Cameron Paterson reflects upon a recent study tour to Reggio Emilia. Some of the points that stand out is that in Italy children are not labelled as having special needs, but rather special rights, tests are replaced with documentation and the focus is on collaboration and co-construction.
By messing about and getting messy, teachers learn the value of messy play. They see the potential of open-ended exploration with loose parts indoors and outdoors. Perhaps a belief in the Theory of Messing About will support the reconsideration of “Pinterest Pretty” and “Instagram Beautiful”.
I recently attended a regional meeting which involved a focus on ‘STEM’ involving random objects. It was amazing to watch the creativity with the seemingly scrap materials. This is a hat that my table made with that being our brief:
One of the interesting things that I observed through the activity was the storytelling that naturally came out of the activity.
When the wall of old habits and customs is broken down the quest for the possible can begin.
Diane Kashin’s description of what is ‘possible’ seems in contrast to the picture of education offered by Andrew Laming and planning for learning once a term.
Some simple ways to begin practicing documentation include:
Sharing a short video clip of documentation at the start of class or a meeting by displaying a brief clip and then asking students their thoughts about it. Taking a photo of an especially powerful learning moment to revisit with students by using the classroom walls to display the documentation. Jotting down a provocative or insightful quote from a student to share with the class via speech bubbles on the walls.
Cameron Paterson provides a useful introduction to Ron Ritchhart’s Cultures of Thinking and the notion of documentation. Along with Silvia Tolisano and Diane Kashin, I have written about Project Zero and the routines of thinking before. I was also left thinking about the power of documentation during a recent session with Amy Burvall, where we critiqued our creative thinking. However, Cameron’s post also left me wondering about the place of thinking and documentation outside of the classroom?
What might pedagogies for supporting civic agency look like? How do students investigate civic issues? What are the complexities of gathering information in a networked age? How do students learn to talk across differences, imagine new possibilities, and cultivate skills to develop a social change agenda?