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#4 Making Learning Visible

I am just getting back to my hotel and I thought that I would rest before venturing back into the city for dinner. I am on the hunt for a slice of delicious Italian pizza – I have been craving it! I have also been thinking of a yummy crepe truck that I saw last night. I didn’t want to spoil my dinner last night; tonight, I am okay with doing it.

Today was another ‘busy brain’ day at the Centro Internazionale Loris Malaguzzi. Today’s presentations revolved around documentation, evaluation, and research in the daily context of the infant-toddler centers and preschools, in Reggio Emilia.

After listening to some guest speakers, participants had an opportunity to work in small groups. Our task was to discuss what we saw and heard from a research video on the role of the teacher.

I enjoyed meeting the educators in my group (one was from Peel District School Board, one worked at one of Seneca’s College’s Lab Schools and one was an employee of Compass in Peterborough). The conversations that we had were great. We were able to be open and challenge some of the images that we saw in the video, without judgment. By the time lunch arrived, I was able to make several connections to some of the key ideas which have come up at some of my Board’s professional learning sessions.

During our lunch break, I snuck back over to the bookshop and purchased some more resources…I’m so excited about using them in my professional learning sessions and enhancing my understanding of the principles behind the Reggio Approach. It was my last visit to the store…I hope.

Our afternoon was a continuation of the morning. We came together as a large group and shared some of the wonderings we had from the morning. It was interesting to hear the perspectives and ideas that other groups came up with.

Afterward, we had the opportunity to visit the preschool-primary school at the International Center. It was a fabulous learning experience! I loved looking at how the educators continue open-ended and inquiry-based learning beyond the toddler-preschool age. They both help develop critical thinking skills in the older grades; as well as add a modern learning feel to the experiences the students are a part of.

Today was filled with so many ideas. I wanted to share some of the ‘big ideas’ that I heard and walked away with today:

· when we transform our theory and our practice, we are reformulating what we know

· documentation is a strategy that makes visible the learning process of both the children and the educators

· there is a subjective element to all learning processes

· documentation allows one to go deeper into the meaning of events and with relations between things

· educators need to rethink ‘change of quality’ and ‘challenge of equity,’ when they are being responsive to the needs of their students

There were so many ideas and thoughts that I wrote down today, but there was one that stood out to me:

“Making it visible, therefore, making it questionable. The result is to have shareable experiences between the children and teachers, to build stronger relations.”

I hope that you can see the value of this statement. Our job as educators is to listen, challenge, respond and extend the learning of our students, in a manner that meets their current needs and interests.

I am pretty sure that I have left you with some ‘food for thought’ so I am now going to venture out to find that Italian pizza, but before I go, I want to share with you one last thing … it was the highlight of my day. Dr. Jean Clinton is a clinical professor at McMaster University and she is also one of the participants in this year’s study group. I have had the pleasure of hearing her speak, but today during our morning break, I had the opportunity to have a small chat with her. Dr. Clinton is a fabulous presenter who engages her audience. She is a wealth of knowledge and I encourage you to listen to some of her work which can be found on Edugains and read her article in “Think, Feel, Act”.

Buona Notte (goodnight) … here’s hoping that my craving for Italian pizza is fulfilled tonight!



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