reading books, articles, engaging in conversations with anyone and everyone remotely linked to our field, watch documentaries, go to workshops/classes with children and really soak up and reflect upon what the leader is doing so that I can steal good ideas and strategies etc. Whenever I enter a setting of any kind I scrutinise the physical set up with a fine toothed comb to see what works and what doesn't work.

    Whatever you do for your 'professional development' it is only useful if you then reflect upon it and figure out how you can use it to improve your own practice.

    As for learning theories...that is a whole other conversation. They are all open to interpretation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maza View Post
    I get a bit irritated when professional development is judged by how many courses you attend

    Whatever you do for your 'professional development' it is only useful if you then reflect upon it and figure out how you can use it to improve your own practice.

    As for learning theories...that is a whole other conversation. They are all open to interpretation.
    We think alike.
    I think Professional development should aim to develop my professional thinking and practise. I achieve this through a wide range of activities and practices that support on-going and evidence-based reflective practice.
    PD is sometimes narrowly used to refer to training provided for us to improve our practice, but training is just one of the wide range of activities we can undertake as part of our PD.

    Also Courses are only useful in your professional development if they impact on your practise and then the children’s development.

    I do have a continuing professional development ‘folder’, it shows that my learning never ends. It has always ( both in my previous life and when I was a childminder and now in my retirement ) based on my school or setting or life improvement/ development plan and the impact it has had on my practise.

    I reviewed my development plan twice a year. I reflected on the training, reading, experience, interaction in a professional learning community (like on here), with other professionals in my network, observations and researching I had noted in my CPD. Then reviewed them together with my improvement plan to see if I had evidence that the PD areas improved my practise, knowledge and understanding and ultimately how that impacted positively on the children in my care and in their learning and development.

    This all would inform my ongoing improvement plan for the next year. Sometimes an area would carry over as I didn’t think I had made a good enough impact, others would be completed with evidence as to why I had succeeded in that area and then new areas could be added for my next learning development, which could be under knowledge skills or attitude, areas I could develop by critically engaging with my own theories of learning.
    Research has shown that it all has to be part of a big cycle of review, reflect, design and do type areas for it to fully be Continual Professional Development.

    ‘the quality of the teacher is one of the most important influences of student achievement (Hattie, 2009). Therefore, to improve education, it is essential to focus on the role of the teacher as learning professional.’ ( ELAN)
    The same theory works with childminders too I think.

    Because I love planning and writing in my journal I have continued to look at my personal and professional development in my retirement and have plans once I am settled in our new area, to join U3A and of course to restart my PhD.
    I have focussed on gaining knowledge about sheep in this last month as I am surrounded by them and don’t want to look like a foolish newcomer.
    But the most important knowledge and skills I need to develop is how to use A Rayban as this is going to be the main way of cooking in my new house!
    If anyone on this forum has experience in this very scary and new to me area, perhaps we could be a professional learning community together?!
    Last edited by FloraDora; 07-03-2018 at 01:24 PM.

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    Thank you so much for your replies Maza and FloraDora. You are both so right......CPD shouldn't just be the training courses you go on. As a childminder myself, I know how difficult it can be to take training regularly. If I take training courses throughout the day I have to take time off from childminding which can cause parents an issue and if I complete it at weekends I lose out on time with my children and husband. I take the mandatory training at weekends (First Aid and Safeguarding) which every 2/3 years isn't too bad but my local council offer so many great courses (some free) which I think would be brilliant, not just for ofsted purposes, but taking the time off is always going to be a problem.

    Webinars seem like a fabulous idea because they are in the comfort of your own home but Maza like you said depending on the time and if my children are going to bed or having their bath that is difficult.

    For me at the moment I discuss topics on online forums such as this one and I go to various playgroups and socialise with other childminders but it never seems like enough! FloraDora I like your idea of a CPD plan which is reviewed twice yearly, I think tis is something I will start doing to highlight at improvements I need to make or gaps in my knowledge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynz08 View Post
    Thank you for your reply Pixie Dust! So how often would you say you attend training courses? Do you do them online because I've noticed a lot of webinars available now which is useful.
    It really depends on what training I feel is relevant to my current PD needs. I am lucky that my LA do still put on a lot of training for all Early Years workers. I have seen some of Sarah's webinars through Childcare.co.uk and have found them really useful. I am also a member of pacey so I do subscribe to a early years magazine so I use them to so support my professional development. I also have a professional development plan which I reflect and review regularly, saying how a particular training session has enhanced my provision ( if it has)
    Pixie Dust

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