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Investigating multi-tasking and task rotation as aspects of the complexity of early childhood educators’ work

Cumming, T, Richardson, S, Gibson, M, Crisp, K, Harrison, L, Press, F ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8980-5096 and Wong, S (2022) Investigating multi-tasking and task rotation as aspects of the complexity of early childhood educators’ work. Early years: an international research journal. ISSN 0957-5146

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Abstract

Researchers of early childhood educators’ practice have noted the usefulness of applying various conceptual and methodological resources to create accounts of complexity. This article contributes to an under-researched area, providing evidence of multi-tasking and task rotation as aspects of the complexity of early childhood educators’ practice. The data regarding these aspects were generated in 46 focus groups conducted with 111 directors, teachers and assistants working in Australian early childhood education and care services. Findings of the thematic analysis of focus group data suggest that for participants, multi-tasking and task rotation were considered an integral and regular aspect of practice. Participants also described a range of ways services had to make these sometimes-challenging aspects of practice work for themselves, children and families. This article concludes with suggestions for making multi-tasking and task rotation more manageable through shared understandings and the creation of enabling conditions within early childhood work environments.

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