Viewpoints and questions to guide critical reflection

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Nothing in law or regulations says we need to write critical reflections down, but you must do them. The most important part of a critical reflection is showing your assessor examples of what’s changed because of your critical reflection. In the below picture, the educator is trying to see the world through the child’s eyes in order to improve practice.

 

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Have a discussion with your team and identify where you have seen through a child’s perspective and changed a practice because of it. You will have to guess a little because we never truly know what they are seeing, but starting these discussions with your team becomes a wonderful way to inform and improve practice.

What do you see if you look from a child’s perspective (critical reflection)?

Example: Chloe comes 5 days a week.

I feel trapped, controlled and frustrated. I’m in the same room and playground every day and I’m sick of doing the same old activities that they think interest me but really, how do they know. They don’t even ask me what I think or what I’d like to do.

 

What you have changed because of this different viewpoint and critical reflection?
Every morning we ‘re going to ask Chloe to tell us what she wants to do today along with identifying with her when she needs to escape from the other children and the room. We could get her to help Jen in the office. We could go on daily excursions to get her out of the room i.e. get the groceries, run to the corner as an exercise program or help in the other rooms with the younger children. 

In the below picture, the educator is trying to see the world through the parent’s eyes in order to gain better understandings and improve practice.

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What do you see if you look from a parent’s perspective (critical reflection)?

 Example: Parents don’t read the curriculum.

Why do educators think I want to read the Curriculum? As if I haven’t been busy enough at work looking at a million documents and now I’m in a rush and they want me to read all this type which actually only describes the type of stuff we do at home. What a waste of my time. And why am I paying all this money for child care? They just let the children do stuff and write about it. Where is the teaching in that?

 

What you have changed because of this different viewpoint and critical reflection?
 We’ve made the curriculum shorter and more precise. Now it tells parents what we have done as educators to promote the learning outcomes as well as describing what the children are doing by using words from the EYLF. We’ve also started closed room groups on Facebook that parents are positively commenting on.

 

 

In the below picture, the educator is trying to see the world through her team member’s eyes in order to improve practice. This is extremely useful because it can lead you to question your work.  For example, what am I challenged by? What am I curious about? What am I confronted by?

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What do you see if you look from another educator’s perspective (critical reflection)?

Example: Greeting parents at drop offs/pickups

Taylor always asks parents basic questions like “how was your day”, or gives non-descript information about what little Adam has done during the day eg “we’ve had a great day today.” She’s great at having conversations with team members and friends, so I wonder just what is stopping her from having deeper conversations with parents. Maybe she’s scared of saying the wrong thing or maybe she thinks it will just take too long.

 

What you have changed because of this different viewpoint and critical reflection?
The Room Leader coached Taylor in having meaningful conversations with families at drop and pick up times, by modelling these conversations with parents while Taylor was standing with her, and then asking Taylor to have a go while she watched.

 

In the below picture, the educator is trying to see the world through a theorist such as Piaget, Vygotsky, Bruner, Deleuze etc. This is a critical reflection because she is thinking about what theories, philosophies and understandings shape and assist her work.

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What do you see if you look from theorist’s perspective (critical reflection)?

Example: John Bowlby’s attachment theory

Attachment theory is a real interest to me because Bowlby says securely attached children are outgoing and go through life with confidence and enthusiasm. Children insecurely attached are timid and dislike new situations. They display behaviours of “neediness” and “excessive clinginess” and require more emotional support from educators. Others will not join groups and distance themselves from other groups of children. They’re not confident and don’t like receiving the positive feedback they need and crave. They won’t reach out to others.

 

What you have changed because of this different viewpoint and critical reflection?

 

Reflecting on Bowlby I now pause when interacting with children and ask myself, “What are you trying to tell me when you do this and what do you need from me?” rather than “How am I going to make you stop?” I’ve needed to say to myself, ‘When children behave in certain ways they are not being purposely difficult or disruptive. They are trying to express their needs in the best way they know’.

Children may, for example, be telling us they don’t know how to join in group play, that they’re fearful of a new situation, or simply that they’re hungry. I’ve slowed down and become more sensitive to children’s behaviours. I understand some don’t feel secure and I’ve used a secure attachment process when dealing with them.

 

In the below picture, the Nominated Supervisor is trying to see the world through the educator’s eyes. This is critical reflection because she is asking, how could other knowledge allow me to better manage the centre?

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What do you see if you look from an educator’s perspective (critical reflection)?

Example: How do educators see me?

The Nominated Supervisor also seems stressed- today for example she was running around like a lunatic worrying about ratios when three staff members called in sick. It’s like we only ever see her when things are in disaster mode. I wonder what she thinks about us as individuals. Does she just lump us altogether and think of us as ‘the educators’?  

 

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