Ecology of professional development and research in Early Childhood Intervention
This paper aims to present the process of creating and implementing a new approach to research in Early Childhood Intervention (EIC), in the context of a Master in Special Education – Early Intervention (2010-2012). In this Post-Bologna master course, students are required to construct an original and innovative Project in one semester (30 ECTS), focused on a concrete need/problem in the ECI domain. The purpose is to expand practical knowledge, rehearse the articulation among theory and practice, and improve concrete professional skills, especially to enhance professional and personal competence, trust and compromise in working collaboratively with families, professionals and communities.
Thus, the theoretical/conceptual framework is embedded in an ecological approach, that considers contemporary macro research, policy and practice perspectives in ECI (comprehensive dimension), the more immediate social/situational environment where projects are contextualized (situated dimension), and the micro/individualized relationship between the supervisor and the student (tutorial dimension).
The presentation will particularly focus the tutorial dimension, and its pedagogy, considering the diversity of students’ characteristics (background knowledge and experience, particular interests and needs). For this purpose, a qualitative methodology was chosen - based on observations, field notes/diaries, and student’s written documentation – seeking to attain a rich and in-depth understanding of the process.
The main findings of this exploratory study indicate a personal and professional impact of the chosen ecological research approach on master students, with direct implications for practice in ECI, namely in what concerns a preventive, collaborative, family focused perspective.
Keywords - Research in ECI; Professional Training and Tutoring in ECI.