Critically Assess the Success of the Learning Environment

A. Introduction
For this assignment I will be required to thoroughly plan, implement, and evaluate the introduction of Effective Team Meetings within a Performance Management Framework. This initiative will show close involvement of the childcare team, parents/carers and children and the effective communication of information. It will also identify any issues arising and will demonstrate how effective action will be taken and the development of appropriate strategies. This assignment will include the critical analysis and effective application of underpinning approaches.
This assignment will show how I was able to demonstrate judicious use of supervisory, organisational and leadership skills, in the efficient and effective planning, implementation and evaluation of the team meetings.
I will then use Reflective Practice to critically evaluate my own role in the process, my value to the team and my personal and professional learning.
The setting where I will be implementing this initiative is my own playgroup ??“ Little Acorns. We currently have 17 children on the roll, and 4 part-time members of staff. (Due to Confidentiality issues, the name of the playgroup and other names throughout the assignment have been changed.)

Little Acorns Management Structure

1. REASONS FOR IMPLEMENTING THE INITIATIVE & ISSUES ARRISING
When deciding what initiative or specific action to implement, I first looked at the current Playgroup situation and any specific needs or gaps that it might have in its management structure, staffing, curriculum, policies and overall service etc. I then decided to ask some KEY SWOT questions (Appendices 1) and do a Playgroup SWOT. (See below) We also brainstormed in class to come up with some ideas. (Appendices 2)
PLAYGROUP SWOT

* Lack of Supervision
Having recently returned to the position of manager following a period of illness, I found that the support I had put in place during my absence was insufficient and as a result the staff had struggled and quality within the setting had dropped. In his book, Staff Supervision in Social Care, Tony Morrison lists ???reduced confidence, unclear expectations, lack of accountability, reduced competence, dysfunctional team dynamics and inappropriate worker autonomy??? as some of the consequences of poor supervision. The introduction of regular effective team meetings would be a positive step to beginning rebuilding an effective, enthusiastic and motivated team which in turn would have a positive affect on the quality of the provision.
* No regular team meetings
Team meetings at Little Acorns are currently held in response to specific needs or problems. This is often referred to as ???A Sticking Plaster Response??™. Unfortunately this has left the staff almost dreading the team meetings and has created a ???What??™s wrong now??™ mentality. Regular Team meetings would hopefully eliminate this. French (2008) puts forward the idea that, ???Regular scheduling of team meetings and Supervision presents the opportunity to consider patterns of issues arising in the service and to address these. Moving from a reactive way of working to a greater emphasis on developmental aspects of the work.???
It is also worth noting that Team meetings fit into a greater framework and is one of the core processes of Staff Development according to French (2008).
???The Five Primary processes which contribute to Staff Development are: Supervision, Appraisals, Team Meetings, Training, Mentoring and Coaching.??? Morrison (2010) also adds ???Mediation??™ to this list.
???Team meetings are an integral part of team and individual development as well as being the core to communication within the team.??? French. (2008)
Information Sharing, Decision Making, support, review, evaluation and planning, and Skill development are recognised as just some of the different functions a team meeting can have. No matter the focus of the Team Meeting its overall goal should be to improve the quality of the service. I would hope that Team Meetings would be the first step in Staff Development and that it would be the beginning of the process whereby I can ultimately introduce the bigger model of Supervision.
???All team meetings, conducted, and decisions made, should be under pinned by what is in the best interests of children and their families. Therefore the aims of the service should be central to all discussions.??? French (2008)
It stands to reason that Team meetings need to be effective and ultimately benefit the children and their families.
The Performance Management & Development System is a system that operates within the Irish Civil Service. It identifies 17 Behavioural Competencies. ???As part of this system, jobholders and their managers together identify the specific competencies needed to carry out their jobs.??? Human Resources Development Services (2010)
* Staff Competency
Competence simply means that staff ???..have the relevant, skills, knowledge, and understanding attributes to do a particular job in a particular context to an agreed standard??? McDonnell & Zutahl (2006)
Team Meetings form part of the ???Team working??™ competency, which falls into the ???Personal Effective Cluster??™ of competencies. Human Resources Development Services (2010) By participating in and making a positive contribution to team meetings, I feel that the staff will grow into a stronger effective team. As Human Resources Development Services (2010) suggests, ???Good team players participate willingly in group work and support team decisions.??? It also states that, ???A team is a group of people working together in pursuit of a common goal.???
Team Working is therefore a competency worth encouraging and promoting within the setting. It is also something that Siolta encourages.
???The provision of quality early childhood experiences requires, co-operation, communication and mutual respect. Teamwork is a vital component of Quality in Early childhood care and education.??? Siolta (2006)
* Siolta & Aistear
The introduction of the Siolta Quality Framework and the Aistear Curriculum has also influenced my choice of initiative.
???The introduction of new legislation as well as a developing body of knowledge about the needs of children will lead to change in Practise.??? French (2006)
Implementing the necessary changes in practice will require a concerted team effort Therefore team meetings will play a fundamental role if these changes are to occur.
???It is through critical thinking and reflection that individuals and teams can consider the changing needs and where necessary affirm, amend and extend the goals of the organisation??? French (2008)
* Workplace Stress
During this process of deliberation I also realised that the staff had possibly been under additional stress during my absence, and with the changes happening in the work place due to Aistear and Siolta, the staff may still feel additional stress.
In ???Putting Children First??™ (2008), challenging workloads, time constraints and professional isolation are listed as some of the factors that contribute to stress in childcare. It goes on to suggest, ???Regularly talking about issues and finding team solutions to problems can help to prevent stress.??? Therefore, the importance of regular, efficient team meetings that deal with relevant and pressing issues cannot be over emphasized, especially during these periods of change and uncertainty. ???By minimising and effectively managing workplace stress, services can improve the quality of care provided.??? Putting Children First (2006)

