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Lifelong learning and the counter/professionalisation of childcare: A case study of local hybridizations of global European discourses

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Abstract

We provide a historical (genealogical) study of the changes in discourses on adult education since the famous UNESCO conference in Montreal, to present day texts of the European Union on lifelong learning. We also analyse how these changing global discourses on lifelong learning have travelled – through the hegemony of English language – to local situations, such as in Flanders. In the case of Flanders, they have paradoxically contributed to a significant counter-professionalisation of the early years workforce. This genealogical case study also shows how research, policy and practice are closely intertwined in their contribution to this paradox. The study shows that genealogical approaches are useful to show both how international influences need to be considered in a globalised world, but also how specific local ‘hybridisations’ of these discourses are constructed.

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... Yet it is now widely acknowledged that the beneficial effects of ECEC can only be expected when educational quality is high. As a result, the political concern for quantity (i.e. the Barcelona targets) has made space for an equally important concern for quality (European Commission 2014; OECD 2012; Vandenbroeck, Peeters, and Bouverne-De Bie 2013). In this vein, there is achieved consensus among practitioners, researchers and policymakers that 'the quality of early childhood services depends on well-educated, experienced and competent staff' (Urban et al. 2012, 508) and that a process of professionalisation should be promoted. ...
... However, in several western European countries, these widespread arguments for professionalisation coincided with high staff turnover and attrition of FDC providers, as those who entered the childminding workforce in the 1980s are now retiring and it is far from evident that a new generation will fill this gap. Thus, as a logical rationale for the future of FDC, processes of professionalisation are not only reputed as essential preconditions for quality but at the same time function as a possible remedy for looming shortages in the field of ECEC (Vandenbroeck et al. 2013). As the demand for quality, affordability and accessibility continues to rise (Ang 2013), so does the importance of exploring inspiring practices of home-based childcare to open up the possibility of constructing new understandings about the commonalities and differences of FDC providers in the professionalisation debate ). ...
... Two decades later, in periods of renewed austerity measures and a plea for 'small states', the very same countries turned to marketisation and privatisation to tackle persistent childcare shortages. These not or little funded private initiatives shared the lack of regulations about the professional status with FDC initiatives and thus contributed to a paradox of counter-professionalisation in a period of growing awareness of the importance of professional competences (Vandenbroeck et al. 2013). ...
Article
In several countries, childminders grew in times of economic austerity and growing awareness of the economic function of childcare, as they were legitimised by a 'home as heaven' ideology and low costs. As a result, childminders have long been regarded as the 'Cinderellas' of childcare. Three decades later, scholars and policymakers agree on the importance of the educational function of childcare and thus on the importance of professional qualifications during the same time that these countries face the attrition of an entire generation of childminders. This gives rise to both quantitative and qualitative changes and raises the need to reconceptualise family day care (FDC). However, literature on this topic is scarce and information on non-English speaking countries is even more so. We explored productive policies and practices of onthaalouders (Flanders), assistantes maternelles (France) and Tagesmütter (Germany) in order to contribute to the small but increasing body of research in this field. This study shows that while the need for childcare workers is increasing, attrition of childminders might hamper the ambition to realise childcare and thus the attractiveness of the childminding profession requires an upgrade. New and hybrid forms of conjunction of centre-based and FDC challenge stereotypes about substitute mothering and offer possibilities to reconceptualise the childcare profession. However, they do not necessarily change the subordinate position of childminders in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) field.
... This is in tension with the renewed attention to professionalism and fair working conditions, and thus to the sustainability of the ECEC system. Moreover, it appears that processes of professionalisation are not only reputed as essential preconditions for quality but are additionally eulogised as possible remedies for looming shortages in the field of ECEC (Vandenbroeck et al., 2013): " A highly skilled workforce is the decisive factor for delivering early years quality and improving outcomes for young children. However, the current state of the sector presents a real barrier to achieving the high quality, high value workforce that is needed " (Cooke & Lawton, 2008, p. 16). ...
... Childminders receive a certificate of 40 hours of previously acquired competences, when they finish the obligatory training requirement established by the Flemish government as the sole precondition for a career path in the childminding sector. Although the recognition of prior learning is, in this way, recognised and pathways to formal qualification levels are opened up, the main focus on competences further shifts any responsibility for learning, professionalisation or job mobility towards the sole individual (Vandenbroeck et al., 2013). Thus, although these lists of competences might seem an attractive way to upskill the FDC workforce, in practice, the childminder who attains them is left with a list of required skillsets and procedures (Vandenbroeck et al., 2013) and in the unenviable position of " having achieved only a transition from the worker as substitute mother to the worker as a lower or higher grade technician " (Moss, 2012, p. viii). ...
... Although the recognition of prior learning is, in this way, recognised and pathways to formal qualification levels are opened up, the main focus on competences further shifts any responsibility for learning, professionalisation or job mobility towards the sole individual (Vandenbroeck et al., 2013). Thus, although these lists of competences might seem an attractive way to upskill the FDC workforce, in practice, the childminder who attains them is left with a list of required skillsets and procedures (Vandenbroeck et al., 2013) and in the unenviable position of " having achieved only a transition from the worker as substitute mother to the worker as a lower or higher grade technician " (Moss, 2012, p. viii). In this context, Urban et al. (2011) also critically note that structural qualifying pathways should be effected at all levels of the competent ECEC-system rather than shrugged off onto the individual as the sole precondition for professionalisation. ...
