When photos are added there is another layer of documentation to interpret. Photos alone are not enough. Photos with interpretation of learning that includes the voices of the children should provide the teacher with enough data to reflect. The key is to be reflective and to interpret. Take initiative to go beyond making statements that the child enjoyed or had fun during the experience and consider what the child was thinking and what interested the child during the experience being recorded. What was the child curious about?
In some notes on the topic of empathy and belonging, Paterson discusses the way in which the focus is on celebrating the strengths, rather than focusing too much on deficits:
At a time of increased conformity and standardisation in education, I like to offer the Reggio Emilia approach as a different path of possibility. One of Reggio’s key aims is to look at what children can do, rather than what they can’t. In Reggio Emilia schools, children with disabilities receive first priority and full mainstreaming under Italian law. Instead of being labelled “children with special needs” they are labelled “children with special rights.” Every child is seen in terms of the resources and potential they bring, rather than what’s missing.
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”.
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.
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.
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?