Reflective Practice: Moving beyond thoughts and feelings

It is clear from both the EYLF (Principle 5: Ongoing learning and reflective practice) and the NQS (Standard 1.2 Educators and coordinators are focused, active and reflective in designing and delivering the program for each child) that reflective practice plays a crucial part of early childhood education and care. But what is reflective practice? Is it a collection of thoughts and feelings about another busy week? Or is it more than that?

If those thoughts and feelings do not involve any questioning about what we are doing and why, and if those thoughts and feelings don’t result in us taking action to make positive changes that enhance children’s learning, then we need to dig a little deeper. According to Arthur, Beecher, Death, Dochett and Farmer (2015, p. 428) “Reflection involves educators, families, children, and community members in thinking about some puzzling aspect of theory and practice that develops new understandings and new ways to strengthen practice.” So I guess, if practice isn’t enhanced, we’re not quite there yet.

One way to engage in reflective practice is to use the ‘reflect, reframe, act, revisit’ process outlined in ‘The Early Years Learning Framework Professional Learning Program’. In this process educators are invited to reflect critically on what they’re currently doing, identify strengths and gaps in their current approach, decide on a change they might make to ‘how things are done around here’, and then observe that change and continue the process.

Educators can easily use EarlyWorks’ Reflection of Pedagogy to follow this process. Educators simply tick the Principle, Practice or NQS listed on the Reflection of Pedagogy screen that they wish to reflect critically on, and then in the personal reflection box, detail their reflection, reframing, action, and observation of change.

EarlyWorks also allows educators to turn that reflection of pedagogy into action. By using the Extend feature, educators can turn their reflections of pedagogy into Observations that can then be used to inform the Program. Thus ensuring these rich conversations about practice, are then put into practice to maximize opportunities for children’s learning and development.