Making meaning: A Team of Early Childhood Education Teachers Working Towards Registration from a Group Perspective
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
In 2004, with only one fully registered teacher in the early childhood centre where this investigation is set, a question arose as to how five non-registered teachers could be guided through individual programmes of registration advice and guidance. This investigation explores a group approach to early childhood teacher registration, where five registering teachers engaged in written reflections and discussion with their registration tutor, who was also the researcher. The teachers used practitioner inquiry as they explored their own practice and the practice of the team. The researcher used practitioner research to build on the teacher's inquiries. Individual written reflections and group discussions began to highlight differences in the ways teacher's interpreted practice. As part of its communication processes the group regularly compared and categorised individual reflections. These general themes were made public and shared with the group, using a process that this research refers to as the common anonymous voice'. The key findings from this investigation concern the role practitioner action research played in the communication of the group. Discussion and written reflections were shown to provide the group with alternative forms of communication. As tensions and challenges regarding group practice emerged in the discussions, teachers began to rely more on the reflective writing process to articulate their own professional philosophies. Shifts in group dynamics were highlighted as the group moved from the need to agree, through to an acceptance of diversity. Individual teaching beliefs and practices were seen as contributing to the collective process of teaching and learning. The reflexive action research framework developed in this study aligns itself with sociocultural notions of learning and development. Links are made with the professional development of the individual teacher and the collective process of the registration group.