The potential of creative thinking

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Examine the contribution of different academic and professional disciplines to the knowledge and skill base of early childhood and relate to personal and professional development

Assess, evaluate and critically reflect upon personal values, qualities, skills and knowledge in relation to recent learning

Evaluate and reflect upon the implications if their responses for personal and professional action

Assignment task: You will create a journal which analysis and evaluates your reflective practice, skills, knowledge and qualities. It should include reflection upon all aspects of the module content and extended practitioner research activity.

Reflective practice means that you get your thoughts out of your head such as writing diary and write down about what have you done during the day which helps you to improve your practice in various ways e.g. if an activity didn't go well or it did go well.

"Being a reflective practitioner helps us to increase our skills, understanding and learning." (Macleod-Brudenell, 2004: p.44)

This allows you to improve your strengths and weakness therefore good practitioners always reflect their practice for improvement. Reflection can be written or it can be done in your mind i.e. you can think in your mind that which area needed to improve.

"The process of reflection does not have to be written down. It is possible to reflect inside your head, rather like doing mental arithmetic." (Hull et al, 2005: p.82)

Professional development is the process where practitioners can maintain, extend and update their skill for the benefits of others and for themselves. The context of early years work is changing and developing time to time and it is important that practitioners change in response too. It is very important to reflect because it gives you ideas about in which way you can improve their practice and by asking your colleagues to make observations on your practice will help you to find out your good and weak areas and you learn through your experiences.

"Working as a part of a team is key feature of practice in early years setting and this includes the reflective process." (Johnston et al. 2009: p.372)

Reflective practice allowed me to find about which activity worked well such as did the children enjoy the activity or they were more interested in some other activities and help you to look back at your practice and see how it's going? Do you feel good when you do some certain activities with the children, if so, how can you make your practice more interesting. A continues process of reflection is and effective ways developing personally and professionally and learn to:

Analyse your practice in more critical ways

Dealing with upsetting incident

Value your experiences

Reflection helped me to become more confident, responsive and more creative in the future practice and also helped to improve skills, knowledge and understanding. Therefore it is very important to reflect on your practice for improvement and appreciate your own work by making changing over the time and which will help you to increase in confidence.

I have developed the skills which I needed to work with children e.g. patience, body language. You need to create an environment that encourages children to develop a positive self image, regardless of race, language, religion, culture or home background.

Developing positive relationship with children is very important because it helps you to know the needs of children. To develop a positive relationship with them you have to make sure that children feel safe, secure and comfort. If they don't feel safe or secure then there are fewer chances to develop positive relationship with them.

Working as a team member is very important because its help to build a good relationship with colleagues and children. The language used in communication and how it is understood is the foundation of any positive relationship.

Praising is a tool which can be use to interact children to promote their positive behaviour. I always use words like excellent, well done, brilliant, good boy/girl, and pleased to encourage them when they do reading or any activity with me.

Recently I have done an activity with children about weighing. To make them listen carefully I used a puppet which worked very well. You have to be realistic when you are working with children for example sometime using soft or very firm voice.

I make sure that I understand my role during the activity whenever I carry out activities with children. Sometimes if I don't understand the activity I don't afraid to ask them to explain it again because if I don't know what I have to do or what is my role then I won't be able to provide appropriate help to children.

As an early year's practitioner your role is to support children's learning in an effective way where they make progress but it's not necessary that all children progress in same way and same time. It's depending on their learning needs so you may have to adapt different approaches to make sure that they understand what you are looking for.

Speaking and listening is very important when you talk to children or their family because it shows that you are interested and encourages other person to talk and express their feelings and ideas with confident.

"By providing children with consistent support and opportunities to communicate, they will develop the skills needed to be effective communicators." (Daly et al, 2009: p.39)

Therefore you should show respect children's opinion and value their ideas which will help them become competent learner.

The way that you communicate with children and young people will be determined by your personal approach. The method you choose will be the most appropriate for the child or young person and suitable for the specific situation. It may take the form of talking and listening or may involve other people.

