Why we document - part 6
Sometimes I think we make pedagogical documentation more complicated than what it really should be... and much of that is to do with policies and the need to write reports and updates about each individual child.
While I think it is important to see each child, and to ensure that we see and understand each child... writing reports/reflections in this manner does not always allow us to see their learning... it is more about measuring and proving to authorities that the work is being done. Sadly I think to some extent it prevents the actual work being done.
Having said that I have seen some settings where there has been no documentation at all... I have gone to the children's files to read about what they have been learning, their interests and past development talks with parents etc... and there are maybe a few sheets of paper per child that cover several years.
There needs to be a way that ensures that documentation exists to enable the educators and children in their learning journeys but also not to the other extreme of it being over controlled about what and how it is filled in...
We need to see the documentation as a way to capture the questions asked by the children and the phenomenas that they are exploring, as well as their development - social, emotional, physical and cognitive - and also their ability to be participants in their own learning - instead of of what is happening. It is also not really about following an individual child's development but the importance of every child's contribution to the whole and that a child's knowledge and understanding is ever changing.
As I have stated in my previous posts in the series, getting the children involved in this process is essential. Pedagogical documentation cannot be done in isolation... and if you do not have colleagues to talk with you do have the children and their parents. And these days there is the added benefit of the internet... exploring theories and ideas with educators around the world can be helpful and stimulating, as long as it is done sensitively and not risking the integrity of the children you work with.
I think we are all comfortable with listening to words... but how do we listen to actions?
This is something I will explore in my next post in this series about documentation.