Volume 1 Issue 2 - December 18, 2007
Positive and negative: an exploration of the impact of the personal dispositions of early years practitioners on their teaching mathematics to young children
This article discusses an investigation into the attitudes towards mathematics of a small group of early years practitioners who are also students on a Foundation Degree in Early Years Care and Education. It considers how these students view their own attitudes and dispositions, as well as their view of the impact of those dispositions in their professional roles supporting children’s learning. The study considers the link between subject knowledge, confidence and practitioners’ understanding of effective pedagogy for the teaching of mathematics for young children. Drawing on the findings, it makes some suggestions for consideration by those who are the trainers and educators of developing early years professionals.
Learning at the Centre—Under What Terms?: How does the convergence of care and education terminology in the Irish early childhood sector present an opportunity for learning at the centre of policy?
The early childhood sector in Ireland is in a period of transition. Through recent government discourse, the terminology used to describe the sector is quite diverse: childcare, early childhood education, early childhood care and education, early childhood development and care are all used. Do words matter? This paper provides a critical analysis of this terminology within national policy and the impact on placing learning at the centre of policy. Applying Ranson’s presupposition of the learning society - learning at the centre of polity (1994; 1998) - it is argued that there is an opportunity for the Irish government to place learning at the centre of early childhood policy, building a foundation for a learning society. However, the convergence of care and education terms shifts policy discourse from economic benefits of the sector to placing children at the centre. By placing learning at the centre of policy - that is, learning for stakeholders - progression and advancement of the sector will be enabled, having a positive impact on outcomes for children.
The child labour debate has moved away from advocating total abolition to identifying ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ work activities for children. In particular, ILO Convention No. 182 has prioritised ‘intolerable forms’ to target those children who are working in the most appalling conditions. The necessity of this narrow focus in terms of practical policies cannot be underestimated, but it does ignore the fact that some forms of work, which may not match the indications of hazard (e.g. household work) may well be detrimental to a child’s health and well-being. In this reflexive autobiographical article, I discuss these issues by presenting my childhood work and study experiences in a remote village of Nepal, and my commitment to become a child labour/work researcher.