2. STAKEHOLDERS
The implementation of regular, effective team meetings would not only have a positive impact on staff, but that is would improve the overall quality of the service and have benefits for all of its stakeholders.

Stakeholders of Little Acorns Playgroup

The above model is adapted from Morrison 2005

Siolta (2006) suggests ???Shared knowledge and understanding, clear communication among the team, within the setting; and with parents is a prerequisite of a practice and reflects a ???whole-child perspective.???
As the staff develop and become more competent and confident, their interactions with parents, families and outside agencies will become more professional. As overall quality continues to improve, the Playgroup??™s reputation will grow and its impact on the local community will begin to show. ???The development of connections and interactions between the early childhood setting, parent, the extended family and the wider community also adds to the enrichment of early childhood experiences by reflecting the environment in which the child lives and grows. Siolta (2006)

B. Planning & Preparation for the Team Meeting
1. INFORMATION GATHERING AND COMMUNICATION IN PLANNING
Before approaching any of the staff with the idea of Effective Team Meetings I gathered as much information as I could on the subject. I then did some ???Smart Goal Setting??™. Butler (2008) states that ???Smart goal setting??¦helps a person focus more on what it is they wish to achieve because the person defines the goal in more detail.??? I then developed a Work Plan document. Both of these documents can be found at the end of this section.
Having gathered the relevant information, I then approached the Playgroup Leader during a break and shared with her the idea of holding Regular Team Meetings and my reasons behind this initiative. I also gave her some Information that I compiled, highlighting the important aspects of Team Meetings. This was information taken from Morrison (2010) and French (2006)
???Communicating effectively in the best interests of the child requires policies, procedures and actions that promote the proactive sharing of knowledge and information among appropriate stakeholders.??? Siolta (2006)
She immediately recognised the value of the idea and gave me her full support. Together we decided that we should have a ???Focus Meeting??™ where I would present the idea of Team meetings and communicate my ideas to all the staff. When deciding the day and time we took into consideration the family circumstances of the Playgroup Assistant and scheduled the meeting so as not to clash with her daughters ???Teacher Meeting??™. We decided on a Wednesday as that is the day that we had had meetings in the past, and it suited everyone. We also decided that we would have the meeting at 1.15pm to allow staff to get cleared up before the meeting. I also talked with colleagues and other Childcare Managers about their Team Meetings to gain some insight into the general rule of practise.
Even for a FOCUS meeting, it is important to have an agenda. A week before the meeting I drafted a simple agenda for the focus meeting and gave a copy to all members of staff and posted it on the notice board in the staff room.. A copy of the Agenda can be found at the end of this section. I also used this time to share informally about the concept if I was asked any questions, and made staff aware, that if they had any questions, they were to come and speak to me.
2. THE FOCUS MEETING (Planning for Team Meeting)
A couple of days before the Focus meeting I asked the Playgroup Leader if she would keep the minutes. As Mina (2004) points out ???Minutes of meetings are important documents, for recording consensus and decision-making, and for tracking the evolution of issues and the history of an organization.??? I gave her a durable, A4 hard back book that would become the ???Minutes??™ book, and some printouts on taking minutes. (Appendices 4)
During the Focus meeting I gave a 10-15min introductory presentation on Team Meetings and gave each member of staff the same information that I had given the Playgroup Leader previously that highlighted the importance of Team Meetings. This was information taken from Morrison (2010) and French (2006)
Following the presentation we had a short question and answer time. The staff where very quiet during this time and didn??™t ask any questions. It was decided that we would have a more in depth Q&A time during the next meeting. This would give staff time to read over the information they had been given.
As a group we decided to allow one week to give feedback; whether verbal of written, to either the Playgroup Leader or myself. The First Team Meeting would be organised a week following this to allow for preparation. The Playgroup Leader volunteered to present information on Qualities of Effective Team Members and I would present all other information. (Appendices 5) I presented the information in a positive and enthusiastic manner and hoped that my enthusiasm would motivate them in recognising the value and importance of Team Meetings.
As most staff work on a Wednesday it was decided that we would have the Team Meeting on this day after the children went home. The member of staff, who isn??™t normally in on this day, was happy with this decision, as she lives nearby. The Minutes for this meeting were recorded and can be found at the end of this section.

