Early Childhood Ireland is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, 8 June 2022 and Professor Kate Wall, from the School of Education at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, is our keynote speaker. The title of the webinar is ‘No researchers in white coats: Developing professional learning through educator enquiry in early years settings.’ Professor Wall’s presentation will focus on practitioner enquiry communities in early childhood settings and how to ensure that practitioner enquiry is both pragmatic and playful. Professor Wall will use relevant theory and research evidence to explore the fundamentals of practitioner enquiry and engaging young children in this process.
Professor Wall’s work focuses on the development of innovative pedagogies and research methodologies to enable discussion about learning. Her background is in primary school teaching, and this has influenced the direction of her current teaching, research, and publications. A key component of her work is enquiry-based partnership, both with educators and children at all stages. She has worked extensively in collaboration with teachers and is a very keen advocate of supporting practitioner enquiry for professional learning. She is particularly interested in the development and exploration of dedicated spaces that enable those undertaking learning a safe avenue to discuss their experiences of learning. You can hear Professor Wall speak on the Changing Conversations podcast about the value of practitioner enquiry and how it can be a bridge between theory and practice here.
Professor Wall’s use of the practitioner enquiry approach has led to a growing interest in looking at how tools that have pedagogic and methodological origins can be put into practice to support theorised practice. She is particularly interested in methods that can be used to effectively hear the voice of the learner and comprehend their experiences of learning. Recently, she has focused on how visual approaches can enable the child’s voice to be heard in a way that other approaches may not facilitate to the extent of the visual approach. Professor Wall adopted the use of visual approaches in her work to facilitate children’s voices in research and ensure meaningful participation. She is keen to generate further knowledge in relation to ethical practice and ensuring participants’ voices are heard, particularly the voices of young children and thinks that in order for this to be realised, creative methods and practices are necessary. Professor Wall has produced a multitude of publications on the areas of practitioner enquiry and engaging young children with research. These publications are grounded in research, are evidence-informed and therefore are essential reading for any early years practitioner who is interested in pursuing practitioner enquiry. Professor Wall was previously engaged in a collaborative project between the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde which focused on ‘Engaging young children in the research process’. An account of this research project is available here.
This webinar provides early years’ service providers and educators with evidence-informed perspectives and guidance to develop practitioner enquiry within their service; education providers and researchers with access to current thinking on effective practitioner enquiry practice; and policymakers and early years quality development agencies with research evidence on the features of quality practitioner enquiry in ECEC to inform policy and CPD. If you are available to attend the webinar, I would encourage you to join us for what promises to be a very interesting and stimulating event.