Professionalism from the standpoint of early childhood educators
thesisposted on 2021-05-22, 12:58 authored by Shani Halfon
In this research project, findings from qualitative interviews with four early childhood educators (ECEs) in Toronto, Ontario are presented. Using Feminist standpoint theory and methodology as a guiding theoretical framework and research paradigm, the purpose of this research was to examine professionalism from the particular standpoint of ECEs. The findings presented in this paper indicate that feminist standpoint theory and methodology offer the means for revealing what ECEs think and want as professionals, and can be used as a theoretical tool to analyze the relationship between the experienced, material realm and the conceptual, discursive realm of ECE professionalism. A thematic analysis of the collected data identified two themes. The first theme illuminates the lived realities of ECE work, and highlights how ECEs' experiences of professionalism are shaped by their material conditions. These lived realities however, are to a certain extent at odds with the meanings that the ECEs in this project ascribe to professionalism in the second theme, which appear to be shaped by dominant discourses about professionalism. The discussion of the findings focuses on the process of building new knowledge that accounts for these contradictions and aims to address the divide between the conceptual realm of professionalism with the material, experienced realm of ECEs' everyday work.