Whilst exploring early childhood education community on a national level, I knew almost immediately that I would be interested in the ones that can influence my current goals and my future goal of establishing a program. I started by exploring my immediate environment and I found the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS). This is the apex association of private school owners in Nigeria with the aim of promoting the welfare and interaction of proprietors of private schools and the advancement of quality educational services in Nigeria. Their mission is to be the incubator of knowledge and orientation required to provide and create the change needed for national development and transformation. I chose this community because as a member, I will have access to the proprietors’ portal, where I can directly communicate with other proprietors. I believe this will help me in my bid to create awareness on the need to implement appropriate curriculum in the early childhood programs. Also, my program will be added to the online directory system, giving it good exposure. They do not currently have a job opportunity but I can actively participate by becoming a member of the community (National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, 2016).
The other organizations that I chose are the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) and National Child Care Association (NCCA). NIEER conducts and communicates research to support high-quality, effective early childhood education for all young children. They work with state and national policy makers and other organizations to collect, archive and disseminate information on the status of early education access and quality, exemplary practices and policies, and public opinion. I envisage that I will be able to get a lot of research documents with regards to the challenge I intend to tackle in my community. The current job opportunity available is for the role of an Assistant Research Professor and only applicants with a doctorate in education, psychology, human development, or another field of relevance to early childhood policy and practice, amongst other requirements are eligible to apply. I would have loved to apply for this role because it would avail me the opportunity to access a lot of research documents and other information (National Institute for Early Education Research, 2016).
I particularly like the NCCA because their aim is to promote the growth and safeguard the interest of quality early childhood care and education focusing on licensed, private providers of these services. As a prospective private provider, I know that there is an organization that is out there that has my interest at heart. I also liked what they are currently doing with regards to advocating for equal participation with regard to funding for all providers of Early Care and Education Birth through 5 irrespective of whether it is private owned or a public program. If this is achieved, it will go a long way in alleviating the cost incurred by private owners and will also lessen the fee burden imposed on parents and families. There are no job opportunities but you can become a member either as an individual or by being a member of a State affiliated member (National Child Care Association, 2016).
Searching for early childhood organizations, agencies, and communities of practice in my locality was not such an easy task. However, I was able to find the Nigeria Chapter of the Association of Childhood Education International (ACEI). ACEI is a global community of educators and advocates who unite knowledge, experience, and perspectives in order to exchange information, explore innovation and advocate for children. Their mission is to promote innovative solutions to education challenges and inspire action that creates positive, sustainable futures for children worldwide. They are interested in sharing new approaches to the education of children and ensuring that these approaches are delivered in ways that enhance children’s individual skills and abilities and provide opportunities for success in life. One of their objectives is to provide access to cutting-edge research and information that enlightens perspectives and viewpoints on education practices.
They offer internships during summer period and interns are given the opportunity to gain work experience consisting primarily of online research and data gathering that will contribute to the development of briefing papers and other types of resources. To qualify, you must be enrolled in a graduate degree program that focuses on global education issues with a particular interest in children’s education. I chose ACEI as I am interested in ensuring that necessary actions are taken for positive and sustainable futures for children.
I also decided to look up ECE organizations/agencies where I would like to live in future (Canada). Association of Early childhood Educators in Ontario (AECEO) was the first one I came across. The AECEO is the professional association for ECEs with a mission to build and support a strong collective voice for early childhood educators (ECEs) so they can participate in and influence positive change that benefits ECEs, children, families and communities. Their objectives, amongst others are to build the capacity and leadership of ECEs to advocate for their profession and the children and families they care for and also to participate in advocacy and advisory in order to promote the quality of programs through increased recognition and compensation for ECEs. The minimum requirement for an individual to be a viable contributor is to possess credentials recognized for registration with the College of Early Childhood Educators (CECE).
The third community of practice is the Association of Early childhood Educators in Newfoundland & Labrador (AECENL). AECENL, a not-for-profit professional organization for those with qualifications in early childhood education or working in child care or related fields. They represent the issues of their members to boards and committees as well as with government. They also bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table as the issues are discussed. In order to apply for membership, you must be Child Care Services Certified and for certification renewal, it is mandatory to undergo 30 hours of professional development.
It seems like just the other day when we commenced this program, we introduced ourselves and I wondered how this whole course was going to play out. To think that 14 months and 7 courses have passed, it’s amazing to comprehend. I have come to know you all and have enjoyed all your inputs and experiences you shared. I have gained a lot from all your personal and professional contributions.
Therefore, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you and wish you all happy adventures, amazing experiences and the journey of a lifetime. I also hope to meet some of you if not all shortly as we specialize but if we don’t, I pray that you all have opportunities to impact positively in the lives of all the children that you come in contact with.
Lastly, I would like to say a big thank you to all our instructors; who willingly shared their knowledge and guided us through it all. You have impacted my life profoundly and I wish you all the best in the life.
My contact email address is email@example.com if you desire to get in touch with me. I will always watch out for you on your blogs.
Thank you all!!!
I have been involved in so many teams; high- performing ones and not so high-performing ones but I have come to realize that the high-performing teams are the hardest for me to leave. Most times high-performing teams usually have the clearest established standards stipulated at the beginning of the project. These standards are clearly outlined, goals stipulated and expectations are well- spelled out right from the onset. The members are very clear on the reason for the team and what they stand to benefit from the vision, so little effort is required for optimal performance of the team. Relationships are easily developed in these teams and members derive a lot of pleasure in their achievements. Maturity is evident amongst members. These teams usually do not want to adjourn.
