The purpose of this unit is to assess the learner’s knowledge, understanding and skills required to promote the professional duty to maintain the currency of knowledge and skills and the need to continually reflect on and improve practice.
The learning outcomes below are to be covered to enable you to achieve the unit.
1. Understand principles of professional development.
2. Be able to prioritise goals and targets for own professional development.
3. Be able to prepare a professional development plan.
4. Be able to improve performance through reflective practice.
ASSIGNMENT COMPLETION INSTRUCTIONS
Complete each learning outcome with a minimum of 250 words for each assessment criteria.
Refer to the relevant workshop material in particular the Additional Reading Material. This assignment needs to be typed and when completed sent to: [email protected]
LEARNING OUTCOME 1 – UNDERSTAND PRINCIPLES OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
1.1 Explain the importance of continually improving knowledge and practice.
It is important whilst working in a childcare setting to continually improve your knowledge and practice to ensure all aspects are carried out correctly in line with up to date policies and procedures. This helps to ensure that the best practice is followed at all times. Understanding that practice can change frequently and keeping ourselves up to date is vital. Constant development of all staff would also ensure that no one is falling behind and that everyone is up to date. Sharing information around the team helps to certify all staff are kept up to date with changing practice and are following the best practice possible. ‘Froebel believed that the training of workers for early years settings was essential’ – Early years and education pg.6.
Benefits of training
The benefits of staff training are good practice and bring together professionals to develop common ways of working which will widen an employee’s potential to progress and enhance performance. Continually training or extending to having managerial skills enable the individual to apply for a new job role or a promotion, therefore leading to a career progression.
Benefits to the individual
The benefits to the individual of improving knowledge and practice are becoming confident in your skill. Effective education requires practitioners who understand that young children develop rapidly, children are entitled to provision that supports and extends knowledge, skills, understanding and confidence. The outcomes for the children are better for development and learning. Training acts as a toolkit to use in all scenarios.
Benefits to the employer
It is the employer who has overall responsibility for their staff and therefore it is in their best interests to have a well trained team. It is beneficial to the manager to be able to get work done safely, effectively and efficiently, the organisation is only as good as its overall staff. Having had further training staff will be able to pick up on extra additional needs a child may need as a result the child needs can be met successfully.
1.2 Analyse potential barriers to professional development
In order for me to progress within my professional development, i should consider any potential barriers, once these barriers have been identified i should look at these barriers as challenges to overcome and not as problems which may remain unsolved. I consider barriers as a stepping stone to improve my skills and knowledge.
Here is a list of some barriers which may prevent further professional development
Having inadequate staffing levels
Fear and lack of confidence in learning
Lack of time due to high work loads
Lack of resources and skills
Lack of effective evaluation of learning
Everyone has different learning styles, some people find it difficult sitting in a class and taking notes from a teacher, other people learn better from practical, I myself learn better being more hands on. Language barriers could play a big part in a staff member understanding what they are hearing or reading. A manager should encourage this member of staff to get extra help from themselves or an early year’s advisor.
Individuals’ personal beliefs and attitudes impact significantly on the way they behave, overcoming these barriers is essential and here are a few ideas of how things can be resolved. Talking to the key individual, this gives an insight into particular problems or situations.
Ideas can be explored
Information can be obtained
Gets any problems fixed quickly
It relies heavily on the key individual
The responses may be biased
It may be difficult to find the right person to talk to
Observation is an effective way of assessing people’s behaviour in their working environment, this gives detail and analysis of current behaviours. A disadvantage of this is that some people’s behaviour alters if they know they are being observed.
A good questionnaire can help give me a clear picture of current practice, I can then get a rapid collection of large amounts of data from lots of people it also highlights any need for change through communication from result. Some disadvantages from this is that time is needed to develop good questions and I cannot ask follow up questions.
Professional development is vital to improve the workplace and it is essential for good people management. Continuing professional development is an ongoing, planned, learning and development process which enables all workers to expand and fulfil their potential.
