Saturday, May 4, 2013

More Postings on Observations

***  I am ranting right by your side! I can’t even remember exactly what I learned all those years ago at TAFE, nor can I remember what I even really learned at Uni and it wasn’t really that long ago, although time is certainly getting away from me. My rants are generally directed at the system and not the individual. I merely ask that the individuals ask WHY? WHAT? And WHERE? Three big questions.
I am currently working in a management role, and the amount of “he said, she said” is unbelievable. Even going back a year ago to when I was working for another mob, they were being told by someone higher up who heard it from somewhere else that they had to link all their observations to theory. So they held a training, and then the educators used the learning story which had the little box to write in the theorist’s names. They all said Vygotsky. Seriously, what purpose did that serve? Nothing really. The obs were still generic and poorly written anyway, adding Vygotsky on them in a box did not make them any more relevent to the child who’s name was written in pencil in the corner. Instructing a child in something isn’t even scaffolding. It was superficial.

I look back at my work from 2010 when we started working with the EYLF – very basic. I look back over 2011 and early 2012, and you can see improvements and growth. I continue to grow, each and every week, if not day by day. And that came with practice and reflection. I know that everyone will be different levels and understandings. You mentioned study, and I’m not even convinced that educational facilities are doing the best in supporting people in working with the EYLF and the NQS. AND consider that many people delivering the learning from the educational institutions haven’t necessarily worked directly with the EYLF as educators. Now I’m not saying they won’t understand, nor am I saying that they won’t be good tertiary educators or creator of ECE curriculum, but they will have a different perspective.
Program and planning is directed by the NQS as well as the EYLF – or whichever framework people are using depending upon their location and service. It’s become an incredibly complicated thing! And because of the way that the government chose to implement it – complicated beyond words.
My understanding is that the framework was written then distributed to services on a trial basis. These services then created some sample observations using the draft EYLF. The EYLF was published, then the educators guide, then the EYLF in practice book. They themselves may not even have had a specific idea of what it would look like in practice! I could be wrong. Seriously, I don’t know this from the inside, but I’m telling you what I witnessed as an educator on the outside.  And that is what it looked like. Even the change in the what is written in the NQS PLP newsletters is interesting. And I'm sure all the authors who write for the PLP will tell you that they have also grown and changed.

That's a large part of the NQS - growth through reflection. Not standing still and remaining the same.
I like that the framework is open ended because I like being creative and inventive. BUT in saying that, I think it leaves so many people lost. And I completely agree that they have the right to panic! Especially with the ratios they are working with!!!! I’d be panicking too! Believe me I would. That is why I’m saying that learning stories are NOT required as the only form of observation. And it’s also why I’m upset generally that there are so many companies popping up saying that they will solve everyone’s problems for them! And am frustrated by the “gossip” ... people panicking and changing things left right and centre. We don’t have to put everything (learning outcomes, principles, practices, being, belonging, becoming, theory, room reflections, group reflections, child reflections, personal reflections, philosophy, group goals, individual goals, NQS/QA reference numbers etc) into the observations of children’s individual learning. I just don’t want people pressured into the unnecessary – and this includes workload. Look at the image at the top of this page! Chaos!
If you have to do work at home, there is something wrong with the expectations of work and the system. And yes, I know a great many do this. I used to. A lot. The system is flawed. Or the perception of the system! Chicken or egg?  I think we need to be realistic about what we can do. I also question the focus on learning stories and portfolios vs the curriculum program. Which do we spend more time on?
And I question how much of this do we do to ourselves? Do we set an unrealistic expectation upon ourselves? Do we not stand up to our managers and owners etc and say that we can do this this and this in our work time, but we are not able to do that? So what should we be doing? What should it look like for our service as opposed to another's service? They don't all have to be the same!
Even when looking at a learning story or observation or whatever you call it holistically, and if you do two a month, or maybe one a month as I know some services are doing ... I don’t think you are going to get an adequate image and assessment of a child over the course of the year. I’ve spent more time thinking and writing about this than I can tell you here. Do more photos and jottings and write with outcome terminology eg (LO5) and stress less over the learning stories. Still do them, but be selective. All the while, reflect in your professional journals!
I’m simply suggesting the people look at QA1 for themselves and really read the EYLF. I know many who haven’t, or read it so long ago. My understanding of both those documents has changed and deepened over the last 12 months I can’t even articulate it!
Ok. I've said enough.

© Teacher's Ink. 2013

1 comment:

  1. I have worked at many centres over the 5 years I have been in childcare and watched EYLF being introduced. Each centre has their own ideas and ways of doing things. Some centres are easy going with expectations, others expect so much staff are so under pressure and work is taken home in order to keep up. My last centre told us 2 obersvations per month is great, but if something new or exciting happeneds write it up. The current expects 4 per month. That's 30 observations per week, which I believe is just over the top. I have yet to find a centre that is finding this system easy and stress free like we where told. Let me inform you that I have worked as a room educator in most of my centres,8 centes in 5yrs, over 3 states in Australia. I think this system is so open to interpretation that it is causing confusion and stress