I think that there is no limit of learning new skills and you learn something new by watching others. If I don't understand any activity I am not afraid to ask my supervisor to explain me again because if I don't understand what is my role or what I have to do during the activity and what children suppose to do then there are less chances that children achieve goals which teacher has set for them.

I found reflection very useful; it helped me to find my weakness and strength. My most preferred way of reflection is thinking in mind. As you may know that reflection can be done in mind or it can done by writing too. It does not matter how you do it but it does matter if you don't do it. It is a way of improving your weak points and feels good at your good points. I always ready to try new ideas if I get any chance and believe in give a go or try before I accept defeat or think I cannot do it. Reflection helped me to how to deal in different ways in different situations.

Sometimes I put myself down by thinking that I cannot do this or that and do feel nervous when someone watches me during the activity and I feel like that I am doing something wrong. I think I have to build a self-esteem and self confidence to work more effectively.

Always discussions give the chance to explore and refine ideas to question others' views and opinions and to consider the gaps in knowledge and understanding. Discussing about different aspects of care and education with colleagues or supervisor is a positive step towards becoming a reflective practitioner. Discussions with colleagues are most useful ways to address the issues if there is any.

Peer discussion should expand the thinking capacity of individual to enable them to address issues, think back on their practice to enable them to think forward about future ideas, promote problem solving and nurture reflective practice. (York-Barr et al. 2006 cited in Jonston et al. 2009: p.381)

If you avoid or do not participate in discussions then there is no scope for change. There are number of ways where you can get involved e.g. reading trade magazines, training courses. Discussing issues with more experienced practitioners is most effective way of developing professional practice and explore individual perspective and contribute collective learning.

Initial training provides the basic skills, knowledge, understanding and theoretical background for early years workers. These existing skills can be maintained by staff meeting, staff development, self-reflection and other educational courses e.g. degree level course.

As a reflective practitioner, you should be able to carry others with their ideas and approaches in order to achieve better practice and standards. Different approaches are a part for an early years' worker which is crucial because it helps you to provide support to children according to their individual needs. It is a gradual process of learning different skills to become a reflective practitioner.

I always think in my mind at the end of the day about what went wrong and what went right. If something went wrong then I try to find the reason why it went wrong and finding the reason give you ways of improvements. In this way you will learn how you can improve your practice to provide better care to the children. As a supply nursery nurse, I have to go different settings to work, therefore I always prepare myself to accept new challenges which can be occur during my work and I always ask to the staff if I don't understand any activities.

It can be argued that someone needed to ask you appropriate questions to ensure that reflection is on track and you are not stuck in self justification and you may think that you are not doing anything right. Confident and competent practice requires to practitioners to reflect thoroughly on evidence which they have collected from their practice.

I believe that children's experience of setting should be happy and positive. I want children to achieve their potential and believe in child initiated activities where children are encouraged to follow their own interest through play. In this way children can explore their ideas and can achieve their potential. Children should feel happy, confident, positive, secure and safe at setting (day care centre, nursery, and school) all the time.

Reflection can be done in many ways e.g. asking questions about practice, surveys. You may argue that how surveys or questionnaires can help you to reflect on your practice but I believe that in my opinion, this will definitely help you to find out what is going good and which bits were not good. In this way you are asking others to provide their own judgment to help you to find your weakness and strengths. That's why reflection is most preferred way of reflecting to how your practice is going on. In this way you are not judging yourself but other peoples are telling you about your weakness and strength.

Playful thinking help you to work closely with children and without this thinking you may unable to work with children because children need that playful thinking where they can explore their ideas and wishes.

Continuing professional development (CPD) is important part of practitioners' lives where they learn something new every day.

It is important to understand the nature and importance of value. Your own values and those of others affect what we do. I try to pt values into practice e.g. asking children their choices at play time; encourage them to take part in different kind of activities

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