1.3 Compare the use of different sources and systems of support for professional development.
Support for my learning and development is very important and can be provided by other people in my workplace and also by outside agencies.
Sources of support
Training provided in house
Training by outside agencies
Discussions with staff team
Internet and E-learning
Training – planned activities which enable a trainee to do something they haven’t done before. Learning – absorbing new information to apply in practice. Training is the input of information from outside, learning is the internal process of absorbing and understanding that information so it can be put into practice.
Another source of support is using my manager as a role model and having staff meetings for advice. Supervisors can support my professional development by using supervisory meetings as an opportunity to scaffold and support any new knowledge. One way of doing this is to analyse my own work and its implementations. Reflection is important because it empowers people to assess their own performance. Awareness of my own strengths as well as my limits and vulnerabilities allows me to make mid-course corrections in work performance that feels natural and unforced.
1.4 Explain factors to consider when selecting opportunities and activities for keeping knowledge and practice up to date.
LEARNING OUTCOME 2 – BE ABLE TO PRIORITISE GOALS AND TARGETS FOR OWN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
2.1 Evaluate own knowledge and performance against standards and benchmarks.
My role as team leader is to work as part of the management team, to provide professional leadership and management to the nursery staff to ensure all children receive the highest standards of care and education. I need to have positive working relationships with staff, parents and carers and make sure that my entire team feel supported in their job roles. My key responsibilities:
Provide professional and relevant feedback to parents/carers about their child. Ensure records of development and learning are accurately maintained by the appropriate staff. Make sure appropriate planning is in place to maintain the required standards. Provide leadership and support staff to enable them to establish and uphold positive working relationships. Guarantee that practice and provision in the nursery meets the requirements of the early years foundation stage. Ensure all children are kept safe and that staff understand and, when necessary, follow safeguarding procedures. Support the development of good practice with regards to special needs and inclusion. Develop and maintain highly professional working relationships with relevant local authority departments, regulatory bodies and other agencies.
Health and safety:
Undertake a shared responsibility for health, safety and cleanliness throughout the nursery. Be fully aware of all emergency and security procedures.
Support the manager and staff during inspections by regulatory bodies and assist in the implementation of any recommendations. Promote the nursery to current parents and potential customers.
Support and supervise nursery staff with their day to day duties. Support and mentor staff and students.
Be responsible for taking part in all self-development activities such as appraisals. Identify any training needs.
Develop positive relationships with staff.
Adhere to all company policies and procedures.
Ensure that the company’s policies on diversity and equal opportunities are adhered to.
The tasks I have stated above require a different combination of skills, knowledge and personal attributes for my work to be effective. I need to hold strong written and spoken communication skills, have good time management and organisational skills to meet deadlines and targets and to have leadership skills to be able to support, develop and motivate my team. I need to hold and NVQ level 3 or above with at least 2 years experience in an early years setting, have a working understanding of the early years foundation stage and have current first aid qualifications to carry out my job role.
I also need to have previous leadership skill, experience of meeting OFSTED requirements, practice as a room leader or manager and knowledge of OFSTED and EYFS. Some personal attributes that I feel I hold which allow me to achieve in my job role are being caring, mature and having a patient nature. I also need to be consistent and fair and have a sense of responsibility.
2.2 Prioritise development goals and targets to meet expected standards.
To become more effective in my job role I need to have a plan. Having a visible plan helps me as a team leader see a quick overview of daily tasks and allows me to check that everyone understands their own work objectives. It also helps to agree timescales and goals and helps with performance and managing.
Planning skills are vital to my efficiency and success in my job. I have to be able to set and achieve targets, prioritise these and help others do the same. The main purpose of negotiating realistic targets for work is to ensure that work gets done in a reasonable time and allows for overall better management, focusing on the outcome. Setting targets is part of planning so the more accurately I keep to a plan usually the more likely I am to succeed.
