02 SES 12 A, Educational Decisions and Pathways
Compared with other European countries, the organization of further training for early childhood education professionals in Germany presents a number of particularities.
Firstly, the vocational training which day-care centre professionals receive is of a generic nature and qualifies them for work across the whole of the socio-educational sector: their training programs do not allow for specialization in the field of day-care center education. This means that professionals who wish to work in day-care centers are obliged to pursue further training courses even after their official course of training is complete. Additional motivation for these professionals to undertake further training derives from contemporary socio-political changes and the demands of professionalization (e.g. with regard to inclusion or language education (cf. König/Buschle 2017)). Finally, professional development is considered to be a fundamental instrument of quality control in day-care centers.
Since further training is not organized at national level and is only partially regulated at the level of the Federal States, an independent and diverse market of further training opportunities has emerged in this field. The German Social Security Code VIII stipulates that it is principally the responsibility of the Federal States to organize further training for professionals working in day-care centers and for employees in state child and youth welfare services. However, further training opportunities in this field are provided by a wide range of different institutions and organizations, each of which offers different forms and types of training.
Since a number of providers regulate the (further) training and qualifications in this field, a range of divergent frameworks and responsibilities exist, each of which is specific to a given provider (Oberhuemer 2012). In this context, there is only limited scope for the comparability of systems and concepts of quality management, particularly since it is not clear what direct influence these have on further training (Müller, Faas und Schmidt-Hertha, 2016).
Until now, relatively few empirical studies of the further training of day-care center education professionals have been conducted in Germany, and these were partially carried out in the context of studies with a broader thematic interest (e.g. selected WiFF-guides; Beher and Walter 2010; von Hippel and Grimm 2010; Baumeister and Grieser 2011; Expertengruppe Weiterbildung 2013; Nürnberg and Kovacevic 2014). In order to identify areas where reform is needed in this field of work and to help align further training with early education, the WiFF-Weiterbildungsstudie (“Further Education Study of WiFF”) addresses the interface between these two fields (cf. Buschle/Gruber forthcoming 2018).
In view of the above, the aim of this paper is two-fold. Firstly, it will present the framework conditions of further training opportunities for day-care center education professionals. Secondly, it will discuss the motives and behavior of early childhood education professionals regarding further training, barriers hindering participation in further training courses, the transfer of the learning context, as well as the willingness of professionals to engage in forms of informal learning.
The WiFF-Study comprises three modules. The main objective of the study is to analyze the significance of further training in the field of early childhood education at (1) the individual level of early childhood education professionals, (2) the institutional level of day-care centers, and (3) the level of the further training system. The research design of the study reflects this multi-level interest: according to each module and the corresponding research question, various quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection were used, each targeting different groups of participants. The following forms of data were collected, analyzed, evaluated and, where appropriate, linked together using methodological or result triangulation (cf. Flick 2011): program analysis of further training events (n = 3963), expert interviews with people responsible for planning further training (n = 14), an online survey of people who run further training courses (n = 535), a group discussion (n = 3) and a standardized written survey of day-care center education professionals (n = 1585). This paper concentrates primarily on the results of the standardized expert survey, which is part of the third module of the Further Education Study and its overarching object: the exploration of the significance of further training for the field of day-care center education from the perspective of the education professionals themselves in Germany. Day-care center directors and educational staff were surveyed using a questionnaire in which was sent out by post. Data collection took place during September and October 2016. Prior to the official survey, a cognitive pretest (n = 10) was conducted in order to optimize the questionnaire. Two slightly different versions of the questionnaire were produced, corresponding to the two target groups. The sample of directors and educational staff was obtained using a random selection procedure which was stratified by Federal State. For each contacted day-care center, the director and one randomly chosen member of the team were asked to answer the questionnaire. In total, two questionnaires each were sent to 2886 day-care centers in Germany. The response rate is 29.7% (857 received usable questionnaires) of the directors and 25.2% (728 received usable questionnaires) of the pedagogical staff.
