This post gives the abstract and link to my Institution-Focussed Study, submitted towards my doctorate in education from the Institute of Education.
This paper is about a project in a small nursery school to explore how a group of nursery nurses talked about the experiences which they thought were worthwhile for the children. With a practical focus of seeking to improve the quality of the nursery education, the project enabled the nursery nurses to have time to talk about and develop their own theories, rather than being trained in “best practice”. The participants then learnt how to use a research tool, the Target Child Observation, in order to look more closely at the children’s experiences, and on the basis of this closer looking they then came back together to talk about what they had found. The paper explores how these conditions enabled the nursery nurses to develop their ideas, and how changes resulted. A high degree of control was given to the participants: they alone were responsible for collecting and reporting on all of the data about the children.
The paper argues that the nursery nurses were able to use these opportunities for reflection and study to explore and critically re-examine their ideas and their practices. For three of the four participants, this led to observable changes in the ways that they talked about the children and their learning, The high degree of control given to the participants meant that they did not appear to feel exposed in a way that was unsettling to them, and that critical reflection did not damage relationships. It is argued that, as a result, the research was ethical in the widest sense by providing benefit to those who took part and to the children.
Read the full study [PDF]