EDM148-The Professional Self in Early Years Leadership

Module Provider: Institute of Education
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Dr Geoff Taggart
Email: g.taggart@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module is offered to practitioners who have achieved, or working towards, the status of Early Years Teacher or Reception/ KS1 teachers with an interest in leadership. It is grounded in the theory that young children’s development and learning cannot be separated from the emotionally supportive and consistent context in which it occurs: a culture of secure and positive attachments.  The module therefore aims to construct an image of the early years teacher or nursery professional as an expert in ‘relational pedagogy’, acting as a role model for children, staff and parents. Students investigate exemplars of early year’s leaders who embody a resourceful, facilitative professional self and are given guidance on analysing research into this kind of leadership and applying it to their practice.


  • To explore the concepts of emotional labour, psychoanalytic attachments and catalytic leadership in relation to early years leadership

  • To develop skills in conducting work-based supervision, assertive communication, multi-professional working and self-care

  • To understand appreciative inquiry as a suitable research methodology in this specialist area

  • To enhance sensitivity towards issues of equality and diversity

  • To understand the nature of professions and professionalism in relation to leadership

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • To reflect upon theories and practices of interpersonal communication

  • To understand how early childhood development can influence adult behaviour

  • To reflect upon one’s own values and visions as a leader and to place these within the context of current research

  • To understand the multi-professional context of leadership and common barriers to effective multi-professional practice

  • To engage with recent research re garding the professionalization of the early years workforce

Additional outcomes:

To engage in critical discussion of recent research of relevance in this field

Outline content:

  • Models of early years leadership

  • Attachment theory and the lifecourse

  • Equality and diversity in early years leadership

  • Appreciative enquiry for research and organisational change

  • Principles and practice in multi-agency working

  • Ethics and leadership

  • Emotional labour

  • Professions and professionalism

Global context:

Examples of good practice are drawn from international contexts

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The conduct of the sessions takes the form of a dialogical community of ‘appreciative enquiry’ into our practice as early years leaders, identifying the strengths and values we wish to enhance and sustain. Reflecting the relational, affective context of early years work, the sessions will therefore call for qualities of openness, trust and honesty in communication. These periods of dialogue are combined with interactive lectures, video extracts, role play simulations and focussed group tasks. Each week, there will be a relevant piece of research which students will discuss.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 30
Work-based learning 40
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 20
    Wider reading (directed) 20
    Preparation for presentations 30
    Essay preparation 40
    Reflection 20
Total hours by term 0 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

a) Presentation: self-evaluation of strengths and weaknesses in relation to leadership, drawing upon appropriate theory (20%)

b) 3,500 word written assignment relating practice to theoretical model(s) of leadership (80%)

Formative assessment methods:

Feedback on draft assignment

Penalties for late submission:

The below information applies to students on taught programmes except those on Postgraduate Flexible programmes. Penalties for late submission, and the associated procedures, which apply to Postgraduate Flexible programmes are specified in the policy “Penalties for late submission for Postgraduate Flexible programmes”, which can be found here: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/files/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmissionPGflexible.pdf
The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmissions must be submitted within one calendar month of the notification of failure.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: £12

2) Specialist equipment or materials: 

3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: 

4) Printing and binding: 

5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: 

6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: 

Last updated: 26 October 2021


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