An Exploration of How Childminders Engage in Reflection With Others and Become Reflective Practitioners

McKeogh, Susan Ann (2013). An Exploration of How Childminders Engage in Reflection With Others and Become Reflective Practitioners. EdD thesis The Open University.



There is recent research (Cable and Goodliff, 2010; Paige-Smith and Craft, 2008a; Cooper, 2010) within the same general contexts as this thesis, but limited research bringing these contexts together and none focusing specifically on childminders and their particular issues of both working in isolation for much of their day-to-day practice and low status (real or perceived); and then the impact of these factors on whom they reflect with, and how they reflect on, their practice.

This research adopts a qualitative case study approach to explore the reflective practices of nineteen childminders studying a distance-learning Foundation Degree in Early Years. Data collection methods include questionnaires, semistructured telephone interviews and e-mail correspondence.

The research questions aim to explore: childminders’ understanding of reflective practice and how this changes during their studies, the range of factors involved in engaging in effective reflection on practice and the decisions childminders make in deciding whom to reflect with, and the impact of professional identity on reflective practice.

The main findings from this research reveal a shift in reflective practices as the childminders gain in knowledge and skills as a result of their studies. It is unsurprising that the childminders reflect with others, given that the FDEY promotes the importance of reflection with others. However, the data shows the childminders not only gain an understanding of the value and benefits of reflecting on practice but this awareness prompts significant changes in whom the childminders seek to reflect with, bringing with it a need to align themselves with a different community of practice as their professional identity develops.

For those facilitating reflective opportunities, and those engaging in reflection, this research draws attention to the importance, of understanding the factors impacting on reflective practices, and the potentially transforming nature of reflective practice on professional identity.

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