Practical wisdom: exploring the hidden dimensions of professional practice

Year: 2002

Author: Goodfellow, Joy

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Practical wisdom in professional practice requires sound judgement in the use of personal/professional, theoretical, and practical knowledge. Many aspects of such knowledges encompass 'the invisible elements of practice' (Fish, 1998). This paper draws on three sources of data to explore the nature of being an early childhood professional. The first source of data is recent reviews of the status and standing of early childhood teachers. The second source is the child care standards found within the revised Quality Improvement and Accreditation System for long day care centres (NCAC). The third source is position descriptions for early childhood teachers/Directors.

Evidence suggests that a contributing factor to low status and morale within the profession may be failure by individual professionals to 'get inside' their practice and gain an appreciation of the nature of being a professional. The reflective, affective and experiential qualities found within the hidden dimensions of professional practice are part of the being, living and experiencing that occurs as teachers engage in professional practice. The paper considers that standards of excellence are more likely to be achieved where there is greater acknowledgment of the person-in-the-process.