Higher Education Academy funded employability project comes to fr

Jim Reid - Lecturer, Childhood Studies

Mon, 28 Oct 2013 10:58:00 GMT

For the past year James Reid and the tutors, students and partners of the BA(Hons) Childhood Studies have been undertaking research into different approaches to placement. The project was completed and a report submitted to the HEA.

The findings will also be used to develop how placements are undertaken on the Childhood studies programme. Consequently, the teaching and learning approach used by tutors will reflect a need for flexibility and the necessity of problematising employability and the notion of standards and benchmarks. Students will be encouraged to work across traditional professional boundaries to explore together and critique the influences that shape and determine practice.

Overall, the findings suggest that peer support is helpful in enabling students to work beyond a notion of employability that is focussed on skills and knowledge, or that relegates learning as secondary to externally imposed standards, or when learning is inhibited by the constraints faced by individual mentors.

A significant aim for tutors is to enable students undertaking placement to foregrounding the dignity of the children or young people with whom they work. It is necessary for students to see both their own needs and the needs of children and young people and recognise the constraints of a credentialist approach to employability.

The key questions therefore for tutors and students are what the needs of the child or young person and what sort of graduate professional do they want to be? In seeking an answer, students are given the opportunity to define and evaluate the assumptions and reasoning on which decisions and structures are based, including those that inform their own educational experience, as criticality is indicative of a professional concern for inclusive practice and reflects the circumstances in which clients feel genuine partnership and empowerment (Millar and Corby 2006).


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