During the feedback period, a member of staff had concerns that the Team Meetings would be an opportunity for me to address individual ???Performance Issues??™ in front of all the staff. I assured her that this was not the purpose of Team Meetings, and that individual performance issues would continue to be dealt with on a ???one to one??™ basis.

With the help of the Playgroup Leader I then drafted the agenda for the meeting. We wanted to keep the first meeting simple and to time, so we kept agenda items to a minimum. The main purpose of the meeting was to ???Introduce Effective Team Meetings??™. The Playgroup Leader suggested we have the Team Meeting in the Playroom at the round table, as this would create a more comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.
The Agenda was then distributed to all members of staff a week before the actual meeting. It was also posted on the notice board in the staff room. It was very important that staff were aware of the time and place of the meeting as early as possible, as they all would have to make necessary childcare arrangements for their own children. According to Allen & Economy (2011) By distributing the agenda and prework before the meeting, participants can prepare for the meeting ahead of time. As a result, they will be immediately engaged in the business of the meeting, and theyll waste far less time throughout the meeting. The Agenda for the team meeting is at the end of this section.
3. MOTIVATING AND MANAGING A TEAM.
For team meetings to be effective it is important that the childcare team are motivated and enthusiastic. Morrison (2010) identifies several ways in which a supervisor can motivate staff. He first suggests that the team are clear about their roles and responsibilities and what is expected of them. I addressed this by making this an agenda item at the first meeting.
???Set up situations where workers can experience success and build their self-efficacy.??? Morrison (2010) The Agenda items and their actions are responsibilities and assignments that t I know the staff would be confident and capable of performing. Morrison (2010) also encourages supervisors and managers to allow workers to make their own decisions and set their own goals. I felt that the staff would benefit by being part decision making process and by the development of Team ground rules. This flexibility, choice and participation would be rewarding and encourage responsibility. Morrison (2010)
Availability and Approachability of Supervisor
Throughout the whole process, of introducing the concept of Team Meetings, I kept reminding staff that I was always available should they have any concerns or queries regarding Team Meetings. This ties in with what Morrison (2010) says about motivation, that supervisors need to demonstrate an interest and confidence in each worker as an individual and that it is important to listen to and investigate ??¦employee complaints.
C. Managing the Meeting