Chapter
Although they were probably the first form of day care for the youngest children, family day care (FDC) providers have long been mistrusted by governments and the leading bourgeoisie in Belgium, France and Germany (see for instance N.W.K., 1922 for Belgium). It is not until the 1980s that family day care provisions gained momentum in several countries (see for instance Mooney A, Statham J (ed), Family day care. International perspectives on policy, practice and quality. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London, 2003) in a period of economic downturn, as a cheap way to deal with the increasing demand for child care for the under-threes. Under the veil of a “home as haven” ideology (Rapp G, Lloyd S, Fam Relat 38(4):426–430. http://www.jstor.org/stable/585748, p. 426, 1989) or under the political assertion of “what women naturally do” (Urban M, Dalli C. A profession speaking and thinking for itself. In: L Miller, C Dalli, M Urban (eds) Early childhood grows up. Towards a critical ecology of the profession. Springer, Dordrecht/Heidelberg/London/New York, p. 519, 2012), childminders were brought to the forefront of early child care policies, despite earlier criticisms of the “home away from home” thesis that childminders did not need qualifications as they were mothers (Mayall B, Petrie P. Minder, mother and child. Institute of Education, London, 1977). As a result, two to three decades later, in another period of economic austerity, many regions and countries are faced with high attrition rates with over 3000 childminders stopping work in Flanders in the last 5 years and the percentage of early child care services in family-based provision in Sweden diminishing from 30 to hardly 5 % (e.g., Kind en Gezin. Jaarverslag 2014. Kind en Gezin, Brussel Jaarverslag 2014. Kind en Gezin, Brussel, 2015 (Korpi BM. The politics of preschool. Intentions and decisions underlying the emergence and growth of Swedish preschool. Ministry of Education and Research, Stockholm, 2007) The politics of preschool. Intentions and decisions underlying the emergence and growth of Swedish preschool. Ministry of Education and Research, Stockholm). Questions of professionalisation, sustainability and fairness are also gaining increasing political attention (Layland J, Smith A. N Z J Educ Stud 50(1):71–86, 2015) as it becomes clearer that qualifications matter more for the educational quality of FDC than years of experience (Fukkink RG, Lont A. Early Child Res Q 22:294–311, 2007). As a result, countries face quantitative and qualitative challenges (see for instance the European Qualification Framework in Working Group on Early Childhood Education and Care. Proposal for key principles of a quality framework for early childhood education and care. European Commission, Brussels, 2014) and it is far from evident that a new generation of family day care providers will emerge to fill this gap. In this chapter, we discuss this trilemma of professionalisation, sustainability and fairness in general and focus also on these issues within three non-English speaking regions – Flanders, France and Germany – which are regions where these issues have hardly been documented in the English language literature. We look at how the issue of working conditions, both financially and socially (and thus the issue of fairness) increases the tensions in the discussions of professionalisation and sustainability. We discuss these tensions and document how they are shaped in policy and practice
... The European Key Competences for Lifelong Learning offer a framework for training providers to support students towards personal fulfilment, social inclusion, active citizenship and employability in a knowledge-based society (European Commission, 2007). Both lifelong learning in regard to the children who attend ECEC and those who work in it increasingly reflect a conception of education and training as a source of human capital that will secure the future economic competiveness of both individuals and countries (Vandenbroeck, Peeters, & Bouverne-De Bie, 2013). The European Lifelong Learning Programme defines competences as 'a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the context' (European Commission, 2007, p. 3). ...
... Herling (2000) explores the primary tool for linking an individual's performance within an organization to ensure that their level of competency is through measurement, reflecting modernist approaches to quality. Vandenbroeck et al. (2013) discuss how the lifelong learning model is one that is framed by constructions of individuals becoming economically competitive in a globalized economy, whereby competence is about technocratic efficiency, the right workforce to achieve the right child outcomes. The technocratic assessment of competence suggests the ability to demonstrate given knowledge, skills and attitudes to an assessor. ...
Article
The early childhood workforce is routinely demonstrated as being central to the quality of early childhood education and care (ECEC). Frequently, discussions of quality focus on structural features of training, such as level and duration. However, the literature demonstrates that quality extends beyond the structural and that early childhood practitioners identify knowledge that is not from qualifications, referring instead to less tangible attitudes that are often seen as innate for guiding their work with children. Drawing on empirical research in three European countries (UK, Hungary and Italy), this paper considers the attitudes that those at the start of their professional development identify for ECEC and where and how they develop them. The findings highlight how attitudes are bound by socio-cultural understandings of ECEC, with a post-structuralist perspective highlighting the importance of bringing to the fore the tacit attitudinal knowledge that is assumed to exist for guiding quality ECEC.
... The premise is that teachers learning is mediated by established standards, and as such, they are involved in producing predetermined outcomes (Moss, 2010, p. 12) that relate to "prescribed technologies of proven effectiveness". This locates the focus of professional learning as technical skill development rather than acknowledging teachers as reflexive practitioners (Vandenbroeck, Peeters, & Bouverne-De, 2013). Our research projects that incorporate a methodology where teachers choose the focus of their learning, considering their personal contexts, have successfully developed the teachers' professional capabilities of intentionality and thoughtfulness leading to critical examinations and actions of their practice in a systematic way to effect change (Nolan & Guo, 2019;Nolan & Morrissey, 2016). ...
