Documentation

Documenting any educational experience should demonstrate the process of learning. Do not photograph faces or use names in your documentation. We are interested in the evolution of the thinking and learning of the participants. Your primary purpose is to carefully watch and listen.  The evidence you collect must be composed thoughtfully, carefully, and professionally.

  • Bring your sketchbook/journal to record comments and dialogue between participants in the experience.  Consider the significance of these statements and conversations in relationship to the goal of the activity.  You need to think about what you need to listen for during the session.
  • Take multiple photographs/video of the activity.  You need to document the process of learning.  Avoid taking “snapshots” without a context.  Your goal is to unveil the emergent thinking strategies students are engaged in.
  • The final step in the documentation process is to compose your evidence in a form that allows constituents to view the process of learning that occurred during the lesson.
  • Consider the relationship between image and text.  Consider how the presentation of this information can help demonstrate learning.
  • The following tips are presented to help “capture” learning through your writing:

Consider verbs that demonstrate learning/thinking. In the process of making or creating or exploring or experimenting, the student…

Declared…

Explained…

Commented…

Questioned…

Planned and anticipated, recognized, questioned…

Assessed by…

Judged and…

Questioned…

Experimented and then realized…

Analyzed by…

Combined materials and stated….

Resolved by…

 

Show the beginning, middle and end of their making.

 

Consider commenting on affective qualities exhibited during learning/thinking. The participant…

Looked puzzled, confident…

Seemed surprised, hesitant, confused…

Expressed frustration, excitement, displeasure, curiosity…

 

Consider how you might include your own prompts (questions) that encouraged participants to reveal their learning/thinking.

 

Portfolio examples:

https://artedservicelearning.wordpress.com/

https://sites.google.com/site/artabilitiesservicelearning/home/about

https://sites.google.com/site/csuarteducationservicelearning/home

 

Reflection and Findings. What did participants discover while they were involved in this learning experience? This is when you make connections between educational goals and the documentation you’ve provided to the reader.

The reflective response is an essential component of your development as an authentic, reflective researcher. Components might include:

–Relate this event to theory, research and readings. What is your interpretation of these events based on current and historical research?

–Consider the meaning your this experience has for you as an individual. What does this experience mean to you personally?

–Relate your interpretation of the meaning of this experience as it pertains to your educational future. How will you configure or reconfigure your future actions as a researcher as a result of this experience?

Journal Example:

Experience Refelrction:  Wednesday was our first day of Service Learning Teaching. We have seven students in our class, and they all have different capabilities which will guide how we will differentiate and individualize the art lessons. In this first class we introduced the project of making mugs with personality. Several problems arose, but none extreme. One event that occurred during the lesson that turned into a small problem was the issue of understanding and communicating with two of the students. I found myself asking these two students a lot of questions trying to read their minds and faces. I tried resolving the problem by asking only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ type questions, which helped in some instances, because they could shake their heads. However, most of the time their responses were stares. With one of these students he would respond, just very quietly or in mouth movements, and I found that when I would lean forward and point to my ear and ask “Could you tell me that again?” I would catch more vowels and a couple more words. The insight that I learned is to exercise more patience with these students. It may take a lot of time working with them to gain trust and create a relationship. Then, it may become easier to read their behavior, and what it is that they want to tell you.

Interpretation/Content Meaning:  I realize that this was the first time these students have met all of us, and it can be scary and intimidating for them. There may be several reasons as to why these students are more difficult to understand. This may be a reason for us having a hard time understanding their needs, when they have not fully opened up with us yet. In my learning, the topic of verbal communication with non-verbal students (as well as a variety of verbal abilities) has not been discussed with much detail, however I have been taught always “check for understanding.” Of course it makes it increasingly more difficult to check for a student’s understanding if I, the teacher, do not understand the student. I will have to find alternative ways to check for understanding visually, rather than verbally.

Personal Significance:  After the two hours of modeling with clay, I will take home with me the fact that over planning is always better than under planning. We did not touch on everything we had in our lesson, but, knowing what you have planned is better than coming out short. We would have had to come up with something on the fly if the lesson ended early, which still would have turned out fine, but it is always better to know exactly what is going on.

Future Actions:  In the future, I will know my students better and will begin the process of differentiating and individualizing lessons for my students. This lesson was only difficult in the sense that we did not know how many students we would have or the skills, personalities, or understanding levels of the students beforehand. Now that we have been with them for two hours, that was a sufficient amount of time to learn their names and their abilities that make them unique individuals. My goal as a teacher is to provide all of my students with a learning experience that they will enjoy and take away a new skill or understanding in art.