Personal development is a long process. It helps me to assess my skills and qualities, consider my aims in life and set goals in order to realise and maximise my own potential. Practical steps need to be taken to enhance my personal development including:
Organising my time
Overcoming barriers to learning a new skill
Undertaking a skills appraisal
Being able to manage my time effectively will allow me to plan specific periods where I can devote myself to studying and preparing for future assignments. Time management has always been one of my personal areas to improve and now I feel that i need to prioritise study time as this could be a potential pitfall for me. My end goal is to be able to complete my NVQ level 5 and in order to do this I need to plan where to study and still set aside time to spend with my family and work life. Some ways in which I can begin to organise my time could be to delegate at home and at work and to collect appropriate reading materials to help me, I can use all these skills to implement at work what I have learnt from studying.
LEARNING OUTCOME 3 – BE ABLE TO PREPARE A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN.
3.1 Select learning opportunities to meet development objectives and reflect personal learning style.(please state the method you used to identify your learning style and describe your findings) State and explain the learning opportunities.
Having a personal development plan helps me to take responsibility for my own personal development; this will motivate me to develop my own skills and to be aware of strengths, weaknesses and what training might be required to fulfil my future plans. Here are a few main steps to begin this process:
Consider my own skills, strengths and weaknesses. Before i can work out which areas I need to develop, I need to analyse the skills I already hold. Decide which areas I need to develop. Looking at my current job I need to decide whether I intend on staying in my job role. Create the plan. I would think about how I can achieve objectives and do I need more training? Discuss plan with others. My manager or even my colleagues could give support and offer suggestions to help gain experience. Implement my plan
Review my plan
After looking at all these steps I can now begin building my own professional development plan. After previously stating in an earlier section everyone’s learning styles are different, I see myself as a pragmatist meaning I am keen to test things out in practice and like to experiment with new ideas.
3.2 Produce a plan for own professional development, using an appropriate source of support.(Use format shown in additional reading activities)
It is often a good idea to keep a record of personal development plans. By writing down key developments in learning and development as and when they occur, I am able to reflect on my success at a later date. This reflection may well help to motivate me to learn more skills in the future. Targets identified
Timescale for completion
To complete NVQ level 5
Help from colleagues and friends
Time log and diary
Appropriate reading materials
Be assertive and take control of situations
Prioritise my time, make a plan for work, home and studying
Plan when to study
To be a confident team leader who can delegate
To have a healthy a
Balance for work and home.
To pass each assignment and maintain standards at work
I will use the results of my PDP evaluation as part of the continuous improvement process to develop the following years’ PDP, and to revise professional learning goals based on my performance results and practice.
3.3 Establish a process to evaluate the effectiveness of your professional development plan.
In order to establish the effectiveness of my PDP, I will need to measure my achievements against the targets and goals I have set. As well as being SMART, in order that the goals are achievable, I must use a method of evaluating it’s effectiveness. In this case, a formative method would be appropriate as I will need to evaluate my outcomes on a regular basis. Summative methods would not be appropriate as it would only take into account measures of actual achievements, and would not account for all the different factors involved in the process. A formative evaluation would enable evaluation of all these factors in order to have a working document that can be adapted on a regular basis, in order that it stays relevant and SMART. My targets are time management, developing my leadership skills, delegating and completing NVQ. I need to break down some of these further in order to make it easier rather than just trying to measure that my leadership skills have improved.
For example, delegation is a leadership skill but will also help with my time management. How I go about delegating will show how my leadership skills are developing. Therefore ‘improving my leadership skills’ is the end goal and the targets I need to meet to help me achieve this are ‘to improve my time management’, ‘complete my NVQ’, ‘delegate tasks’ and to be able to take steps to achieve this. I might also break these down further so that ‘to improve my time management’ would be ‘to complete assignments and submit them on time’. However, to achieve this I need to set aside time to study, which will show that I can manage my time, so I would need to include this within the plan, as well as how I have achieved this. I will also include times when I have been unable to achieve things such as ‘setting aside study time’ and evaluate this.