Article
Promoting teacher professionalisation has become a key policy agenda in Australia and internationally. Professional learning is often invoked as a means to achieve this goal. In this paper, drawing on findings of a series of studies we conducted on the topic in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector, and guided by a range of theoretical tools, we propose a three-step cyclical approach to understanding, assessing and promoting teacher professional learning. The first step introduces spaces of assessment of teacher professional functioning. The second step outlines the core elements of transformative teacher professional learning. The third step highlights two interrelated aspects of teacher professional capabilities: confidence and agency. This work has been guided by the research question: How can teacher professionalisation be understood, assessed and advanced? In closing, we briefly state the implications of the findings for policy and practice.
... The call for accredited education specifically for childminders, at levels similar to that for all ECEC workers, could be considered a progressive step, opening up the possibility of more varied career progression (Boogaard, Bollen, and Dikkers 2013;Vandenbroeck and Bauters 2017;Vandenbroeck, Peeters, and Bouverne-De Bie 2013;Elfer and Page 2015;Oberhuemer 2011). Most European countries with regulated childminding offer specific childminding courses; however, these courses are not generally accredited, nor at the same level required for other ECEC teachers. ...
Article
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In light of rapid changes in the early years sector in Ireland since 2000, questions arise about the professionalism of childminders (family day carers), the vast majority of whom are exempt from regulation. Fewer than 0.1% (<120) of childminders are registered with Tusla, the national regulator, despite the National Childminding Initiative, (NCMI) which has promoted professional, high quality childminding. To investigate current attitudes to NCMI’s process of professionalisation (Brannen and Moss [2003]. Rethinking Children’s Care. Open University Press. http://eprints.ioe.ac.uk/3029/.) among childminders and parents, a cross-sectional study was designed using a mixed-method approach. Specifically an anonymous online survey was conducted with 325 participants, followed by a qualitative World Café forum for 40 members of Childminding Ireland, the national childminding body. Findings from both phases of research revealed many of these childminders were well-qualified and engaged, with a sense of professional identity, seeking a distinctive approach to support childminding. Moreover, both childminder and parent participants value the distinctive characteristics of childminding – close relationships, a nurturing pedagogy, a rich, home environment – to a greater extent than markers of professionalism. These findings call for an innovative approach to childminding in Ireland, one that facilitates an organic development of agentic, professional childminding as part of a competent ECEC system.
... In fact, aligning teacher professional development with meeting quality goals to ensure positive outcomes for children narrows the definition of professionalism to 'technical professionalism, focusing on "skills" rather than a reflective professionalism' (Vandenbroeck, Peeters, and Bouverne-De 2013, 114). This shifts the focus to professional learning as technical skill development rather than acknowledging teachers as reflexive practitioners (Vandenbroeck, Peeters, and Bouverne-De 2013). Although quality reforms embrace autonomy, critical reflection and professional agency, when governance, standards and accountability are incorporated, the ability to integrate these different aspects of professional practice is likely to pose difficulties for early childhood professionals (Ortlipp, Arthur, and Woodrow 2011). ...
Article
Critical reflection on practice is a hallmark of professionalism in early childhood education. In the Australian context, reflection is highlighted as a principle in the national curriculum framework. This paper focuses on the professional learning of early childhood educators by drawing on a pedagogy of discomfort, an approach that aims to disorientate learners through unsettling their taken-for-granted assumptions and engaging them in collegial deliberation. Interview data from 13 early childhood educators who participated in a Reflective Practice Research Project was analysed to identify disjuncture, deliberation and moments of transformational learning. The findings point to the changes in practice reported by the participants. Barriers and mediators to learning and participation in the project are noted along with the important role reflection plays in teachers’ professional learning. We argue that a well-designed and well-delivered professional learning program can lead to a change in disposition and accordingly transformative learning for participants.
... Accompaniment functions can be seen as a key factor in the professionalization of childcare activity when considered in the context of a "competent system" (Urban et al. 2012) that seeks to go beyond dominant discourses on lifelong learning, with their focus on individual professional development (Vandenbroeck et al. 2013). The competent system refers to the interactions between various levels of responsibility: individual (initial training, continuing professional development), institutional (time for teamwork and in-service training, accompaniment), inter-institutional (peer groups, training for staff managers or practitioners of new childcare services, professional networks, close collaborations between childcare services and research agencies) and finally political (curriculum, public funds and regulation governing continuing professional development and work conditions). ...
Chapter
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Workforce quality and professionalization in the field of early childhood education are widely considered to be a powerful lever in improving the quality of childcare services. This emphasis demonstrates the necessity of increasing the level of practitioner qualification across the sector and to revise both professional profiles and training curriculum in response to the complex demands of professional activity. Nowadays workspace is recognized as a potential learning space where individual, institutional, inter-institutional and political actions interact. This approach to professionalization is grounded in a theoretical and systemic view that recognizes different levels of responsibility in the development of professional and quality services. This paper presents different educational cultures observed today in the variety of training and professional actions in the Western World. It shows that changes in early childhood education could be understood as a signifier of the emergence of a new culture of professionalization where actions, actors, and environment undergo change simultaneously. Follow the link : http://hdl.handle.net/2268/218746
... The current policy framing has returned to a construction of ECEC workers as women with 'pleasant dispositions and limited abilities' (Taggart, 2011), who require technical skill development rather than professionalisation as reflexive practitioners (Vandenbroeck et al., 2013). The resultant policy solutions have prioritised investments in ECEC businesses, with grants for staff training in place of the previous government's promised wage supplements. ...
