Educator perceptions of early learning environments as places and spaces for privileging social justice in rural areas

Christopher, Vicki ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8402-3714 and Turner, Michelle and Green, Nicole (2019) Educator perceptions of early learning environments as places and spaces for privileging social justice in rural areas. In: Education for a socially just world: Australian Association for Research in Education Conference 2019 (AARE 2019), 1-5 Dec 2019, Brisbane, Australia.

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Abstract

The changing Australian context demands considerations of the critical influence of social justice within early childhood education. With multiple meanings attached to the term, varied understandings of what social justice is as a concept – and as a practice – exist. Early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Australia has long been associated with the concept of social justice, with historic foundations of ECEC existing within moral and philanthropic dimensions. While for many EC educators, notions of social justice remain central to their practice, a clear understanding of what this looks like is not clear.

The transformative influence of early childhood education is well established in the early childhood field – and beyond. These clear links between ECEC and its long-term outcomes, place a significant role in nurturing children’s development of positive identity and a sense of belonging. It is within the early years that children develop dispositions, which help determine their views of self and of others. By cultivating learning environments that promote social justice, early childhood educators are in a privileged position of empowering children to be informed; to promote social justice; and to advocate dignity for all.

Gaining a sophisticated understanding of early childhood educators’ perceptions of social justice, and their role in providing education for a socially just world, is necessary. A preliminary search of the literature for this pilot study reveals that empirical research in this area is scant. The research is important in bringing pedagogical conversations to the forefront regarding EC educator’s perceptions of their role in creating a socially just learning environment – and therefore educating for a socially just world. The study employed an interpretive qualitative method for data collection, analysis and interpretation of early childhood educators’ perspectives and reflections. Data collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews uncovered the perceptions of five early childhood educators working in rural settings in South West Queensland identified as experiencing significant growth in population diversity. The researchers carried out multiple layers of thematic analysis and interpretation of the interview transcripts to create rich narratives.

Findings of the research will be outlined in the presentation, as well as an evaluation of the pilot study design in determining the feasibility for a full-scale research project to further investigate how early childhood educators working in rural settings, perceive early learning environments as places and spaces for social justice.


Statistics for USQ ePrint 42995
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Speech)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 05:52
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:41
Uncontrolled Keywords: early childhood education and care (ECEC), early childhood educators, social justice, socially just learning environments, Australia
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130102 Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori)
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390302 Early childhood education
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9304 School/Institution > 930402 School/Institution Community and Environment
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1601 Learner and learning > 160101 Early childhood education
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/42995

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