Part A: Interview
Interview with an interdisciplinary pre-school teacher
I have undertaken an interview with a professional who works in an interdisciplinary context in a pre-school setting. Her name is Jane Smith. I opted to interview her because she is has a vast experience in the interdisciplinary context since she has been teaching in the pre-school for the last nine years. I believe that she is has a lot of experience and knowledge in working in an interdisciplinary collaboration environment and she is an inspiration to me as what a good and dedicated teacher should be. I am very inspired by her extensive knowledge that she has from other professions rather than that acquired from her profession. Below are the interview questions along with her response:
1. What are your main duties as an interdisciplinary pre-school teacher?
My main roles are to teach create pre-school curriculum as well as lesson plan especially for my class and implement both based on the school and state policies. It is my duty to impart knowledge from various disciplines to young students based on their exclusive learning speeds, also by making sure that they stay safe when in school and ensuring that behavior models are sustained. Moreover, I am responsible for the creation and maintenance of the class environment conducive for learning and development of young students.
2. Could you please give a brief description of what you do as your day starts between 8.30 am and 9.00 am?
Between 8:30 to 9:00, I normally prepare my schedule for the day. Since I handle interdisciplinary teaching, I usually take to plan and prepare my teaching plan and resources that I will need in teaching. Teaching in an interdisciplinary collaboration context with other professionals is complex and needs proper preparation and a strategic plan in order to avoid confusion. This is the best time for me to recollect myself and assemble or resources I will need at the course of the day. This helps in saving time.
3. What opportunities do you think you have that can enhance growth and development of skills as well as knowledge as a pre-school teacher?
One of the opportunities that enhance the growth and development of my skills is that the school has a library that I often go there to read and research more on how to be an effective collaboration with other interdisciplinary professionals. Another opportunity is that we normally have teachers meeting, whereby we share our challenges and suggestions to each other ideas that help in developing our interdisciplinary teaching skills.
4. Do you observe your code of ethics?
Yes. As a professional pre-school teacher, I have to observe the available code of ethics. This code of ethics is very important in making one’s teaching to be effective. Most importantly, professionally I am obliged to observe the code of ethics. I find it is very essential and my daily guide when in duty.
5. In what manner is your code of ethics guiding your engagement in professional dialogue?
You know the code of ethics stipulates our expected code of conduct in our professional life. Therefore, the code of ethics guides me in the way I engage in professional dialogue by considering the dos and don’ts stipulated in the code of ethics about how to interact and communicate professionally. The code of ethics gives a guideline on the manner to communicate in an official and professional manner.
6. Have you experienced any challenges recently related to interdisciplinary collaboration? If yes, what happened? How did you manage to address the challenges?
Yes, I experience a challenge in interdisciplinary collaboration with parents.
Especially with regards to the agreement on the appropriate means of punishing children. Due to the differing opinions among parents and also those of teachers, it can be quite difficult to determine the most desirable way of pushing misbehaving children. This is because teachers may opt to punish children using corporate disciplinary method while some parent might want their children to be talked to instead. Therefore, these differing interests and opinion tend to pose a bigger challenge in school. To address the challenge we discussed with the parents in a meeting about what to do about punishing children. However, we eventually came to an agreement that corporate punishment was the most effective method of punishment.
Part B: Report
Interdisciplinary is very critical in early education in order to ensure their development and wellbeing. Pre-school teachers alone cannot manage to promote young students’ learning and development. There are other professionals who can collaborate with teachers in order to facilitate children’s learning and development. Essentially, interdisciplinary collaboration is paramount in facilitating social capital, knowledge, attitudes, and skills that are important in learning in early year context (Walton, 2014). Other external agencies such as therapists, government agencies and also parents collaborative work with teachers to enhance children’s learning and in turn, also influence the teachers’ professional practice (Wiles et al., 2016). All these were evident from the information obtained from the interview conducted with Jane Smith, a pre-school teacher. Under the code of ethics, it is essential to appreciate the childhood stage to be a unique as well as a valuable stage of human life cycle and close attention needs to be given to children (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2011).Drawing from the information obtained from the interview of this pre-school professional, this paper reports the shift in the professional, code of ethics compliance, ethical understanding as well as an educational practice which arose due to the interdisciplinary collaboration. Moreover, the paper also reports on the opportunities and challenges related to interdisciplinary collaboration as well as strategies for working with parents or caregivers.
