Questions and Reflections About Pedagogical Documentation

Taking photos, jotting dialogue, taking videos, creating stories and poems, what is the point and what do we learn by doing this within the ECE classroom? Kind notes “Photographs by themselves are just photographs, but they can be made to tell a story a tall tale or outright lie when they are placed in context” (Kind,2013).  My group realized this when taking photos of our paint ideas. To anyone else in the class, these photos would be meaningless or confusing but to us each photo has a story, a question, and an inquiry we discovered together. Kind acknowledges the sometimes awful history of photographs and cameras, where there main purpose being to capture “the real, tangible, and objective world” (Pg.2).  Within the ECE classroom, cameras are used to help produce the inquiries, the discussions and the process. It’s not about the product or the end results.  We should not be taking photos for the purpose of taking a “good shot of the kids” or have it become staged, but to help create the process of their knowledge and understanding of their questions and ideas.  It is interesting to not think of the camera as a “tool” but as part of the process of your learning. A question I have is how will I know what photo is important and what to keep and what not to keep? I feel this is something that takes time and practice, but also depends on the students I will have.

The videos by Dr. Carol Anne Wien on the Ontario Ministry of Education website has helped with my understanding of Pedagogical documentation. She explains that “pedagogical documentation is a process of study that comes out of generating data that is meaningful to the person doing the study.  This includes photos, videos, writings, and new technological devices. The material that is generated we study it and it is the process of studying it that makes its meaningful.” Included in the video is a drawing done by a three year old, the child observed a  flower and using her eye and following was able to draw a beautiful flower; this all came from an educator posing an inquiry and documenting it so that we can acknowledge that yes even a three year old student can accomplish beautiful artwork.

I think the hardest thing for me as an educator following the process of pedagogical documentation will be how to find what is important, how to display the documentation in a way that does not distract from the  original inquiry and making sure that my documentation is what the children thought and not the way I would hope the children saw/ thought about an inquiry.

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