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Observing, understanding and developing learning dispositions in an early years centre.

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thesis
posted on 23.06.2022, 16:51 authored by Susan Allan

EdD

This longitudinal study investigated young children's learning within an early years
 

education and care environment. The qualitative research design adopted an action
 

research approach. The research methodology included; parent and staff semistructured
 

and structured interviews, staff questionnaires, child observations and
 

interviews. A key term in the research was that of learning dispositions to describe
 

children's attitudes, actions and approaches to learning
 

The study paid particular attention to children's voice, to professional debate and the
 

learning environment and to how these support the development of reflective
 

practitioners and reflexive practice. This research aimed to link learning theory and
 

child development with early years practice in a naturalistic setting. As a professional
 

doctorate it linked research project design and implementation with pedagogic
 

planning and practice over a three year period. The researcher played a pivotal role as
 

the manager of the study setting.
 

During the research an observational framework, the child learning disposition'
 

observation tool (CLDOT), was developed. This was used to complete a series of
 

child learning disposition observations (CLDOs). These observations identified
 

children's learning dispositions and whether they adapted them to the different
 

learning environments of inside or outside, adult-led or child-led activities. These
 

observations then became part of the learning disposition activity (LDA) cycle. The
 

LDA cycle gave staff a practical and objective process through which they could:
 

think about children's learning and use this in the planning process; observe the
 

children's leaming comparing planning to practice; and deepen the reflections of
 

practitioners and involve children in the process. The LDA instigated improvements
 

to pedagogy and provided all involved in the research with a shared vocabulary and
 

understanding of learning in the early years.
 

As such, the study makes a contribution to the education debate about what is the
 

right start for our youngest children at this most precious time: their early years.

History

Year

2013

School

School of Education and Social Policy

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