UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Adult learning in school-age care: child care workers as reflective practitioners Musson, Stephen Philip


This is a study of adult learning in school-age care (SAC). Data from observations and interviews with ten school-age care workers (SACWs) form the core of this research. The writer was once a SACW himself, and now is an instructor of SAC-related courses at two community colleges. The initial research question was “how do SACWs learn to become more effective in their work with children ?“. The focus on adult learning naturally led to an examination of the learners’ thoughts and their thinking processes. Thus the focus of this research evolved to include the reflective elements of quality SAC practice. As the data from the observations and the interviews was collected it became apparent that quality SAC work involves reflective practice. During the interviews it was noticed that several SACWs initially experienced some difficulty describing the thought processes that accompanied their skillful action. This could be due to the tacit nature of their skills and knowledge, or it could be because thoughtful action is difficult to describe in a society that, on the whole, devalues the work that adults do in child care. Despite some initial reluctance to talk about their work as “skilled” and “thoughtful”, the data from the field work clearly shows that SACWs do reflect upon their action, and that sometimes they reflect in their action. The study documents six specific examples of reflection-in-action (Schon, 1983, 1990). The study concludes by pointing out three key implications of the reflective practice concept as it applies to adult education in SAC. SACWs should be given plenty of formal and informal opportunities to reflect upon, and to talk about, their practice. On-site supervisors and college educators should emphasize the complexity and richness of the thought and skill involved in quality practice. A distinction should be made between training (which focuses on the acquisition of demonstrable skills) and education (which focuses on ways of thinking about children and child care). Implications for further research are also discussed.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.