1. PREPARATIONS ON THE DAY
On the day of the meeting, I ensured that the heating would remain on for the duration of the meeting and proceeded to photocopy all relevant material for distribution. When the children had left, I arranged the seating at the round table and distributed another copy of the agenda, and a pen for each member of staff. While we were waiting to begin, I left the ???Minutes??™ opened at the minutes from our focus meeting and asked staff to look over them before the meeting began so we could then approve or amend as necessary when the ???Approval of Minutes??™ came up in the Agenda. I explained that this is what we would do before every Team Meeting from now on.
It is hoped that all members of staff would take it in turns to take minutes as this would develop their skill base, but for the first Team Meeting I decided to delegate this responsibility to the Playgroup Leader as she had already taken them for the focus meeting. My simple advice was that the minutes needed to be A B C. Accurate – Brief – Clear.
2. CHAIRING THE MEETING
???There is one person who leads (or chairs) the meeting and makes sure the items on the agenda are being dealt with.??? Bruce etal (2011)
As chair for this meeting, I started the meeting promptly by welcoming all the staff and thanking them for coming. We then moved through the formalities and agenda. Allen & Economy (2011) suggested that if you announced the length of the meeting and then stuck to it, fewer participants would be looking at their watches, and more participants would take an active role in your meetings. For this reason, all agenda items were given a time allocation and I kept to this as much as possible.
As this was our first Team Meeting, the discussion would often deviate from the agenda. It was important that I continually brought the discussion back to the agenda point, in order for the meeting to achieve the goal of clearly presenting the subject of Team Meetings without running over time.
As Rautela (2009) points out, ???An effective and efficient meeting is one where the goal is achieved for which the meeting was held in the first place and takes place just as planned without any delays, interruptions or running late.???
3. DECISION MAKING AND DELEGATION OF RESPONSIBILITES
As a group we together came up with some ground rules for our Team Meetings. When it comes to motivating staff, Morrison (2010) suggests ??? Wherever possible, allow workers to makes their own decisions and goals. Flexibility, choice and participation are rewarding and encourage responsibility.??? Being part of the process of developing the Ground Rules hopefully motivated the staff and gave team members a sense of responsibility and loyalty to the Team Meetings.
Ground Rules as Developed by Team
* Everyone turns off their mobile phones
* The meeting begins and ends on time
* We actively try to participate and contribute
* We come to the meeting prepared.
* Consensus would be used in decision making
Ground Rules as Developed by Team
* Everyone turns off their mobile phones
* The meeting begins and ends on time
* We actively try to participate and contribute
* We come to the meeting prepared.
* Consensus would be used in decision making

During agenda point discussion if an action was required, I checked with the Minute taker, that the name of the person responsible for the action was noted and also the date for completion. I also ensured that there was consensus and understanding before we moved onto the next agenda item. Allen & Economy (2010) give some good advice in this area. They suggest that unless they (Team meetings) are held purely to communicate information, or for other special purposes, most meetings result in action items, tasks, and other assignments for one or more participants. Dont assume that all participants are going to take their assignments to heart and remember all the details. Instead, be sure that someone has agreed to take on the job of record keeping.
Immediately after the meeting, I worked with the minute taker to summarize the general outcome of the meeting, as well as list the Actions and assignments that were delegated and a timelines. The minute taker assumed responsibility for copying this, and distributing it to all team members. See Table on next page.
General Outcome of Team Meeting. Dated: 22nd February 2012The purpose of this meeting was to introduce the initiative of ???Effective Team Meetings??™. The meeting itself was a great success with favour and support from all team members. The team developed their own Team Meeting Ground rules. They participated and contributed to all discussions. It was decided that Team Meetings would run on a trial basis for 6 mths. They will be held on the first Wednesday of the month at 1.15pm. As Playgroup will be closed on Wednesday 4th April, the team meeting will be held on Wednesday 28th March at 1.15pm.Action Plan |
Action | Assigned to: | Date |
Minutes at next meeting | Julie | 28/03/2012 |
Agenda drafted and distributed before next meeting | Kathy | 21/03/2012 |
Typing up & Distribution of Team Meeting Ground Rules | Karen | 01/03/2012 |
Parent??™s ???Service Evaluation??™ | Anita | 15/03/2012 |
Notice on Team Meetings | Julie | 01/03/2012 |
Learning Story update | All Staff to look over their key children and bring updates or concerns | 28/03/2012 |

As this was the first Team Meeting, I wanted to solicit some feedback. Over a number of days, following the meeting I informally asked staff a few questions regarding the meeting. For example, ???How do you feel the meeting went ??“ And how it went wrong. Were items on the agenda clear Was it too long etc.??™ Thankfully all feedback was positive.

