Parenting my small person for the past two years has created a bit of a reading ration and I was worried that I would never get my mojo back! Each time I picked up a book, I would envisage relishing the ‘me’ time and begin with enthusiasm. But snatched moments to read disjointed paragraphs meant that I soon lost my gusto.
But it’s back!
I’m currently reading The Hundred Languages of Children and have recently stumbled across blogs such as Interaction-Imagination and Technology Rich Inquiry Based Research. I had forgotten how much reading gets my thinking juices flowing and helps to formulate my opinions.
But here I am, reading! Absorbing the thoughts, opinions and practices of a wide variety of passionate, experienced educators and the theme which I see emerging, is that of democratic education; education as a process which undertaken by all those involved, not something which happens to children.
Last week I applied to study for a Masters of Research at my old haunt, Manchester Metropolitan University, and I have a good idea of what direction my research will take. As a home educator and lover of all things alternative and holistic, there are a million topics and ideas which I could focus on. However, a recent online Early Years Conference, organised by Kathy Brodie, really made me consider the idea of pedagogical documentation as a democratic process (research title right there?!). Suzanne Axelsson and Debi Keyte-Hartland are both passionate about making learning visible, as per the Reggio Emilia approach to education and looking at Claire Warden’s Floor Books and how they have been incorporated to great effect in the UK, creating more and more active, as opposed to passive, learners, means that I would like to uncover how pedagogical documentation is used to this effect.
The documentation process modelled in Reggio Emilia is said to help maintain confident, intrinsically motivated learners. The Reggio approach to education is contextual though and there are many, many other ways in which learning is democratic. However, documentation is a good start.
I never thought that I would be excited about researching documentation, essentially planning and assessment, once assumed by me as the dullest topic in existence. But recent reading has ignited this desire to learn more and to understand how making learning visible could benefit all learners, not just those in Reggio Emilia or those fortunate enough to attend schools in the UK who have adopted the approach.
I envisage frustration. My old friend self-doubt will make an appearance, or many, I’m sure. And being a student again will mean snatching time away from my sleep thief to think, read and write. But I’m excited. My desire to learn is intrinsic – how can that be fostered in schools?