Wendy will share how documentation of formative assessment has the capacity to engage and strengthen teacher inquiry and enhance pedagogical practice in an early childhood setting. Learning Stories provides the platform to explore pedagogy and recognises that teaching is fundamentally inquiry in the domain of human attention and awareness (Mason 2002). Teachers’ reflections on the children’s learning and the teachers’ learning as a consequence of this illustrate how inquiry and documentation makes a powerful contribution to both strengthening teacher practice and enhancing pedagogical practice. Workable strategies for teachers, developed from assessment data, can construct opportunities for inquiry that recognise the learning journeys of both teachers’ and children. This creates powerful changes in pedagogy.
Annie will share this qualitative case study, which examined a four year interdisciplinary research project between a university’s Early Childhood Studies, Art, Performing Arts, Theatre, and Clay/Sculpture programs. Building on the work of Learning Stories (Carr & Lee, 2012; 2019), this study examined an adaptation of this approach referred to as My Stories, a process where students identify and share their social and cultural identities through narrative stories, visual art, clay and sculpture, improvisation, and interpretive dance modalities. The project focused on this interdisciplinary narrative approach on diverse students’ multiple learner identities and its impact on interactions and relationships, and the theoretical framework of Funds of Identity.
At California State University Channel Islands, the Early Childhood Studies program uses Learning Stories to strengthen relationships between mentors, university supervisors, and university pre-service teachers. In addition to writing Learning Stories to young children, university student teachers’ write Learning Stories to their mentor teachers where they are assigned to centres located in the local community where they complete practicum student teaching. Learning Stories are being used as a tool for professional development, formative assessment of student field teaching experience and learning, and strengthens relationships among adult learners. In a community of practice, pre-service teachers learn to write Learning Stories in the classroom settings with young children, and in addition, have found this approach a powerful self-reflection tool that can be used for mentoring, coaching and professional development that supports reciprocal life-long learning.