D. Implementation of actions identified at the meeting.

1. SUPERVISION AND LEADRSHIP SKILLS USED
???Firstly, supervision must provide a framework to enable staff to utilise their existing knowledge and skills. Secondly, supervision must help staff cope with processes of rapid change which require workers to adopt new roles, knowledge and skills.??? Morrison (2005)
Moyles (2008) would argue that the quality of a setting can depend heavily upon the quality, skills and effectiveness of those in charge. It is therefore important that I continue to show effective leadership and supervision. Missing or ineffective supervision can have a negative effect on the workers confidence. Knapman, and Morrison (2005)
By supervising staff during this period of change and increase work load, it is hoped that they would cope and develop into confident and competent workers. This will ensure that ???children and practitioners receive the best possible experiences and direction in their work and play and that parents and carers can have confidence in the setting. Moyles (2008)

Some of the effective supervision qualities that I demonstrated are outlined by Morrison (2005). It was vitally important that I communicated clearly the staff??™s roles and responsibilities regarding team meetings, and I feel that this was accomplished. Future Team meetings will definitely benefit the service and the children. I will be monitoring staff following the team meetings, to ensure their workloads are manageable and appropriate and at the same time supporting them in their work. All of these qualities will ultimately enhance the workers development and promote a supportive and positive atmosphere. Morrison (2005)
???The role/responsibility of the supervisor is to create a safe environment in which the employee can work through the developmental issues or challenges of each level in order to gain the necessary motivation, autonomy and self-awareness to successfully move to the next level of development.??? Pierce (2012)
It is hoped that with my effective supervision, staff will meet the goal of the organisation by successfully implementing Effective Team Meetings. ???The supervisor-worker relationship is the key encounter where the influence of organisational authority and professional identity collide, collude, or connect.??? (Middleman & Rhodes, 1980)

2. ACTION PLAN

Action | Assigned to: | Support |
Learning Story update28/03/2012 | All Staff | As this involves all staff members I feel that planning for this should start first. As we are in the early stages of implementing Observations and the Learning Story, I feel that individual supervisory sessions might be helpful. Negotiations will need to take place with staff to work out the best times for this. |
Parent??™s ???Service Evaluation??™15/03/2012 | Anita | I would advise Anita to get the evaluation printed out as soon as possible, as parents can be slow in returning forms. Informal updates is probably all that would be required. |
Type up & DistributeTeam Meeting Ground Rules01/03/2012 | Karen | Karen is the administrator in playgroup and will need no supervision with task. An formal chat is probably all that will be needed to make sure the job is done within its time frame. |
Notice on Team Meetings01/03/2012 | Julie | Julie is creative and is competent using the computer. This task shouldn??™t cause any difficulties |
Agenda drafted and distributed before next meeting21/3/2012 | Kathy | Two weeks before the meeting I will need to audit the parent evaluation forms and see if any items can be added to the agenda. The Agenda will begin will Matters arising, that is basically a follow up of the action plan created at the last meeting. |
Minutes at next meeting28/03/2012 | Julie | Give Julie the handout on Minutes and spend time answering any questions. Show the previous minutes and give advice. This needs to be a planned supervision time. This could possibly be arranged for the week before the next team meeting. |

E. Reflection on Personal and Professional Learning

One of the earliest writers on Reflective Practice was John Dewey. His work went on to inspire others, such as, Donald Schon and David Boud. Boud et al (1985) defines reflection as an important human activity in which people recapture their experience, think about it, mull it over and evaluate it.
???Learning involves transforming experience into feelings (reflection),knowledge, attitudes, values (conceptualisation), behaviours and skills (active experimentation).??™ (Jarvis, 1995) Morrison (2005)

Kolb is one of the key theorists in this area and was greatly influenced by these early writers and went on to develop a theory of experiential learning. This is called The Kolb Cycle, The Learning Cycle or The Experiential Learning Cycle. According to Morrison (2005) Kolb states that adults learn from their experiences and that this procedure of learning includes four main parts. These include
* Experience
* Reflection
* Conceptualisation
* Active experimentation
I will be using Kolb??™s cycle as I reflect on my time completing this module and assignment.