Article
Using discursive policy analysis, we analyse recent Australian childcare policy reform. By examining the policy framings of two successive governments and a childcare union, we demonstrate how the value of care work was strategically positioned by each of the three actors, constructing differing problems with different policy solutions. We argue that women’s care work was recognised by one government as valuable and professional when it aligned with an educational investment framing of enhanced productivity. This framing was capitalised upon by a union campaign for ‘professional’ wages, resulting in a government childcare worker wage subsidy. However, prior to implementation, a change of government re-framed the problem. The new government cast mandatory quality standards as placing unnecessary financial pressure on families and business. Within this frame, the remedy was to instead subsidise employer staff-development costs without increasing workers’ wages.
... There are plenty of promising ideas for the study of the dynamics between different imaginaries, since diffusion of policies and ideas has been discussed within several academic disciplines. In the area of studies concerning education policies in the globalised world, the dynamics between transnational and local policies have been explored through the concepts of 'policy borrowing and lending' (Steiner-Khamsi, 2004), 'diffusion' (Jakobi, 2012), 'embeddedness' (Ozga and Jones, 2006), 'global/local nexus' (Steiner-Khamsi, 2012), reception and translation (Steiner-Khamsi, 2014), domestication (Alasuutari and Qadir, 2013) and 'hybridisations' (Maroy, 2009;Vandenbroeck et al., 2013). ...
Article
Drawing on the analytic concept of imaginary, this study investigates policy hybridisation in the Finnish early childhood education. Specifically, it illuminates how the interplay between different imaginaries enabled the neoliberal imaginary to oust the social-democratic imaginary through a tripartite process in a case of local productivity policy in the early childhood education sector. The confrontation of the historical trajectories and analyses of a localised hybridisation process suggests that even though historical trajectories play an important role in defining future policy solutions, hybridisations may have the power to transform their direction. We suggest that focusing on both discursive features of policy deliberation and material-technical ways of governing policy directions provide valuable information concerning policy reforms.
... Freire, Giesecke, Negt). Contingent with this critical stance of social work, states in continental Europe increasingly invested in civil society organisations that focused on adult education and cultural emancipation, rather than on interventions in the family (Van Damme, 1996;Vandenbroeck, Peeters, & Bouverne-De Bie, 2013). Service delivery, including social work, was conceived as a welfare right rather than as a charity (Esping-Andersen, 2004). ...
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This article attempts to contribute to the historically relevant debate about the role of social work in poverty situations, focusing on the emblematic and radical question whether the poor actually need social work. In the context of the currently dominant policy framework in European welfare states, that is underpinned by the emerging paradigm of social investment, we argue that it is extremely relevant to readdress this question. Within this development, the eradication of child poverty has been considered a key target of poverty reduction strategies and child and family social work has consequently been assigned a pivotal role in the fight against the intergenerational transmission of poverty. We demonstrate that the rhetoric of social investment has found a practical implementation in social work constructing the problem of poverty in terms of education and activation of both the child and the individual parent. Based on an extensive review of literature, we discuss underlying assumptions, consequences and pitfalls of the paradigm of social investment for social work and tease out whether, and on which conditions, poor families need child and family social work.
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School-based language policies (SLP) are expected to have a positive effect on student achievement. To date, few studies have empirically examined the impact of such policies on student outcomes. This study investigates to what extent SLPs are related to pupils’ reading performance from an educational effectiveness perspective. In addition, the study investigates whether SLPs have differential effects for pupils at risk of underachievement. Data from a cross-sectional study involving 3,000 pupils in the first, third, and sixth grades of 28 elementary schools in Flanders, the northern Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, were analyzed using multivariate multilevel modeling. Results indicate that one SLP component, team reflective capacity for language instruction, positively affects students’ decoding skills in reading. No differential effects for low- versus high-risk pupils were found.
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La ricerca nasce nell'ambito del Progetto Erasmus+ EQUAP (Enhancing quality in early childhood education and care through participation-2014-17) che coinvolge diversi attori coinvolti nei servizi per la prima infanzia di 11 partner di 7 paesi. Il progetto mira a promuovere la qualità dei servizi attraverso la partecipazione dei genitori in una prospettiva coeducativa. Il contributo presenta alcuni esiti della valutazione del percorso di jobshadowing intrapreso da 8 operatrici di 4 servizi del Comune di Forlì. I dati sono stati raccolti mediante una strategia di tipo quali-quantitativo che ha previsto la somministrazione alle educatrici di questionari semistrutturati, focus group e l'analisi di documenti da loro elaborati. Dall'analisi dei dati emergono sia elementi di conferma della valenza formativa della pratica di job shadowing sia alcuni spunti per il suo sviluppo. Parole chiave: job shadowing, sviluppo professionale, servizi educativi per l'infanzia, coeducazione, valutazione, sistemi educativi competenti. Abstract The contribution comes as part of the project EQUAP Erasmus+ (Enhancing quality in early childhood education and care through participation-2014-17), that involve different actors (11 partners, 7 countries) coming from the realm of early childhood education and care. The international research project aims at developing the issue of family participation in relation to quality with the perspective of coeducation. The contribution aims at presenting some outcomes of the evaluation of the jobshadowing activities undertaken by 8 practitioners involved in 4 Ecec services of the Municipality of Forlì. The data were collected through a quali-quantitative research strategy (semi-structured questionnaires, focus groups, analysis of documents). The analysis of the data reveals both elements of confirmation of the training value of the job shadowing practice and some ideas for its development.
