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Browsing by Subject "early childhood education and care"

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  • Jaakkola, Mira (2023)
    Personal practical theories (PPTs) of early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals have not been widely studied. Personal beliefs, values and theoretical knowledge form the PPT that affects the decisions a professional makes in everyday work. Therefore, PPT can be considered as an integral element of professionalism in the ECEC field. Professionals' PPTs are often hidden and if not acknowledged and discussed, mutual understanding among professionals may be difficult to achieve. This qualitative study aims to provide some insight into the beliefs, values and knowledge of ECEC professionals, and describe the commonalities found in the PPTs of professionals. The data in this study was gathered from nine (9) semi-structured interviews in Finland. The respondents equally represented different disciplines that prevail in ECEC: pedagogy, social pedagogy and child nursing. The ‘onion model of levels in reflection’ developed by Fred Korthagen (2017) was utilised as a framework in formulating the interview questions and when interpreting the data with reflexive thematic analysis. The main finding in this thesis was the complexity and paradoxical nature of ECEC work which the professionals described. Similarly, the PPT of ECEC professional could be described as a region with a variety of complex dimensions. There were some common themes to be found in the data, one of them being advocating the best interest of children. Another important finding was the understanding of the cruciality of teamwork in ECEC. Consequently, the various PPTs of ECEC professionals should all be valued equally as this enables striving towards shared goals. Furthermore, discussing about PPTs among team members in genuine dialogue may foster the well-being of employees, and ultimately of children in the group. This study suggests that all ECEC professionals should engage self-reflection in order to recognise their underlying beliefs and values that affect their everyday work. This is a practice which enables professional development and also demonstrates ethical responsibility.