THE EDUCATIONAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY AS A CRITICAL REFLECTION TOOL TOWARDS PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF PRE-SERVICE EARLY YEARS PRACTITIONERS

Athina Charissi

Abstract


An overview of the research area reveals the importance of using biographical methods at a higher education level. However, in Greece, there is a lack of systematic research on such applications. This paper presents a study based on the biographical approach and specifically on the method of educational autobiography (EAB). More specifically, it presents an implementation of educational autobiography in the context of the academic education of students from a Department of Early Years Learning and Care. The purpose was to investigate the use of the specific method (EAB) as an innovative academic tool towards personal growth and professional development of the students in terms of promoting critical reflection and transformative processes about themselves and their role as Early Years Practitioners. The sample of participants consisted of 87 4th-year students attending an experiential laboratory course at an Academic Department of Early Years Learning and Care in Greece. The study followed a mixed method approach. The closed-ended questions were analyzed quantitatively while the Educational Autobiography texts were analyzed thematically. The findings showed that all students engaged in reflection on past experiences. Most of them found EAB an interesting, self-enrichment process, leading to a better appreciation of experiences in shaping themselves and their role/practice as Early Years Practitioners.

 

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educational autobiography, pre-service early years practitioners, critical reflection, personal growth, professional development

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