Article
It is widely accepted that the early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce is central to the quality of services. Modernist constructs of quality signal the importance of qualifications for quality, but the preoccupation with qualification levels silences questions about the knowledge required of ECEC professionals. Postmodern perspectives have opened up debates on understandings of professionalism and given voice to those who work in ECEC. However, sociological perspectives of knowledge challenge postmodernism as either creating a dichotomy between modernist technocratic models of professionalism and the ethical models implicated in postmodernism or at worst presenting knowledge as non-existent. Adopting a sociological perspective of knowledge moves away from the dichotomy, enabling a critical consideration of what is the knowledge-base for ECEC, how it is formed, legitimised and applied. Drawing on Bernstein contributes to the debates on professionalism through providing a model for the ECEC knowledge-base that identifies multiple forms of knowledge, representing both theoretical and experiential knowledge. Theoretical knowledge has strong boundaries that provides legitimacy. However, whilst the social origins of experiential knowledge offers legitimacy, it requires greater articulation and scrutiny.
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Notions of well-being have long been heralded as vital to the good life for human beings. This chapter considers the place of well-being in ECEC with a particular focus on the complex interconnections between well-being and the pedagogical experiences of infants. An examination of the place and purpose of well-being is critiqued in relation to eudaimonic and hedonic theorisations of well-being – theorisations that have implications for both the adult and the child. We explore the philosophical and educational underpinnings of a conceptualisation of well-being and use these to critique the contemporary observed problem of a lack of care, a lack of well-being, and the development of the early childhood teaching profession. We consider the competing concerns of care and education of infants and toddlers that are evident in the policies of the ministries of Health and Education in Aotearoa New Zealand. The chapter critiques positivistic approaches that seek to reduce well-being to discrete variables or checklists of health or happiness, and offers alternative views of well-being in terms of both an experience of well-being and a professional knowledge of well-being. Drawing upon the policy context of Aotearoa New Zealand, the final section of this chapter explores how the policy context can use simplistic approaches to well-being to avoid the important interconnections that exist between well-being and pedagogy. A key policy provocation that this chapter then engages with is: Should teachers of infants have a distinct early childhood teaching qualification? The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Starting strong II: early childhood education and care. OECD Publishing, 2006) notes that no “dominant core professional profile for work with infants and toddlers has emerged. This may be due to seeing the work as primarily a question of care, or in collective situations, as a question of maintaining health and hygiene.” We are not seeking to entrench any such dominant profession here, however we are seeking to create spaces of resistance for the dominance of some professional knowledge and educational traditions that seem to have made it possible to regard, for example, knowledge of health and hygiene as marginal (at best) matters of professional knowledge.
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While much is known about the factors related to student performance beyond Grade 3 less is known about the factors that are related to student performance in early childhood education and the early years in primary school. As part of the ‘I go to school’ project in South Australia, this study tracked children attending integrated preschool/childcare centres - known as Children’s Centres - as they made their transition to school. Results indicated that children who attended early childhood education programs that were of higher quality - as characterised by higher staff qualifications and a greater range and more engaging children's activities - showed a greater gain in cognitive development than children who attended lower quality programs. Findings also suggested that children who benefitted the most from attendance in these programs were children from backgrounds of greater social disadvantage than children from less disadvantaged backgrounds.
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The European Union wants to combat the effects of the aging population by creating complete employment. In order to achieve this, the combination of work and family must be made easier. However, for the European Union, childcare is not only seen as a prerequisite for employment, but also as a source of employment. In addition to wanting to create further jobs, the EU has emphasized the importance of these jobs being of ‘good quality.’Work must be made more attractive for more people. In other words: Europe wants to create not only more – but also better -- jobs in the childcare sector-. Quality employment is central to the EU’s objective of becoming a knowledge-based economy (European Commission 2001). Within the scientific community, there is a consensus on the fact that quality ECEC in the early years has a positive effect on the development of the child. In order to create a basis for ‘good quality childcare,’ it is necessary ‘to create a sustainable workforce, with the competencies and knowledge to deliver services of high quality’. There is a growing consensus within Europe regarding the necessity of improving professionalism in the childcare sector. However, there is no agreement regarding how this improvement should occur. The aim of this study is to better define the concept of professionalism in the professions dealing with young children. The overview of the scientific literature in the first part of this study shows That the professionalization of individuals is a learning process in which, again and again, meaning is given to the interpretation of the profession and which is continually done in relationship to others: the colleagues, the parents and the children. In light of this, the professionalization process can be seen as a social practice that is the consequence of interaction between, on the one hand, social evolutions, policy measures and new scientific insights and, on the other hand, the researchers, the staff at childcare centres and the parents and the children. The second part of the book focusses on the gender aspect. Caring for children is still seen in many member states as ‘women’s work’. Research clearly links this gender-biased concept of professionalism to poor salaries and low qualifications. A new concept of professionalism in care work with young children must be based on a gender-neutral concept. The presence of male staff members and the active involvement of fathers in the facilities are essential conditions for achieving a gender-neutral structure of professionalism. After all, gender-neutral professionalism can only develop through critical consideration and discussion between the male and the female staff members and with the fathers and mothers. The third part of the study will give an overview