A transformative model of continuing professional development in a day nursery: practitioners’ perspectives on the implementation of symbolic gesturing

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Drawing on experiential learning and transformative learning theory,
a transformative model of continuing professional development (CPD)
was employed to implement symbolic gesturing in a day nursery. The
model of CPD aimed to empower practitioners working with infants to
have autonomy over their professional learning. Perspectives of the nursery staff about the CPD were captured in narrative semi-structured interviews pre and post the three months of implementation, and from
reflective diaries used during this period. Practitioners concluded that
the model was successful because it allowed them flexibility to use symbolic gesturing in a way that was navigated independently by each
practitioner as part of their daily routine rather than as a specific, formal
course of instruction requiring formulaic adoption. Findings also indicate
that the CPD model had beneficial learning outcomes in both cognitive
and affective domains for practitioners and the infants in their care.
Limitations of the small-scale study are acknowledged but the study
highlights implications for practice and theorising about CPD in early
years settings. The model could be of interest to researchers and practitioners wishing to develop effective CPD in other nursery settings to
introduce symbolic gesturing, or more generally other professional development initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages12
JournalProfessional Development in Education
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2020


  • Continuing professional development
  • early years
  • experiential learning
  • infants
  • nursery practitioner
  • symbolic gesturing

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