Dewey (1933) identified the three characteristics or attitudes of people who are reflective as; open-mindedness, responsibility and wholeheartedness.
At the beginning of this assignment I compiled at SWOT.
|
Strengths | Weaknesses |
1. Have owned and managed my own playgroup for the past 7 yrs 2. Have lots of experience working with children and young people in different voluntary and church settings 3. Would be confident and outgoing 4. Love new challenges. | 1. Haven??™t studies for the past 7 yrs 2. Currently busy with other commitments. 3. Not familiar with assignment layout 4. Still recovering from illness 5. Easily overwhelmed |
|
Opportunities | Threats |
1. Opportunity to develop supervisory skills and gain a deeper understanding and knowledge about leadership and effective supervision. 2. I will also be able to use this knowledge in my playgroup and practically apply what I learn. | 1. Not sure if im physically fit enough to complete assignment 2. Afraid ill not be able to understand the assignment requirements 3. It might be difficult to implement changes in the workplace because of friendships. |

As I looked back and reflected upon my learning experiences during this module and assignment, one of the first questions I asked myself was, ???Did I achieve my original goals??? Broadly speaking, I feel that I did achieve my goals.
* I successfully ???Planned, Implemented and Evaluated a Team Meeting??™
* I successfully studied and completed all of the module content.

1. EVALUATION OF MY OWN ROLE IN PLANNING, IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION OF A TEAM MEETING.

According to Kolb (1984) and Jarvis (1995), learning is activated by experience, either in terms of a problem to be solved, a situation that is unfamiuliar , or a need to be satisfied. Morrison (2005) When it came to this learning experience it was definitely unfamiliar as our playgroup didn??™t have team meetings; and it was a need that needed to be satisfied, in that, it was a requirement to pass a Fetec level 6 module. These were both motivators in my learning.
After learning in class about ???Effective Supervision??™ I realized the need to be capable and compentent when it comes to planning, implementing and evaluating the team meeting.

I enjoyed researching for templates and guides for effective team meetings, Agendas and minutes and found that in learning these basic skills like drafting an agenda, keeping minutes or chairing a meeting, I was developing my skill base. I now know that I will be able to successfully implement Team Meetings in my own setting, as this whole experience has given me the confidence to do this. When it came to drafting the Minutes template, I found that my first draft was too restrictive for agenda items. I then redrafted and decided to include just lines to allow free flow.

I also applied my knowledge of running effective team meetings, Morrison (2005). I did this by:
* Drafting and circulating the agenda a week before the meeting
* I started the meeting promptly and kept the meeting to the agreed time frame
* I kept the meeting ???on point??™
* Delegated tasks with specific time frames
* Set the date for a future meeting
* Achieved the meeting goal of ???Introducing Effective Team Meetings.??™

I feel that my evaulation, ???The team meeting was a success??™ is fair and a true reflection of the meeting; I had the full support of the staff throughout the meeting and positive feedback afterwards. Due to the fact that I had an motivated team, I didn??™t really have any difficulties or challenges to overcome, as they were all very supportive.
I had a very positive learning experience and because of the success of the meeting, I don??™t think I would do anything differently.
2. WHAT WAS THE VALUE OF THE MEETING TO THE TEAM MEMBERS

As highlighted earlier in this assignment, the staff had recently been struggling without clear direction and quality within the service had been affected. I wanted to start rebuilding the team.
The staff team were actively involved in: planning from the meetings, by participating in the focus meeting and then the actual team meeting. ???Teamwork is a vital component of quality in early childhood care and education.??? Siolta (2006)

???For team development programmes to be effective there muct be commitment form all team members to participate rather than just attend.??? French (2008) He goes on to suggest that: listening, understanding, speaking, questioning, clarifying and risk taking are some of the ways that staff can participate. The staff fully participating in many of these ways, during both the focus meeting and the team meeting. The Playgroup Leader helped with agenda planning, she took the minutes, the staff actively particapated during discussions and developed the Team Meeting Ground Rules. They also volunteer for tasks, or were willing when asked. Overall I don??™t think I could??™ve asked for a more committed team, for a successful team meeting.

As mentioned about, the Team meeting was an excellent opportunity for staff to be involved in the process of implementing an initiative, something they had never done before. According to Bruce et al (2011), it is very important for team members to feel that they have been part of developing a clear, shared sense of direction and principles. In this wasy they each person will align what they do with larger goals and aims, and feel a sense of pride and achievement.
Overall, I feel that the team members learnt a lot from the meeting, and that the experiences gained will be of benefit and will help them grow as competent, confident team members.