of professionalism in care work for young children in various EU countries and New Zealand. Our study has shown that Flanders is counteracting this evolution: for the past 25 years, the Flemish childcare sector has been undergoing a process of deprofessionalization. A more detailed study of professionalism in ECEC was initiated in four countries, selected because (according to the international surveys) they have developed an ‘interesting practice and policy’ with regard to professionalism. The study concludes that the integration of childcare (0 to 3 and 4-year olds) into a broader whole (education or ‘social welfare activities’) has given rise to a process of professionalization (the demand for higher education and higher salaries). In most EU-countries, there has been a tendency towards establishing bachelor level training courses. These graduates are assisted by less-qualified personnel who generally have a secondary education. The bachelor-level training courses in France, Denmark and New Zealand – and a number of ‘Early Years Foundation Degrees’ in England - train students to be reflective practioners, who must be capable of constructing practical, new knowledge. In these countries, we see methods develop in which the analysis of practices steers the learning process (reflective practice cycle, ‘analyse de pratiques’). In the training courses in France and Denmark, this is taken a step further by also including the coaching of lesser-qualified workers in the curriculum of the bachelor training course. In some Member States, unqualified workers from underprivileged groups receive dispensation for relevant practical experience if they take on a more advanced study. Finally, we will conclude that the countries with a clearly developed system of professionalism have invested a great deal in expanding the possibilities for vertical and horizontal mobility within all the professions dealing with young children. Everywhere in Europe, professionalism in childcare is on the political agenda. The ‘care concept’ is being increasingly set aside and childcare is becoming imbedded in a larger whole in which the parenting and social functions are being given an important place. Because of this, the professions in the childcare sector are being radically reformed in many European countries. Some countries are choosing a social-pedagogic vision, others have integrated childcare into the educational system. Within the EU and other international organizations, there is a consensus that the competencies and qualifications of staff members in the professions dealing with young children must be upgraded. There is a fascinating debate going on concerning the manner in which this must be done. The development of action-oriented competencies which give the staff member the ability to deal with complex situations and to develop his/her own practical pedagogic knowledge is a central focus here.
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In her recent contribution to the British Educational Research Journal, Pauline McClenaghan identified the link between social capital and community development, particularly community development education, as a core area where scholarly and policy interests overlap. She concluded that the concept of social capital is unable to grapple with the complex social divisions that characterise contemporary Europe. The authors of this article question her account on three main grounds: the definition of social capital, which they hold is overly narrow, and does not deal with what Woolcock calls the 'linking' role of social networks; the presentation of the theoretical foundations of community development, which they believe is flawed in certain key respects; and a lack of clarity in the relationship between the research and the findings reported. The authors then present their own theoretically informed account of social capital as a means of understanding the role of community development, the challenges that it can face and the role of adult education for community development.
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'Competence' is a term in ubiquitous use in higher education but how might it be understood? 'The Limits of Competence' takes an uncompromising line, providing a sustained critique of competence as a wholly inadequate notion for higher education. Tacitly, the academic world has held to a traditional idea of academic competence but that rather narrow idea has been recently replaced by another concept, that of operational competence. In this performativity, the key question is not 'what does the student know?' but rather 'what can the student do?' This book urges an alternative and larger view, proposing a third and heretical conception of human being. In short, curricula might actually offer an education for life.
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This article analyses recent debates about the Third Way in politics in Britain and the United States. It suggests that what is most significant is the emergence of a new politics of conduct that seeks to reconstruct citizens as moral subjects of responsible communities. The author considers the presuppositions of such a politics and its implications for technologies of government.
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Care Work in Europe provides a cross-national and cross-sectoral study of care work in Europe today, covering policy, provision and practice, as well as exploring how care work is conceptualized and understood. Drawing on a study which looks at care work across the life course in a number of European countries, this book: Explores the context and emerging policy agendas provides an analysis of how different countries and sectors understand and structure care work examines key issues, such as the extreme gendering of the workforce, increasing problems of recruitment and turnover, what kinds of knowledge and education the work requires and what conditions are needed to ensure good quality employment considers possible future directions, including the option of a generic professional worker, educated to work across the life course and whether 'care' will, or should, remain a distinct field of policy and employment. This groundbreaking comparative study provokes much-needed new thinking about the current situation and future direction of care work, an area essential to the social and economic well-being of Europe.
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Historically there have been three strands of policy concerning provision for young children. Nursery education has traditionally been provided for three and four-year-olds as a free, part-time, school based service provided by qualified teachers, and is regulated by education legislation. Childcare for working parents is a full-time care service for children 0–5 to cover working hours, provided by nursery nurses or unqualified care staff in a variety of private settings including domestic settings; finding and paying for this service has until now been the responsibility of parents. Childcare is subject to the 1989 Children Act and the regulation is carried out by social services departments. Welfare care for vulnerable children or children in need is provided for young children aged 0–5 referred by social workers to local authority social services or voluntary run day nurseries or family centres, and also regulated under the terms of the Children Act. All these policy strands are now under review by the government.