The shift in professional practice
Play is very essential to children’s development in their early childhood. Therefore, play time is included in the pre-school curriculum. However, in Jane’s pre-school, the administrative found it important to encourage the integration of interdisciplinary personnel in the school curriculum such as seeking consultation from therapists on the important play activities for young children that they can offer them and also the appropriate time that children should play. The code of ethics stipulates that respect should be observed for children, parents and every professional involved (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2011). They need to be respected and observe what they say or suggest. The therapists were invited to the school and their regular visits to the pre-school were accepted and encouraged. They would undertake an assessment of children’s play facility in the school and also evaluate the play time period that the children are given. Additionally, using their professional expertise, they would give appropriate games and playing tools that suit every child (Wiles et al., 2016). Moreover, the therapists enabled professional pre-school teachers to understand better the developmental theories of play and also be enabled them to develop the capacity of using play as a context of assessment. This made a significant influence in the pre-school making a big shift in the teacher professional practice to focus on play as not only important in children’s development but also in assessing their level of understanding of their teachings. As a result of this interdisciplinary collaboration, the professional pre-school teachers now have an understanding of the significance of play in physical, social, cognitive, motor and emotional spheres of development. This made a big influence in the professional practice of pre-school teachers whereby it was introduced that pre-school teachers ought to have a robust academic background in studying play in order to best evaluate issues as well as provide assistance to children who may have difficulties in playing, for instance, children who are physically challenged (Kaittani et al., 2017). This led to the introduction of a form of play referred to as a cooperative play whereby it involves children playing and interacting together socially.
Another significant interdisciplinary collaboration practice that is encouraged and practiced in school is the one between parents and teacher. Young students not only need educational knowledge for their well-being but also need to be imparted with their expected behavioral conduct. Drawing from the code of ethics, teachers and any other professional are expected to appreciate and also support the bondage that exists between a child and family or parent (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2011). Parents play a big role in ensuring that their children behave in a certain manner that is accepted in society (Bridges, Davidson, Odegard, Maki, & Tomkowiak, 2011). Shaping a child’s behavior needs to be done in their early childhood. Therefore, it is upon the pre-school teachers and the parents to collaborate together to teach children the right and accepted behavior. When it comes to punishing students who misbehave, the parents’ methods of punishment is essential (Walton, 2014). Parents ought to show and demonstrate the methods of punishing children who misbehave that they find it safe for their children and effective as a corrective measure on their children’s behavior. Consequentially, this interdisciplinary collaboration has brought about increased participation and involvement of parents in school activities. Some shifts have been noted whereby some indiscipline cases among young students in the pre-school have been dedicated to being handled by their parents. Additionally, there is increased interdisciplinary collaboration among parents and teachers in determining the children’s diet. Since parents know all the strengths and weaknesses of their children and also an appropriate diet that fits their children, parents are included in determining the diet that the children will be fed on. This also involves interdisciplinary collaboration with the pediatricians. Children are young, tender and with complex health which needs proper choice of food that will promote the physical development of children and promoting their immune system (Walton, 2014). Pediatricians have a vast knowledge of both the food and treatment for children in case they fall sick. Collaboration with pediatrician has significantly influenced the professional practice of pre-school teachers. Teachers tend to be now cautious with the food they provide to the children and always keep in mind the specific types of food that some children may be allergic to so that they can avoid them (Ozturk, 2010). Eventually, the task of determining the food for children has been shifted to the pre-school teachers due to the influence and knowledge they have been able to obtain from the interdisciplinary collaboration with the pediatrician.
