APPLYING research and theory to time spent on work placement is a requirement many students embarking on vocational degrees find difficult. Now, a new book, edited and written by members of the Early Years teaching team at the University of Huddersfield, has been published to support students through their first year of study and bridges the gap between academic and professional skills.
Entitled Work-based Practice in the Early Years - A Guide for Students, the book's editors are Mary Dyer, Senior Lecturer in Early Years, and Dr Samantha McMahon, Principal Lecturer and Complex Pathways Leader for a range of early courses, both within the University's School of Education and Professional Development.
The authors are Amanda Crow, Mary Dyer, Nicola Firth, Tina Froggett, Jo McEvoy, Samantha McMahon, Alison Ryan, Lindsey Watson and Dr Andrew Youde. Their contributions explore first-hand experiences from students, the perspectives of placement providers and the extensive knowledge of the teaching team as well as an overview of the early childhood education and care sector.
While there have been publications that have addressed the issue of applying theory to practice in the past, Mary Dyer explains how this is the first book of its kind to look at all of the first year students' learning needs.
"Rather than taking academic skills and professional skills as two separate entities the book weaves them together," she said. "We ask the reader to think about questions such as what is it they are seeing in their placement that informs their reading and how does their understanding of theory impact on what they do?"
Professor Kevin Orr, Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning, officially launched the book at an event held at the University. In attendance were members of the School of Education and Professional Development, current and past students and members of the higher and further education teaching community who said they were already recommending the book to their students.
Samantha McMahon and Mary Dyer are now to embark on editing a second book, titled Advanced Workplace Practice, which will be directed at second and third year students studying Early Years and Childhood Studies.
"The book will include more theory to underpin practice and deeper critical analysis, but will also look at what the student does next in terms of their career. Again, the book will be unique by bringing in a variety of expertise, professionalism, ethics and values together in one publication," said Dr McMahon.
* Work-based Practice in the Early Years - A Guide for Students is published by Routledge and is available to buy in a variety of formats from the Amazon website.