Professionalism as relational practice

(Theme leader: Päivi Kupila)

’Professionalism as relational practice’ research area examines the professionalism and expertise of early childhood education (ECE) workers as a framework for the constant change of work and operating environments. Research themes include professionalism, professional development and identity, relational expertise in the face of different operating systems, mentoring, supervision, leadership, crossing professional and institutional boundaries, and interprofessional cooperation.

The theme – professional spaces – defines individual and community work practices, professional roles and dimensions of power and responsibility. In connection with the theme, national and international co-operation is carried out, for example, in the international research network of ECE leaders. Recently, research findings in peer mentoring have been used to consider its potential to support ECE professionals in the diversity of professional and working life.

In addition to working professionals, the target group of the study is student teachers, whose transition from education to working life and the early stages of working life have been examined. In addition, the research focuses on students’ supervision during practicum.