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Professional Learning between Past Experience and Future Work

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image of Frontiers of Education in China

This paper deals with the professionalization of human service work. It analyses learning processes and identity development in the emerging profession of child care with concrete examples from empirical research, based on a life history approach. It discusses examples of careers mainly based on students’ life experience, pointing out that their immediate success in the workplace may inhibit an even better qualification they had been spurred to critical reflection. It further follows a sample of students through their theoretical education and trainee periods, illuminating their changing identification with and understanding of their future work, and their learning of professional knowledge and competences. The conclusion is that the new 3.5 year education in child care pedagogy clearly improves the professional competences of child care, but it also identifies a set of further specific challenges to be met for the development of real professional competences.


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