Karen Appleby (IoE)
The aim of the research was to develop a conceptual framework to support reflective practice as a way of being. It builds on professional inquiry and research with students (Appleby 2010, Hanson 2012,) which informed the development of the curriculum content within Early Childhood programmes at the University of Worcester. Evaluation of student engagement with the curriculum, related professional discussion and other theoretical positions from literature supported further publications on the nature of reflective practice (Appleby 2010, Appleby & Andrews 2012, Hanson 2011). The research is based on principles of social constructivist and transformational theory. It draws on existing theory of critical thinking, professional learning and reflective practice. Within the context of action research as defined by Mc Niff & Whitehead (2011) a range of qualitative research methods was used to collect and analyse data from student evaluation of modules, professional conversations and literature. The main finding was the development of a conceptual framework described as ‘reflective activism’ within which the role and identity of early years practitioners as reflective activists is most significant. The outcome has been published (Hanson & Appleby 2015) and used to inform further curriculum development. Positive evaluations have been received from student practitioners and peer review.