This paper sheds light on the practice of further training in Germany both from the perspective of the actors in the further training system and also from the perspective of day-care center education professionals. The results furthermore illustrate that the rates of participation in further training is very high among these professionals, and that they are highly motivated to take part. The analysis of the topics chosen by professionals for further training in recent years underlines the significance of priorities of educational policy. During the 12 months prior to this survey, day-care center directors and educational staff mostly took courses with a thematic focus on inclusion and/or language education/multilingualism. However, the results of the study also show that the conditions for further training in day-care centers are not ideal. Staff shortages make it difficult for professionals to take time off for further training, and the general lack of time can also restrict their choices to short courses, or stop them from taking any courses at all. Day-to-day work in day-care centers is also not set up to accommodate the transfer of knowledge from further training courses: Too many barriers on the part of the provider or of the day-care center directors stand in the way of such a transfer, and therefore the knowledge gained from the courses is often not passed on.
Baumeister, Katharina/Grieser, Anna (2011): Berufsbegleitende Fort- und Weiterbildung frühpädagogischer Fachkräfte – Analyse der Programmangebote. Weiterbildungsinitiative Frühpädagogische Fachkräfte. WiFF Studien, Band 10. München Beher, Karin/Walter, Michael (2012): Qualifikationen und Weiterbildung frühpädagogischer Fachkräfte. Bundesweite Befragung von Einrichtungsleitungen und Fachkräften in Kindertageseinrichtungen: Zehn Fragen - Zehn Antworten. Weiterbildungsinitiative Frühpädagogische Fachkräfte. WiFF Studien, Band 15. München Buschle, Christina/Gruber, Veronika (forthcoming 2018): Die Bedeutung von Weiterbildung für das Arbeitsfeld Kindertageseinrichtung. Eine Studie der Weiterbildungsinitiative Frühpädagogische Fachkräfte, WiFF Studien. München Expertengruppe Berufsbegleitende Weiterbildung (2013): Qualität in der Fort- und Weiterbildung von pädagogischen Fachkräften in Kindertageseinrichtungen. Standards, Indikatoren und Nachweismöglichkeiten für Anbieter. Weiterbildungsinitiative Frühpädagogische Fachkräfte. WiFF Kooperationen, Band 2. München Flick, Uwe (2011): Triangulation. Eine Einführung. VS Verlag. Wiesbaden Hippel, Aiga von/Grimm, Rita (2010): Qualitätsentwicklungskonzepte in der Weiterbildung Frühpädagogischer Fachkräfte. Weiterbildungsinitiative Frühpädagogische Fachkräfte. WiFF Expertisen, Band 3. München König, Anke/Buschle, Christina (2017): Hoffnungsträger Weiterbildung: Analysen und Diskussion, In: Balluseck, Hilde von (2017): Professionalisierung der Frühpädagogik: Perspektiven, Entwicklungen, Herausforderungen. Verlag Barbara Budrich. Opladen, Berlin & Toronto Müller, Margaretha/Faas, Stefan/Schmidt-Hertha, Bernhard (2016): Qualitätsmanagement in der frühpädagogischen Weiterbildung. Konzepte, Standards und Kompetenzanerkennung. Weiterbildungsinitiative Frühpädagogische Fachkräfte, WiFF Expertisen, Band 45. München Oberhuemer, Pamela (2012): Fort- und Weiterbildung frühpädagogischer Fachkräfte im europäischen Vergleich. Weiterbildungsinitiative Frühpädagogische Fachkräfte. WiFF Studien, Band 17. München Kovacevic, Jelena/Nürnberg, Carola (2014): Kompetenzorientierung als ein didaktischer Ansatz frühpädagogischer Weiterbildung. Weiterbildungsinitiative Frühpädagogische Fachkräfte, WiFF Studien, Band 23. München
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