United We Stand: seeking cohesive action in early childhood education and care
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Early childhood education and care (ECEC) is a complex field comprised of practitioners who possess disparate qualifications and understandings. While this diversity provides richness in terms of practice possibilities, it can also be challenging in terms of the divisions produced by different disciplinary and philosophical approaches. This is particularly evident in relation to how different practitioners advocate for who holds the truth within their grasp, in relation to best practice within this field. Such advocacy can ultimately divide practitioners in ways that are particularly problematic when political activism is necessary. This article examines the implications of the workforce divisions within ECEC in Queensland, Australia and the impact of such divisions on how practitioners advocate in particular contexts. The authors argue that differences that exist in disciplinary approaches have tended to highlight concomitant differences in understanding about what are regarded as being exemplary practices and in the quest for 'best practice'. This means that in times when political activism or advocacy is required, ECEC practitioners are divided rather than united as to what high-quality/exemplary practices might actually look like. Such division has constrained rather than enabled practitioners in terms of how they support each other in the practice and political arenas in Queensland and in Australia as a whole. It is suggested that it might be better to gain advantage from a more united approach. The authors use the work of Pierre Bourdieu, who situates social and systemic practices as 'games' of practice; and that of Michel Foucault, who conceptualises such notions as 'games of truth and error'.
Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood
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