Early Childhood Studies – a Global Perspective

Exploring the concepts on early childhood studies through the lens of people across the globe


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A Message to My Walden Community

The past many months have been a process of transformational collaboration amongst my idea-315561_1280colleagues and instructors at Walden University. The process of acquiring knowledge about
the courses and the people I am interacting with enabled me to engage actively in discussions and exchange of blog posts. As well, my skills to communicate and attitudes towards communication in different settings with a wide range of participants that present their cultures and personalities have significantly improved allowing for mutual understanding and tolerance. Learning to respect, respond and reciprocate to individuals and groups both at Walden and my workplace have widened my knowledge about myself, and the work that I do.

I feel privileged that I was able to connect with people from different cultures. By the time I finish this course, I would have completed bits and pieces of the requirements in nine countries. I had the opportunity to interact with educators and learners in one way or another in some of these places. This experience has truly enriched me in many ways.

I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to all of you who have helped me to become a thank-you-490607_1280better individual and educator in a global world.  It is my hope that I would be able to continue working on my vision and passion to work with and for children through expanding network. Please continue to interact with me through this blog. Let’s keep talking!


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Moving on and expanding horizons

June of 2015 marked the end of my career in South Korea as I prepared to move on to my next endeavour – Bangladesh. On my last year in my previous job, I worked with a frog-897644_1280leadership team composed of three heads of divisions and three curriculum coordinators. I would say that the large part of the group has moved through Tucker’s stages of team building while there are quite a few who chose to be independent outside the team. Those who have bonded together have gone through the stage all the stages until we separated ways by the end of the school year. A few months were spent sensing on what work ethics we each had and the teaching pedagogy we individually espouse. In the end, coming up with the goals based on what the team needs to work on to deliver a cohesive program that would cater for our students from early years to high school brought us together. Although the norming stage took a while, having a clear understanding of who we are individually and as a group helped us pass through the storming stage more swiftly that we all first imagined. Respect of the work that we all do and cognizantof the efforts that we give inhammer-895665_1280 each of our divisions enabled us to work together. As we entered into the norming stage, hours of our meetings were dedicated to exhaustive discussions that also included disagreements and arguments that were resolved as we revisited the purpose of why we are working together. Having a clear vision and a commitment from the members of the team to look at the same direction allowed us to perform by making decisions and taking actions based upon those decisions. In the end, the school was re-accredited by the institution that was supposed to legitimise the credibility of the school in terms of international standards.

As we realised the completion of our goal, it was time for us to move to different places. The team learned a lot from the mistakes and tensions encountered, but having the same vision and commitment made all our efforts successful in the end. Adjourning the team was quite emotional, as we have already forged relationships in the process, but knowing that we can still come across each other in one way or another is a positive thought to keep. The experiences we all have ventured upon have sharpened our skills in creating a collaborative team. All those that we have earned and gained will again be shared in the new experiences we are about to make. Being able to keep in touch with each other gives us the opportunity to relive our working memories and assure each other that as we get into another cycle of Tucker’s stages of team development, we will know how to pass through each stage.

Parallel to this is the experience of growing with the groups in the Masters program that allowed for a lot of collaboration. Although connections were made virtually, relationships were formed from the interactions throughout the courses. Although how parenting-736386_1280each respected, responded and reciprocated efforts to reach out through discussions and blog posts vary in different degrees, they all helped us achieve the goals of every course. It makes me wonder though if the storming stage was an easier stage to pass because the channels of interaction were based on the ideas conveyed through writing and that there were no gestures and facial expressions that could have made the communication complex. As well, having colleagues who willingly divulged personal and professional experiences strengthened the trust that enabled us to achieve the goals of the course. We are about to reach the adjourning stage again in the Communication course, but it is a great thought to realize that we have all grown from the experience together and have added a new set of skills that we can share with our future teams.

Reference:

Abudi, G. (2010). The five stages of team development: A case study. Retrieved from http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/the-five-stages-of-team-development-a-case-study.html

O’Hair, D., Wiemann, M., Mullin, D. I., & Teven, J.  (2015). Real communication (3rd. ed). New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

 


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Nonviolent Communication and Conflict Management

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The timing of applying conflict resolution strategies through communication came quite handy being in a working community who come from different contexts, with a variety of educational orientation.

This week, a few disagreements arose between two colleagues who team-teach in a Grade one class. The issues encompass teaching of Literacy, Math, and an inquiry on systems. The situated escalated to one of the teachers walking out in the middle of the teaching, and both parties going to different people to seek affirmation. In the middle of these conflicts are children who become confused when teachers disagree in front of them and lose their learning time because their teachers were too preoccupied asserting their points instead of thinking of ways to teach the children effectively.

The saga of the conflicts finally reached my table where the three of us sat and talked about the situation. Before each of them was asked to share their perspectives, the expectations for the discussion were clarified. First, the person who will talk will focus on the issue of concern, and not the character of the other. Second, the person speaking must not be interrupted. Third, we will focus on how we will achieve the objective – teaching the children in ways that will be more beneficial to them and not simply to assert what each teacher wants.

During the conversation, a number of agreements were developed. To demonstrate
empathy for each other, they will listen respectfully to each other’s ideas instead empathy-985973_1280of listening to counter the point. As well, although one disagrees with what the other is option-1010899_1280.jpgdoing, they will still support each other when working with the children and sit together at the end of the day to reflect how the teaching could be better. Thus, the both have to navigate the options that would promote the interests the children. The highlight of the agreement was based on the Thirdside’s (n.d.) concept.

“The first is to prevent destructive conflict from emerging in the first place by addressing latent tensions. The second is to resolve any overt conflicts which do develop. The third is to contain any escalating power struggles that temporarily escape resolution. What is not prevented is resolved; and what is not resolved is contained. The motto of the Third Side is thus: “Contain if necessary, resolve if possible, best of all prevent.”

The disagreement may not be resolved quickly as both parties will need to have a change of heart to be open to recognise that they have different perspectives and such differences can be prevented, resolved or contained if they change their mindset by being respectful, responsive and reciprocal.

Reference:

The Third Side. (n.d.). The third side. Retrieved from http://www.thirdside.org/