3. (a) MY PERSONAL LEARNING.
???Reflective practice is a process which enable you to achieve a better understanding of yourself, your skills, competencies, knowledge and professional practice. Gibbs (1988)

The Module
At the beginning of this module, I was a bit apprehensive that because I hadn??™t studied for 10yrs I would find it hard to adapt to being a student. The classes however, were great and I really enjoyed them. I think the subject matter, the class size and the tutor were all instrumental in helping me to settle and relax.
I chose to do this module, ???Supervision in Childcare??™ as I felt that this was a subject that I needed to learn. The course made me realise how much, my own playgroup needed effective supervision, as the benefits for it cannot be denied. It also made me realize that the staff are currently struggling because of lack of supervision. I am going to address these issues as soon as possible and hopefully implement ???Effective Supervision.??™

The practical subjects, such as ???Stress in the Workplace??™ and ???Motivation??™ were both informative and I felt that I could relate to a number of issues highlighted. I didn??™t really realize how the introduction of Aistear and Siolta could possibly cause added stress to staff. Again, the implementation of supervision will help me with these issues.

The Assignment
Strengths
As someone who is used to public speaking, I wasn??™t too concerned about chairing a team meeting. I knew that I would be able to confidently and clearly present and chair. I also feel that my experience and time in a childcare setting gave me the needed confidence to introduce the initiative. The knowledge I had gained in class on ???Team Meetings??™ also gave me the confidence and belief that the introduction of Team Meetings would be good practice. I also feel that because I had a good relationship with staff, they were willing to give the meeting a fair hearing before making any judgements.

Throughout the planning stage I feel that I developed better time management skills and organisational skills, as I had to work around other work and family commitments.
I have had lots of experience in playgroup, developing hand outs, policies, leaflets, etc and had no problems drafting up Agendas or minutes.
Weaknesses
During the actual meeting, I was abit reluctant to assign tasks, if there were no volunteers. I found this the most difficult part of the assignment. I know myself, that in the past, I would assume responsibility for a task, because I didn??™t like to ask people. Through this assignment, and the material covered in ???Supervision??™ I now realise that an important part of supervision is the ability to assign tasks and delegate. This is a definite weakness that I hadn??™t really considered, and will need to address.

(b) MY PROFESSIONAL LEARNING.

I feel that in the case of this assignment I did extremely well and that I effectively planned, implemented and evaluated a team meeting.

However, as I reflect on this assignment, and the course module, I am now fully aware, that I really need to address Supervision in the Playgroup.
After learning about the benefits of supervision and the results of no or poor supervision, I realise the necessity of it and the role I will have to play in it. This obviously means I need to look at myself and evaluate my own role as a supervisor within the setting.

Although I have learned a lot during this time, I still feel there is much to learn regarding ???Supervision in Childcare??™; and as a result of this module and assignment, I know that I will be better prepared to develop the necessary skills needed to implement SupervisionS into my setting.

Structure for Assignment
Throughout this assignment I have used critical analysis and have included reference material for support.
A Introduction
1. Reasons for Implementing Team Meetings and Issues Arising. Also included in this section is a SWOT
* Lack of supervision
* No regular team meetings
* Staff competency
* Siolta & Aistear
* Workplace stress

2. Stakeholders & Communication. Communication is also covered in more detail in the Focus meeting section.
B Planning & Preparation for the Team Meeting.
1. Information Gathering and Communication for Focus Meeting.
* Considerations regarding day/time/venue for FOCUS meeting and decision making on Agenda items for FOCUS meeting are included.

2. The Focus Meeting
* This section covers all communication with staff regarding the team meeting and also covers the Consideration given to day/time/venue for TEAM meeting and the decision making for agenda items.

3. Motivating and managing a team
* Availability and Approachability Prior to the meeting
* Focus Meeting Agenda
* Focus Meeting Minutes/Record
* Team Meeting Agenda

C Managing the meeting
1. Preparation on the day
2. Chairing the meeting
3. Decision making and delegation of responsibilities
4. Outcome Table
* Minutes/Record of Team Meeting

D Implementation of actions identified at the meeting
1. The role of Supervisor/Leader and skills required
2. Action Plan Table

E Reflection on Personal and Professional Learning
1. Evaluation of my own role in this assignment.
* Kolb??™s Cycle of learning
* SWOT
2. Value of the team meeting to the team members
3. My Personal learning and My Professional learning.

References
Appendix

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