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Professional Practice

Conversation with Melanie Dixon, RECE

Melanie Dixon is an RECE in Toronto, Ontario. She is the Director of Professional Practice at the College of Early Childhood Educators. Melanie began her CPL Portfolio Cycle in January 2018. Below are her reflections on the CPL Portfolio Cycle.

Living the value of lifelong learning

As early childhood educators, we value lifelong learning and reflective practice. How are you currently living that value, personally and professionally?

In my personal life, I have an interest in health and wellness. I read magazine articles, follow health experts on social media and participate in a meditation group. I don’t necessarily plan out how I am going to pursue my personal learning interests in advance. Instead, I tend to take opportunities as they come. Similarly, I used to do my professional learning in this somewhat random way. However, going through the Continuous Professional Learning portfolio process has allowed me to reflect more critically on my areas of priority in my professional world.

Pursuing CPL activities suited to how you learn

How did you approach your continuous professional learning?

When I completed my Self-Assessment Tool – in spurts over a few weeks – I realized that I already had ideas about what to focus on over the two-year portfolio cycle. My goals are linked to the work that I do every day. I don’t work with children and families in my role; however I help inform policy and practice related to the profession of early childhood education.

Like me, a fun challenge that you may discover is that you have more than three areas of interest or priority for your learning. I narrowed mine down to leadership, mentoring and ethical decision-making. Activities in my Professional Learning Plan are focused more on researching through reading, and sharing ideas and seeking input through networking. These activities are suited to my goals but also to how I like to learn.

Documenting your learning

How are you documenting your learning?

I am keeping portfolio documents electronically. On my computer desktop, and just to be safe, also on a USB!

“My CPL” folder includes:

  • The CPL Portfolio Handbook
  • My CPL Portfolio containing the three components
  • A folder for each of my three goals, containing resources that I will or have read, and evidence such as reflections following a webinar or notes from a conference workshop

Do you have any tips you would like to share?

I discovered that opportunities and resources can emerge that you don’t have planned. Bonus! My tip is to either add the activity and timeline to your Plan or if you completed an unplanned activity related to one of your goals, simply record it in your Record of Professional Learning.

We’ll be back with more CPL journeys over the next year, to hear from RECEs across the province and sector on how they are integrating continuous professional learning into their practice.

Do you have a CPL journey story you would like to share? Email us.

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