Thursday, 1 November 2012

Telling Stories : Pedagogical Narrations

"So that's what reflective practice looks like!"  

This is what I found myself saying last spring when I attended a workshop called "Investigating Quality" at the ECEBC conference in Richmond.  I was watching Kim Atkinson and Danielle Davis demonstrate a practice called "pedagogical narration" whereby they openly describe a moment in their practice among peers.

More specifically, the educator tells a story - often accompanied by images of the child/children - among colleagues who then ask questions or make comments about the story.  This is not a problem-solving process.  It is a pure reflection that is articulated and discussed among colleagues to gain insight into children as well as how we interact with them.  It is about finding the questions, not the answers.  This kind of practice is strongly supported in the BC Eearly Learning Framework.

In my teacher training year, the term "reflective practitioner" was understood to be a solitary process that was very general in nature.  While useful, this practice does not engender the synergy and connections that arise from a collaborative reflection that has a structure to it and that is borne out of observation.

"Being in the moment", being present enough to truly "notice" what is happening around you takes practice - and lots of it.  How many people do you know who can truly live in the moment?

After that workshop in Richmond, I approached Kim and Danielle and asked if they would be interested in coming to Fort St. John - and they were!  This conversation led to a workshop that we attended last week with several community ECE colleagues as well as Kindergarten teachers and district staff.  Most importantly, it has led to the development of a collaborative group that is meeting several times this year and sharing their pedagogical narrations.  

Kim and Danielle come from ECE backgrounds and have teamed up under an initiative called "Images of Learning Project" where they present this narrative approach to viewing children as "co-constructors" of knowledge.

One of the most important elements that I took away from our workshop with them last week was the concept that young children are not the citizens of the future, they are "citizens now" - competent individuals that don't simply follow our linear understanding of them.

Great workshop.  Have a great week.

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