This will demonstrate my leadership skills are improving. When evaluating the effectiveness of my PDP, I must reflect on what has been useful and what has hindered the targets I have set myself. This must also take into account the opinions or feedback from colleagues and peers. As I have chosen a formative style of PDP, regular evaluation and reflectiveness is an integral part of the formative PDP, and something that I must evaluate and re-evaulate on a regular basis, so that I am more aware of my strengths and weaknesses. When I evaluate my plan, my reflections on the effectiveness of the plan will help me to adapt my behaviour and the plan if necessary.
LEARNING OUTCOME 4 – BE ABLE TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE THROUGH REFLECTIVE PRACTICE.
4.1 Compare models of reflective practice.
There are many different models of reflection; the most simple model could be Boud’s triangular representation. Experience
This model has restrictions; it doesn’t lead us as to what reflection might consist of or how learning might transform into experience. Alternatively, other theorists have broken down the cycle into further stages; an example of this is Gibbs reflective cycle. Gibbs model acknowledges that personal feelings influence the situation and how I could begin to reflect on it
Edgar Schon describes reflection in two ways, reflection in and reflection on action. The differences in these types of reflection are reflecting whilst the situation unfolds (during the activity) and reflecting retrospectively on an event (looking back and changing what didn’t work). Greenwood states that reflection before action is an important preparatory element to reflective learning as it allows the practitioner to formulate plans ahead of situations arising.
Reflecting on action is perhaps the most common form of reflection; it involves me carefully re-running in my mind events that have occurred in the past. The aim is to value strengths and to develop different, more effective ways of acting in the future. Reflection in action is the feature of the experienced professional, it means examining my own behaviour and that of others while in a situation (Schon 1995) The following skills are involved:
Being a participant observer in situations that offer learning opportunities; Attending to what I see and feel in my current situation, focusing on responses and making connections with previous experiences.
Reflection on action is a more appropriate type of reflection especially when developing a personal development plan as I can record, look back, analyse, and improve after each target has been reached.
4.2 Explain the importance of reflective practice to improve performance.
Reflection is one way of helping to link a theory and integrate learning. Through reflection i can:
Focus thoughts on experience
Gain greater understanding of my practice
Become more aware of knowledge and skills which I have developed
Identify strengths and areas for development
Develop an action plan for future development.
‘Reflecting on performance and acting on reflection’ McKay notes ‘is a professional imperative’ – 2008 forthcoming
Through reflection i can examine my own thoughts and feelings about the experience and identify the interventions that best meet the specific child’s goals for growth and development Being a reflective practitioner helps to increase my skills, understanding and learning. It results in being a more effective practitioner. Effective practitioners are those who understand themselves, their knowledge, their feelings and the framework within which they understand children. Being a reflective professional requires that I continually review and develop my own practice.
4.3 Use reflective practice and feedback from others to improve performance. (please write a personal and witness account of this in practice with explanation and examples)
One personal example of using reflective practice to improve my performance came to me only recently. Up until a few weeks ago I was job sharing my team leader role with another member of my team. I found it very difficult to voice my opinions and always felt as if delegating wasn’t working. All shared responsibility on her side was more often left incomplete and as you can see I was feeling very annoyed and upset about this due to the feeling I was letting the remainder of my team down. After continually liaising with my manager about this I began to feel more confident in speaking out as I feel very passionate about my job I didn’t want to fall even more behind with planning and jobs to improve my team.
I have now taken on full responsibility of my unit and have had very positive feedback from my manager on how the unit and team have improved significantly. Every day I am developing more self confidence and courage and am learning to be more assertive as a team leader. Having positive feedback from my manager and colleagues has given me a huge confidence boost, knowing that I am capable of leading my team which enables me to continually improve the quality of my work.
4.4 Evaluate how practice has been improved through:
Reflection on best practice
Reflection on failures and mistakes.
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