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The article starts from the questions: what is it to be an inhabitant or citizen of a globalised world, and how are we to think of education in relation to such inhabitants? We examine more specifically the so–called ‘European area of higher education’ that is on the way to being established and that can be regarded as a concrete example of a process of globalisation. In the first part of the paper we try to show that the discursive horizon, and the concrete techniques and strategies that accompany the establishment of this space of higher education, invite the inhabitants of that space to see themselves as entrepreneurial and autonomous entities. In the second part we show how this specific kind of subjectivation (this production of subjects), related as it is to this globalised space, involves what we call an immunisation that also affects our thinking and our ideas in and about education. To refer to this as a kind of immunisation implies that globalisation could in fact be considered a closing or enclosing rather than an opening up. We argue, therefore, that this immunisation needs to be refused in favour of the invention of other kinds of subjectivity, other ways of speaking and writing about the world and about education, such that we relate to ourselves in a different way.
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I argue that Hannah Arendt's analysis of the development of modern society illuminates one aspect of prevailing educational discourse. We can understand the ‘learning society’ as both an effect and an instrument of the logic of ‘bare biological life’ or zoé that Arendt claims is the ultimate point of reference for modern society. In such a society we seem to live permanently under the threat of social exclusion, being permanently put in the position of learners or problem-solvers, without the right of appeal. To imagine the possibility of such an appeal requires us to recover our sense of the experience of childhood.
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New Labour is constructing an “employment-first” welfare state. It plans through Jobcentre Plus to transform the passive culture of the benefit system by creating more explicit links between individual behaviour and engagement with labour market programmes. The New Deal for Young People (NDYP) has been at the forefront of these changes. This paper reports on the findings from four case studies that explored how the NDYP has changed young people's experience of the welfare state. It establishes that NDYP offers a mixture of employment assistance and “pressure” and has made progress in developing front-line services and helping young long-term unemployed people into work. NDYP does not, however, work for all. In areas of high unemployment and for some disadvantaged groups intermediate labour markets could enhance the New Deal and make real the offer of “employment opportunities for all”.
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This paper seeks to analyse and make sense of the growing role and implications of forms of ‘contractual governance’ that are emerging in diverse fields of social life and public policy in England and Wales, both within and beyond criminal justice. Collectively, these modes of control mimic and deploy ‘contracts' and ‘agreement’ in the regulation of deviant conduct and disorderly behaviour. The rise of contractual governance is explored against the background of a crisis in penal modernism and the challenge of crime prevention. Contractual governance in a number of fields is outlined and discussed, including home-school agreements in education; acceptable behaviour contracts and introductory tenancies in social housing; restrictive covenants in private residential neighbourhoods; domestic security and private residential patrols and youth offender contracts. It will be argued that, in these contexts, contracts seek to induce conformity and order through modes of governing the future that depart significantly from traditional modes of policing and that recast social obligations in forms of parochial control.
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Studies of the welfare state have formed an important part of public policy research in America since the Second World War. The Enabling State reconsiders the scope of social welfare transfers, how they are delivered, and whom they benefit. In addition to presenting an analysis of direct public expenditures, the authors examine how welfare benefits are derived from the full range of modern social transfers, including tax expenditures, credit subsidies, and those induced by regulatory activity. The work also provides an account of the effect of the `commercialization of social welfare', that is, increased public reliance on private enterprise and market-orientated projects for its welfare provisions.
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In the past decade in the United States, pre-kindergarten programs for four year olds have expanded rapidly as a potentially powerful intervention intended to promote school readiness for children at-risk for future school failure. This paper describes in detail multi-dimensional profiles of observed quality across 692 classrooms in 11 states representing 80% of these available programs and examines teacher, program, and classroom characteristics associated in these profiles. Cluster analysis enabled the detection of patterns that fit profiles of high and low overall emotional and instructional support along with “mid-range” patterns in which emotional support is somewhat higher than instructional support. Associations between teacher characteristics and program characteristics were generally not significant. However, the poorest quality profile was associated with classroom poverty level, suggesting that the children who need the highest quality educational experiences have teachers who are struggling the most to provide it.
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The publication of the Green Paper ‘Every Child Matters’ and the passage of the Children Act 2004 marks a significant shift in thinking about and organising of children's services in England. While the Government has presented the changes primarily as a response to the Laming Report into the death of Victoria Climbié, they are much more than this. The changes build on many of the ideas and policies the Government had been developing over a number of years, which emphasise the importance of intervening in children's lives at an early stage in order to prevent problems in later life. This paper critically analyses the assumptions which underpin the changes and argues that the relationships between parents, children, professionals and the state are being reconfigured as a result and that the priority given to the accumulation, monitoring and exchange of information takes on an increasing significance.
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The last five years have seen a radical transformation in adult education in England with a concentrated emphasis on national basic skills provision. This was prompted initially by a government response to low levels of literacy in the British adult population, identified by an influential international survey, showing unfavourable comparisons with other European countries. The response to the disclosure that seven million adults in England were not functionally literate saw the creation in 2001 of a national basic skills strategy in England entitled Skills for Life. It is a far‐reaching strategy creating a new infrastructure to support adult basic skills learning opportunities over a seven‐year period. It also created the entitlement to free basic skills learning opportunities, as a cornerstone to creating national economic competitiveness and social cohesion. Such an entitlement could be interpreted as a commitment to providing wider access to foundation skills for adults who had previously missed out, as part of a lifelong learning agenda. However, a critical reading of the policy texts, and recent funding priorities, show the strategy rooted more in a response to what is perceived as the skills demands of a knowledge economy for global competitiveness than to issues of social inclusion and increased opportunities for lifelong learning. The result of this may well be the creation of new sites of inequality that affect older women and adult ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) learners disproportionately, the very people that are identified as being needed to fill skill gaps in the economy.
