Advocacy, Pedagogy, Professionalism, Programming

Is it really up to us to defend our practice?

For many years as an educator and director I was a firm believer in defending my practice and that of my service. When an assessor challenged our use of glass jars I defended the decision, providing positive examples and research. When a parent questioned the legalities of tree climbing I directed them to our benefit risk assessment, found articles, research and safety information to back us up. When an educator said “we’re not allowed to do that” I found regulations, made phone calls and got out the highlighter!

As a consultant I have often encouraged educators to defend what they do and while I still feel that way, a discussion with Tash (Inspired EC co-founder) this morning had me questioning whether it should always be up to educators to defend what they do. Instead, I would suggest that educators should feel empowered to question their challengers. Instead of having to prove ourselves… let’s turn the tables!

When an assessor challenges your practice and says “you can’t do that” ask to be shown where the in the National Quality Framework it says that you can​​ ​’t.

When another educator says “we’re not allowed to do that” ask them to find the regulation or law that says that.

Why should it be up to us to always defend what we do? If someone is putting an obstacle in the way of us providing opportunities for children (such as excursions) or creating an inspiring environment (by adding a trickle stream, for example) then they need to provide us with the hard facts – not just “Oh, I heard from Jane, who works at xyz service, that the assessor said it wasn’t allowed.”​

Of course there will inevitably be times when someone (assessor, colleague) actually identifies an issue that we have missed and that is great – when they come to us with hard facts, we are able to swiftly make appropriate change to ensure the best outcomes for children.

Don’t dread the visits from the regulatory authority, they are a great opportunity – just be prepared to ask the question “can you show me where that is written in the National Quality Framework?”​​

No Comments

  • Robyn Cook

    Reply

    Love the photo that heads your story Nicole and you make a fabulous point. While I worked for the Kitchen Garden Foundation I trained hundreds of teachers around the country and found their enthusiasm and creativity for educating inspiring. Some were sure they would not be allowed to use the tools required in the garden and kitchen. Our approach was to suggest that in starting the Kitchen Garden Program at their school they needed to bring all school stakeholders together to run through what changes would be happening so concerns could be raised and thoughtfully addressed. It worked and everyone felt their concerns were heard and the children were able to use proper adult equipment and utensils without incident. Cheers Robyn

    November 11, 2015 at 6:47 am
  • Geira Jen McCormack

    Reply

    This attitude is how I ended up working with Inspired FDC 🙂

    November 11, 2015 at 3:14 pm
  • Jenny

    Reply

    Exactly! They are working from the same documents that we do. A simple “Can you show me where it says that?” works wonders.

    January 6, 2016 at 7:03 pm

REPLY A MESSAGE