About this Event
The Early Childhood Seminar Series was founded by Dr Marek Tesar and Dr Maria Cooper in 2013, as an opportunity for researchers, academics, teachers and the wider community to engage with top New Zealand and international academics. The Seminar Series is now proudly supported by the wider ECE team at the University of Auckland.
This Seminar Series is aimed at all who are interested in early childhood education, the early years and in childhood studies. It has created a dynamic space for networking and ongoing discussions across disciplines and institutions. As a research project, the Early Childhood Seminar Series connects researchers and academics in early childhood and childhood studies, to collaborate on diverse projects and publications, and to connect with the wider EC Education and Care sector.
Date: Monday 2 August 2021
Where: J2, Epsom Campus, University of Auckland or Online via Livestream
This event is avalible online via livestream or in person with a networking opportunity and refreshments afterward in room H203.
Teachers’ interests: Professional knowledge and identity
Where might teachers’ interests be positioned in curriculum and pedagogy? A strong historical commitment to child-centred philosophies and child development theories exists in early childhood education. These have left teachers uncertain as to the contribution teachers’ interests might make to curricular provision and children’s learning. In this presentation, I will argue that teachers might draw on, acknowledge and document their personal interests and related professional knowledge more overtly in curriculum and pedagogy, thereby creating a stronger sense of an identity as a teacher. I will use examples of teacher interests from four qualitative, interpretivist studies I led or co-led, that were partnerships between teachers and researchers. Findings highlight that teacher interests, knowledge and interactions offered rich possibilities for engagement, yet were largely undocumented. These new insights suggest that while children remain foregrounded in curricular considerations teachers can be instigators, inspirers, responders, and extenders of children’s interests, who use their professional knowledge in doing so, forging a stronger identity as a teacher who has critical input into children’s learning.
Compliance, resistance and entrepreneurship: Teacher identities in a privatised sector
The experience of being an early childhood teacher in Aotearoa includes navigating a complex, diverse and competitive landscape. Private ECEC centres are the biggest employers of qualified ECEC teachers in this country and contribute to 61% of the overall teacher-led provision of ECEC (Education Counts, 2019). The private sector is also highly diverse and underpinned by different priorities, practices and organisational structures. Teachers' experiences in the private sector have not been well attended to in the research, although there has been growing concern about work conditions and teacher wellbeing in the media and the ECEC community (Walters, 2020). This presentation draws on findings from a research project motivated by understanding how teachers' negotiate their identities amid the discourses and practices of the current ECEC landscape. The research included individual interviews with centre managers and owners and focus groups with teachers from across the sector. The findings reveal and problematise the overlapping discourses of the private sector and the constitutive role they play in teacher identities. This presentation highlights the impact of neoliberal discourses, including increasing managerialism, competition and consumer choice on teacher identities, work, and wellbeing and explores the ways in which teachers resist these influences to negotiate identities aligned to philosophies and personal ethics. The findings raise concerns about the inwards-focused constructions of professionalism available to teachers in some ECEC settings and the diminished potential for collective and critical political engagement by teachers in a market-orientated ECEC landscape.
Event Venue & Nearby Stays
J3 Lecture Theatre. The University of Auckland, Faculty of Education, 74 Epsom Ave, Auckland, New Zealand