The shift in ethical practice
According to the code of ethics, it should be acknowledged that children together with adults attain their full potential in line with the relationships on the basis of respect and trust (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2011). Ethics is very important in the teaching profession. In order to be productive, teachers need to base their practices on ethics. Moreover, respect for diversity among children, teachers, other interdisciplinary professionals and parents out to be respected. To promote ethical conduct and practices in the pre-school, interdisciplinary collaboration between religious leaders such as pastor and teachers is encouraged. Religious leaders are people of high integrity with a vast knowledge of the moral wellbeing of humans. Professional teachers are expected to act ethically in line with their duty. Essentially, profession pre-school teachers are expected to distinguish between what is right and wrong and always have the capacity of doing their work in the right way (Walton, 2014). Therefore, an interdisciplinary collaboration between these teachers and the religious leaders in the school helps in boosting their compliance to the codes of ethics. This is because religious leaders’ main task at the school is to teach them morals and these morals are the key guide that enables them to have the ability to differentiate between good deeds and bad deeds, therefore, putting the teachers in a position they can act ethically as they are required to. This influenced the level of compliance to the code of ethics by the pre-school teachers, therefore, causing a shift in ethical understanding and practice to high compliance of codes of ethics.
Interdisciplinary collaboration between government agencies such as the ministry of education and the pre-school teachers has played a big role in promoting ethical compliance among teachers. According to the code of ethics, it is the duty of teachers to ensure that they impart knowledge to students through rightful means (Walton, 2014). They are expected to regularly attend classes and teach students. The education auditors from the ministry of education normally visit the school to assess the level of education being taught in the school, the facilities in the schools and also the conduct of teachers in the school especially their level of compliance to the code of ethics. Regular audits help to keep teachers on track by ensuring that they comply with the codes of ethics by doing what is expected of them and as a result, they have been able to provide quality education to the young children. This form of interdisciplinary has triggered delivery of quality education in the school.
Part C: Critique & Conclusion
There are a number of opportunities associated with the above mentioned interdisciplinary collaboration. In the first interdisciplinary collaboration between therapists and the pre-school teachers, its greatest opportunity is that the teachers are able to learn and acquire the knowledge of how to assess the efficiency of the play materials for the children and also be able to plan and schedule properly the class timetable that appropriately allocates the adequate and appropriate time for children to play. The interaction between the therapists and the teachers will enable teachers to develop additional professional knowledge that will promote both learning and development of children.
Another opportunity is that teachers will be able to understand the young students better out of the interdisciplinary collaborations with parents. Since parents understand their children better than anyone else, the collaboration between the parents and the teachers enables the teachers to get to know the weakness and strengths of the children. By knowing the strengths and weaknesses, the teachers will be able to play close attention to the areas of weaknesses of the children and focus on those weaknesses in order to improve performance among students.
Another significant opportunity arises from the interdisciplinary collaboration between religious leaders and teachers. Teachers are likely to benefit from the collaboration between them and religious leaders. Teachers get to learn their moral values and also develop the ability to differentiate between good deeds and bad deeds. Consequentially, this enables the teachers to recognize what is expected of them and also what they should avoid. As a result, the teachers will be able to conform to the code of ethics and the likely outcome is that quality education will be delivered to the children.
Lastly, an opportunity lies with the interdisciplinary collaboration between the teachers and government agencies such as the Ministry of Education. The regular audits conducted by the auditors from the Ministry of Education enables teachers to be vigilant and to always stay on track by obeying their code of conducts which ultimately leads to the school performing well due to a high quality of education offered.
One of the challenges encountered in the interdisciplinary collaboration between the teachers and the therapists is the professional barrier. To apprehend the knowledge and skills of therapists is very challenging to a teacher because it is of a different profession that needs extensive learning on the subject. More specifically, it was pretty difficult to learn the psychological as well as the physical assessment of the children in order to determine the appropriate play tools and materials for the children. Another challenge encountered was from the interdisciplinary collaboration between parents and teachers. Especially with regards to the agreement on the appropriate means of punishing children. Due to the differing opinions among parents and also those of teachers, it can be quite difficult to determine the most desirable way of pushing misbehaving children. This is because teachers may probable opt to punish children using corporate punishment while some parent might want their children to be talked to instead. Therefore, these differing interests and opinion tend to pose a bigger challenge in school. Lastly, it tends to be challenging to meet the expectation of the educational auditors from the Ministry of Education. Teaching in interdisciplinary collaboration is very challenging due to the high expectation set for the teachers. The auditors have a tendency of having high expectation for the teachers to conform to the code of ethics fully of which it is an uphill task.