Friday, February 15, 2013

Reflections on Observing & Programming

I have been pondering a great many things ... It’s part of my job you see. BUT in this pondering I have had some conscious ideas about my practice as an educator. 

Many people are in this cycle: 
  1. We see the child doing something.
  2. We (the all-knowing-educator) then decide that the child will do something else that we choose based upon all our knowledge (which we can’t admit might be limited!) and our perspective (which again, isn’t necessarily a balanced one!)...
  3. We then observe and make judgements based upon whether the child has achieved what we have set out for them to do.
  4. We then document our findings based upon this one moment where the child may or may not have done what we wanted them to do...

Does anyone else see what might be wrong with this cycle?

This is many people’s planning cycle! This was my planning cycle ... We see, we make choices, then we act, then we evaluate and go again ...
Why don’t we plan for many different possibilities rather than just the one? Why don’t we problem solve and think about how many other ways we can support children in their learning and growing and being and becoming? 

I think the problem is the new is being overlapped with the old ... You know the old school way of doing things where we just essentially programmed in the boxes ... I always hated doing this and I was and am a day book programmer ... But even now I’m thinking of other ways I can do the same thing without the day book ... The day book requires (for me at least) a computer and time to write ... and not everyone will have that. I've started playing around with other ways and am starting to ponder using documentations and mind-maps and webs, even notations!

I’m not providing you with any concrete answers here ... I might even be leaving you with more questions! But what I’m thinking is ... what happens if we provide really excellent learning environments for children that are well thought out (because we write reflections) and have so much content that will support children over time ... 

Time to learn and grow being the key here ... 

What if, when we are writing our observations or reflections on particular children’s learning and growing, we make suggestions about:
  1. Different experiences within the learning environment that might already suit the needs of the child or the group as a whole?
  2. Different teaching strategies that might support that child achieve that outcome or milestone or satisfy their need?
  3. (Here’s some novelty) Act NOW! What can you do NOW to support that child? Is it asking a question or providing a resource to extend their engagement? Could it be role modelling by their side? Or could it possibly be helping them hand over hand? Could it be as simple as a smile of encouragement!? Write THAT down!
So that is what I have been wondering ... how much of what we already do in regards to our teaching practice is left unsaid and undocumented? How much of what we might be able to do, but feel we can’t do because it has to be something that we “follow-up” or do later is left undone, or done so far in the future that it no longer serves a purpose for that child?!?!

Signing off,

G @ Teacher’s Ink.

© Teacher’s Ink. 2013