The aim of this chapter is to:
provide understanding regarding the value of reflective practice
provide strategies to enhance professional learning
stress the importance of professional learning when planning science learning experiences.
Research has shown that educators need to engage in critical reflection so that they examine the judgements, interpretations, assumptions and expectations they have of themselves, children and learning (Hanson, 2011). This is particularly important in science education, where often the educator is learning the science curriculum alongside the children. Without reflection on their decisions and actions, modifications cannot made appropriately and learning experiences are less developed. This chapter discusses educators' professional learning, with particular reference to science in early childhood settings.
Introduction to reflective practice
Research into the early years of childhood over the past decade has highlighted the significance of wellbeing in early learning (Perry, 2006; Laevers, 2005). Incorporated into the EYLF (DEEWR, 2009) is a requirement that educators undertake ongoing reflective practice to ensure that all children in early childhood settings receive quality teaching and learning.
Reflective practice is a form of ongoing learning that involves engaging with questions of philosophy, ethics and practice. Its intention is to gather information and gain insights that support, inform and enrich decision-making about children's learning. (DEEWR, 2009, p. 13)
Kolb (1984) was one of the early users and advocates of a process he called ‘reflective observation’.