The most exciting closing ritual that I have experienced happened in a team that I worked in about 7 years ago. It was a high-performing team. We achieved all the objectives set for the team. By the end of the project, we had developed strong relationships amongst ourselves and we did not see the end of the team as an end to our relationships.
We have a closure party and exchanged gifts. We didn’t have to exchange addresses because we had already paid visits with one another severally. As a matter of fact, one of the team members got married to the sibling of another team member about a year after the team was adjourned. We all went for the wedding ceremony. We have all remained friends ever since. This ritual has stayed with me ever since and I have often introduced it to other teams that I have participated in.
Adjourning is an essential stage of teamwork as it brings about closure for the group on a positive note. Group members may feel a sense of loss and their motivation may decline when the group’s work comes to an end. It is therefore important to recognize the group members for their accomplishments and celebrate the group’s overall success. It is also at this stage that feelings of uncertainty and insecurity about the future are alleviated through appropriate plans for the transition (Swarthout, 2016). Adjourning from my Walden team, since it is unlikely for all of us to meet face to face, I would suggest that contact addresses be exchanged, a blog or social media platform for the group could be developed and maintained; where we get to share our experiences and insights.
A conflict that readily comes to my mind was the one that happened between me and my long-time friend, Tolu. She recently missed my son’s birthday party. She knew about the party but still did not come or send her children down. I was really counting on her for support on that day and she disappointed me. I was really hurt and angry. I also noticed that she had been pulling away for some time. At first, I thought stress from work and her family (her husband had been away from home for some time, his work requires some travelling). I went over to her house the next day to give her a piece of my mind. I felt she didn’t value our friendship anymore and I wanted to hear from her rather than guess it.
On getting to her house, I confronted her and really told her off. She also accused me of being insensitive to her feelings; that if I really claimed to be her friend, I would have noticed that there was something amiss with her. We talked back and forth for a while and it didn’t seem like we were closer to resolving the issue. It was much later that I realized that she was having issues with her husband; he was having an affair and asking for a divorce.
If I had known earlier about all that we learnt this week, I would have reacted in a different manner. I would have inquired what the issue was from her instead of judging and criticizing her. I would also have listened actively without interrupting and talking loud. I would have calmly listened for her feelings. I would have compromised by having a smaller party for my son instead of the funfare we had and spent more time with her. Furthermore, I would have strategized with her on the way forward; how to get a lawyer, get informed about her rights and how to move on with her life.
The conflict would have occurred if I had tried all the above strategies.
Communication is a two way process so improving communication involves both how we send and receive messages. Effective communication skills are fundamental to success in many aspects of life and in order to become effective communicators, we must learn how we can improve our communication skills. The report from my self –assessment and those of the other two people (My husband and colleague) had a lot of similarities showing that my self-concept (my awareness and understanding of I am) strongly influences my thoughts, actions, abilities, values, goals, and ideals (O’Hair, Wiemann, Mullin, & Teven, 2015. p. 47). However, there was a noticeable difference in the Verbal Aggressiveness Scale report. My report and my colleague’s placed me on the Moderate level; which means that I maintain a good balance between respect and consideration for others’ viewpoints, and the ability to argue fairly by attacking the facts of a position rather than the person holding that position but my husband’s report placed me on low. This means that that I am respectful of others’ viewpoints and intelligence but I attempt to change their minds with gentle, inoffensive suggestions that do not attack their self-concept.
A major insight for me is that communication depends on the context and the kind of relationship that exists between you and the other person. I could afford to want to change my husband view point if I strongly believe in mine because he is my husband and I am freer with him than with anyone else. Another insight is my behaviors and attitudes are a reflection of what goes on inside of me. My thoughts, beliefs and experiences determine how I behave. If the reports from my husband and colleague had been completely different from mine, then I would really need to work first on my schemas by seeking for superior information about my beliefs and world view, and then gradually affect my behaviors. The assessments were quite revealing.
O’Hair, D., Wiemann, M., Mullin, D. I., & Teven, J. (2015). Real communication (3rd. ed). New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s
An elderly couple lives next door to my house and I had to talk with my dad severally on how to communicate and relate with this couple. The way I communicate is totally different from the way this couple communicates. I talk pretty fast expecting my listeners to move with the speed, I also use analogies that I come up with right there and then, and I go straight to the point. However, with this couple, the opposite is the case. They take their time; share the past and personal experiences, quite slow with their speech with a lot of pausing in between their sentences. I make a lot of gestures, facial expressions and my voice pitch is ok but this couple would rather sit down to talk, little body movements, lots of eye contact, and definitely low voice pitch (this may be as a result of old age). One needs a lot of patience to discuss with them. They complain that I am always in a hurry and wonder why ‘young people’ are always in a hurry.
Over time, I have learnt that I cannot communicate with these people the same way I communicate with young people. I try to make out time specifically for them, I don’t go over to see them if I intend to go out or have things to do in my house.
However, from what I have learnt this week, I could make my communication with this couple more effective by trying to articulate my words and speak clearly and make eye contact. I could also consciously try to adjust the volume of my voice to be more appropriate and I definitely will take it slow, be patient, smile, and try to remember to pause between sentences and questions as well as use short, simple words and sentences.