This week we welcome Liam McNicholas to host the @Edutweetoz account. Here are his answers to our five questions.
Please tell us a little about yourself. What is your current role and what does it involve?
I am an early childhood teacher, currently working as the ACT Territory Manager for Goodstart Early Learning. I support ten early childhood education and care centres in the ACT and surrounding region, as well as managing relationships between Goodstart and the government regulatory body (and other early childhood organisations and programs). In my spare time (such as it is!) I also write a blog and do a spot of freelance writing, editing and speaking.
What do you plan to talk about on Edutweetoz this week?
Anything and everything early childhood! I have a particular interest in the policy and politics of early childhood education and care (ECEC). More generally I’m interested in post-structuralist perspectives on early learning, and the potential impact of our work as professionals on positive outcomes for childen later in life.
Who are your teaching role models and why?
I’ve worked with a number of inspirational educators during my 10+ years in the ECEC sector. I have had a professional mentor and role model for a number of years now, who I’m fortunate to still be working with. I’m particularly inspired by Reggio Emelia “rockstars” Loris Mallaguzzi and Carla Rinaldi, and academics Peter Moss and Jennifer Sumison. For broader perspectives on life and learning, I can never go past authors such as Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry.
What issues do you think are most pressing for teachers today?
For early childhood teachers, I think a lack of professional recognition for the vital work that takes place in the early years. But it is also the need to shift the view of our work to a more holistic framework – teaching in the early years needs to be contextual, respectful of culture and “multiple intelligences”. EC teachers need to be advocates for the critical importance of our work, which is difficult with time pressures, shift work, mentoring responsibilities and low pay.
What are your hopes for education in the next 10 years?
I am hopeful that the National Quality Framework for ECEC will be fully rolled out, and indeed extended. But this can only be done with a greater measure of government funding, and a fundamental change in how funding is currently delivered. I am challenged ethically by the current situation that nearly 75% of ECEC is delivered by private, for-profit operators. I would love to see a concerted advocacy effort to address these issues over the next decade!