Taylor, Susan M. and Dyer, Mary A. (2010) Through a glass darkly: shedding light on reflective practice and autonomous learning. In: University of Huddersfield Annual Research Festival: School of Education and Professional Development (SEPD), 9th March 2010, University of Huddersfield. (Unpublished)

This piece of action research aims to identify the barriers FdA Early Years students feel they encounter when reflecting on their practice and to investigate how they evaluate their own performance. The researchers hope to use these findings to alter the delivery of the Professional Practice modules – both content and pedagogy – to support the development of these students’ reflective practice and self-awareness.

Both Year 1 and Year 2 groups of students undertaking the full-time FdA Early Years course were involved in this research. The methodology includes a survey of Year 2 students regarding their perceptions of reflective writing, followed by semi-structured interviews examining how these students identify and measure good practice. Year 1 students completed an open-ended questionnaire/survey asking them to evaluate their own performance and experience on work placement.

Initial findings from both groups include shared barriers to reflective writing, including the use of existing structured models for reflective writing; the need for a clear understanding of what it means to be a good early years practitioner; the need to develop the students' confidence in their autonomy as learners. In analysing the data gathered, the researchers have considered models of reflective practice, the application of Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning and also issues around the students' ownership of knowledge and their apparent epistemological perspectives.

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Outline of investigation into appropriate pedagogical approach developing reflective practice
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