Have you considered how you transport learning from one context to another?

It’s something we do implicitly, yet, the more explicit we make this process, the easier it is to make links for ourselves and for our students. Here’s where this thinking came from ….

Transporting learning

In our first Learning Pioneers “live” with Kath Murdoch (waaaay back in the first lockdown!), she talked about “transporting” learning with students – For example, pointing out:

 “Here’s you persevering in your football/soccer practice, and, look, we can take that disposition of perseverance and transport and apply it here to, for example, your maths learning.”

This has stuck as part of our Learning Pioneers philosophy ever since – Whatever we are learning, we wonder: 

How might we transport this?

This can be applied to our current inquiry line into “documenting teacher learning“:

If we document children’s learning visibly and encourage children to document their learning, what might that look like for us as adults?

What is documentation of learning? Why might we want to document learning in the classroom and as a staff team?

Documenting learning is a feature of the reggio emilia approach (check out this interview with Learning Pioneer Tara Kher exploring the links between the LPA and reggio emilia). It has many advantages and purposes, all of which link with the philosophy of the LPA, including:

  • Slowing down thinking
  • Creating an opportunity to make links between learning
  • Opening up space for wonderings and questions
  • Showing the journey of learning and discovery over time
  • Involving children in their learning process
  • Explictly building in reflection skills

So, pretty powerful! And very LPA! And as useful for us, as lead learners, as it is for our children (And a wonderful opportunity to model the model!).

Here is a video of Jessica Vance and Anne van Dam, our latest lead thinkers to inspire our thinking in Learning Pioneers, exploring why we might want to engage in documenting our own learning:

Does this “why” behind documentation for teachers resonate with you?

What jumps out for me is:

  • The value of changing our opinion and viewpoint based on new information – We can get so stuck in thinking we are “right” without taking the time to really examine our pedagogy or viewpoints; let’s open up to new ways of thinking!
  • “Slowing down the transaction of thinking” – We can feel so rushed in education!
  • Using documentation as a way to drive innovation – Boy, don’t we need that in education?!
  • Developing our own meta-cognition as educators
  • Being okay with the process of learning and not knowing yet – And perhaps never really knowing – Isn’t this practice, preparation for us in an uncertain world?!

Two types of documentation

In our learning community, we are exploring two types of teacher documentation:

  • Personal documentation, for example, in a notebook, floor book ..
  • Visible documentation, for example, by using the school walls to invite teachers, parents, students to share their thinking and feed into collective learning and thinking

We are also exploring how both of these forms of documentation can feed into whole school professional learning approaches like Lesson Study, Teaching Sprints and hub meetings.

Personally, I am very excited about the latter idea- visible documentation of teacher learning.

Imagine school corridors filled with provocations, reflections and provocations on pedagogy.

Imagine involving the whole school community in this process of learning

Imagine visible thinking routines driving this thinking

Imagine the opportunities for building trust, sharing practice, developing inclusion, gaining clarity around school vision and values.

And more!

Now we’re talking!

So, my intention was to share some thinking and examples of visible documentation of learning both in classrooms for students and in school corridors for teachers. Then, I realised I really had to lay the foundation for this thinking and bring you along on this journey. So, I will return with Part 2 with examples of documentation, imagining:

What might this look like in your school?

Do your students document their learning for themselves? And visibly? How might that look for the adults in your school?

How might we transport the documentation we are doing in the classroom with students to documentation of adult learning?

Do adults in your school document their learning visibly? What examples would you share of this working?

What impact might this have on: School cohesion, teacher agency, clarity of values, developing a learning culture, modelling the model or learning to our students (and therefore on student learning), progress, inclusion, family learning, and more!

Do share your initial thoughts and wonderings in this post and tag me on social too! (@beckycarlzon)


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