2004 Conference/AGM

Date: Saturday 6th November 2004
Venue: Jury’s Inn, Birmingham
Topic: Developing the Reflective Practitioner: the Challenge for Trainers

Prof. Emeritus Tricia David challenged us to consider whether we are providing training or education and, if training, for what? She stated that education enables the practitioner to reflect, to read around the theory and practice and asked whether we encourage students to go out and find out or whether we tell them what to think. We need to get students to engage in professional discourse – to reflect on the learning of the children, to record the situation/environment (in which) the learning (takes place).

Workshops offered an opportunity for participants to debate the questions raised in the key note. Each workshop was led by a skilled presenter, having a focus on one aspect of the theme e.g. Research and Reflective Practice (Emeritus Prof. Janet Moyles)
This discussion debated the problems of creating time for reflection and self-critical self-analysis when we are actively communicating with children. It was agreed that it was essential to reflect on our own and others embedded beliefs, values and ideologies, but ion order to reflect we need to teach/learn how to reflect and underpin that with theory.

Julie Fisher said that in Oxfordshire they are establishing a collaborative research community which relies on a spirit of reciprocity – respecting each others strengths and understanding each others limitations.
Julie’s focus was ‘what matters for young children, their families and communities’ and she gave us some key messages about learning:

  • belief in the power of learning;
  • learning is about journeys not destinations;
  • all learning opportunities should be open to all (self-selection);
  • seamlessness;
  • ensuring learning can be an incremental journey (progression).

Prof. Colin Richards (outgoing President) reiterated that ‘The past is a different country’ – since 1993 there has been ‘an amazing transformation’ with an expanding and buoyant early years sector. He reminded us that there is still a need to eradicate poverty and no room for complacency if we are to ensure high quality early years education for all children.

Prof. Lesley Abbott (inaugural address as incoming President) focused on the challenge for TACTYC – to hold to its founding purpose; provide a supportive network for e.y. tutors; act a s a lobby group and advocate loudly, influence and respond to consultation; embrace multi-professional development but know what we mean by that; support teachers and strengthen the climbing frame of opportunity; support a 0-6 (and beyond) strategy; engage in research; encourage, collaborate and cooperate; celebrate young children and their skills, competences and resilience.

Evaluations
“Stimulating”, “inspirational”, “exciting” and “thought provoking” formed by far the majority of comments. A very few felt that perhaps the day was “too long” or that “pre-conference details should be more informative”. We have taken note!

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