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Extending the logic of industrialism thesis, it is argued here that the world now has a global infrastructure, information technology empowered by those who control capital. Globalisation has resulted in the development of learnign societies as a superstructural phenomenon. Four dimensions of the learning society are analysed in this article and the implications of these are explored for the study of comparative education. The thesis of the article is that the field of comparatives is broader than education itself, and that reasons for comparative studies have changed little since early adult education comparativists met in 1966 and agreed on a number of major themes.
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This article uses the concept of ‘the social investment state’ to understand key aspects of New Labour’s policies in relation to welfare reform. It argues that ‘investing in children’ and creating ‘responsible parents’ are vital features of many of the policies and service initiatives which have emerged since 1997. Such features have considerable implications for policies and practices in the arena of family support. The article goes on to outline aspects of an important critique of the social investment state which has emerged from those engaged in research and policy analysis who argue for a ‘political ethics of care’. It argues that this perspective offers important possibilities to family support advocates not only for critique, but also for articulating much needed policy alternatives to those currently being promoted by New Labour. It also signposts the importance of conducting ongoing research into the meanings which are being attached by individuals to complex and contested terms such as ‘family’ and ‘support’.
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2nd edition What is childhood and why, and how, did psychology come to be the arbiter of 'correct'or 'normal' development? How do actual lived childhoods connect with theories about child development? In this completely revised and updated edition, Deconstructing Developmental Psychology interrogates the assumptions and practices surrounding the psychology of child development, providing a critical evaluation of the role and contribution of developmental psychology within social practice. In the decade since the first edition was published, there have been many major changes. The role accorded childcare experts and the power of the 'psy complex' have, if anything, intensified. This book addresses how shifts in advanced capitalism have produced new understandings of children, and a new (and more punitive) range of institutional responses to children. It engages with the paradoxes of childhood in an era when young adults are increasingly economically dependent on their families, and in a political context of heightened insecurity. The new edition includes an updated review of developments in psychological theory (in attachment, evolutionary psychology, theory of mind, cultural-historical approaches), as well as updating and reflecting upon the changed focus on fathers and fathering. It offers new perspectives on the connections between Piaget and Vygotsky and now connects much more closely with discussions from the sociology of childhood and critical educational research. Coverage has been expanded to include more material on child rights debates, and a new chapter addresses practice dilemmas around child protection, which engages even more with the "raced" and gendered effects of current policies involving children.
Article
This paper explores the distinction between education and learning in relation to the whole of the professional lifespan. After an initial conceptual discussion, there are two main sections: the first looks at lifelong learning and learners in relation to nursing while the second focuses upon lifelong education. It is argued that the prevalence of lifelong learning is unknown amongst nurses since little research exists on the subject, although it is frequently regarded as an essential component of professionalism. In order to create lifelong learners it is suggested that changes are necessary in nurse education and managerial practice. If lifelong learning were actually fostered in nursing then continuing education might be less necessary. However, continuing education is expanding and some principles for its implementation are considered in the second section.
Article
This paper explores the distinction between education and learning in relation to the whole of the professional lifespan. After an initial conceptual discussion, there are two main sections: the first looks at lifelong learning and learners in relation to nursing while the second focuses upon lifelong education. It is argued that the prevalence of lifelong learning is unknown amongst nurses since little research exists on the subject, although it is frequently regarded as an essential component of professionalism. In order to create lifelong learners it is suggested that changes are necessary in nurse education and managerial practice. If lifelong learning were actually fostered in nursing then continuing education might be less necessary. However, continuing education is expanding and some principles for its implementation are considered in the second section. (c) 2005 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Starting Strong II. Early Childhood Education and Care. Paris: ORethinking Professionalism in Early Years: Perspectives from the United Kingdom
  • Oecd E C D Paris
  • J Osgood
Paris: OECD. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 2006. Starting Strong II. Early Childhood Education and Care. Paris: O.E.C.D. Osgood, J. 2006. “Rethinking Professionalism in Early Years: Perspectives from the United Kingdom.” Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood 7 (1): 1–4
Council Conclusions of 12 May on a Strategic Framework for European Cooperation in Education and Training (ET 2020)
  • European Council
European Council. 2009. "Council Conclusions of 12 May on a Strategic Framework for European Cooperation in Education and Training (ET 2020)." Official Journal of the European Union 119: 2-9.
Collective Consultation of Secretaries of National Commissions Report Card 8. The Child Care Transition
  • Final Report Paris
  • Unesco
  • Unesco
Final Report. Paris: UNESCO. UNESCO. 1970. Collective Consultation of Secretaries of National Commissions. Unesco House, Paris, 22 June – 3 July 1970. Paris: UNESCO. Unicef Innocenti Research Centre. 2008. Report Card 8. The Child Care Transition. Florence: Unicef.
New Opportunities. Fair Chances for the Future
  • G Brown
Brown, G. 2009. New Opportunities. Fair Chances for the Future. London: HM Government.
Science de la science et réflexivité
  • Palgrave
  • P Bourdieu
New York: Palgrave. Bourdieu, P. 2001. Science de la science et réflexivité. Cours au Collège de France 2000–2001.
The Council of Europe's 'permanent education' Project
  • J.-P Titz
Titz, J.-P. 1995. "The Council of Europe's 'permanent education' Project." European Journal of Vocational Training 6: 43-47.