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Learning journeys, observations, evidence etc..........

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by funny, May 30, 2010.

  1. I was thinking about sharing that child's learning and next steps so that other practitioners would be aware.
    Msz, I've forgotten if you work in nursery or reception. Do you fill in the profile and keep evidence towards that as well? What other assessing do you do?
     
  2. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    As a team we planned daily the next steps would be discussed then ...
    I no longer teach in either but I was the reception teacher in a FSU. I moved to Y2 in January but when I taught reception I completed the profile (as is a statutory requirement) but didn't keep huge amounts of evidence which has never been a problem for Ofsted or our yearly moderation.
     
  3. missjivebunny

    missjivebunny New commenter

    We also make learning stories in our nursery and reception as a record of 'wow' moments. These vary in presentation - some are a bit like a photo comic strip with small captions, some are a bit more descriptive. This is actually thanks to one of our parents, who was brave enough to approach us as a kind of parent representative and say 'Look - we cannot understand these stories you keep sending us home', as originally they were simply handwritten long observations - we had just popped the title 'My Learning Story' at the top. And we did millions of them. For every child. After speaking to this parent, I though 'Who am I doing this for?' and realised it was benefitting nobody. In the new format, I put the photographs in order and write a caption for each one. Sometimes I put bullet points down the side describing what is going on and sometimes I will write a comments such as 'We worked really well as a team', or 'This showed that I have a great imagination!' This format seems better for sharing learning with the parents - they are able to share them with their children because they get a good visual idea of what is happening as a cue for discussion. Sometimes they will send us a comment or reply, although this is required.
    Like Msz, we use these learning stories to record 'wow' moments - so it is a given that some children end up with more than others. But wow moments vary from child to child. For some of my children, a wow moment is the first time they engage with another child with a smile. For others it is when they wobble off on a two-wheeler bike for the first time, fall off, then get back on. For another it will be when they use plastic sausages to sing 10 fat sausages sizzling in a pan and then go and write a load of related sums on the whiteboard. You just have to recognise the things that are worth celebrating for each individual.
    We sometimes print off another copy of these learning stories to go in their special books sometimes we will 'profile point' this copy.
     
  4. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Am I alone in finding the use of the words 'Learning Story' a bit, um, pretentious?
    A lot of our parents find the phrase 'Learning story' misleading because they asssociate the word 'story' with what the rest of us do - a tale to be told. Why do we have to complicate things with pretentious terminology that we then foist upon parents?

     
  5. missjivebunny

    missjivebunny New commenter

    Inky I'm sure you're not alone in thinking that! In a little way I agree with you, especially about the parents association with the word story. However I enjoy doing them, especially if the little ones in question come and help me put it together, lovely opportunity for a little review and chat, the parents are used to them now and give some good feedback. Maybe I am a bit pretentious ;-) (See how I didn't say 'Inky that is rude and unsupportive and I am terribly upset like last time you didn't agree with me? I sure am a big girl now do you think?!) (And that isn't what I'm thinking I just responded that way once and I am making fun of myself). On the subject of learning stories and titles, I THEN decided to give each learning story its own title like 'under the sea' or 'magnet magic' and the like. Now this was silly. I had to stop that because I was calling everything super eg 'Super construction' and 'Super water play' - unimaginative.
     
  6. inky

    inky Lead commenter

  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    But that is exactly what a Learning Story is, an ancedotal account of a moment in the child's day ... not to be confused with a blow by blow analysis of what Tommy did in the water tray and how that will equip him for a future career as a marine engineer, or with the need to tick boxes on the profile or with the desire to appease Ofsted or the EY advisor, just a fun tale, a memory to share with a parent.
     
  8. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Sorry MissJB I've managed to attribute Inky's quote to you (sorry Inky!)
    I sometimes gave my stories titles too - "Titanic" an adventure in the water tray - Hubble Bubble and Mission Impossible
     
  9. Thank you, this is a really helpful breakdown of how you organise your learning journeys. I'll be starting as an NQT in Nursery in September, and learning journeys are something the head is keen for me to implement. I've already used them for Reception children during my teaching practices, but it's always good to get ideas and hear about other teachers' experiences.

    I've never come across learning stories before but I'm keen to learn more about them. Thanks for sharing those links Msz! [​IMG]
     
  10. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Right as usual, Msz, and I'm now suitably ashamed. [​IMG]
    Basically, what makes me rail against all these things is that they're being highjacked for purposed of box-ticking assessments of our littlies.
     
  11. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Sorry Inky
    I completely agree about the box ticking and assessment use of Learning Journeys /Stories.

     
  12. This is all really interesting.

    I'm a KS2 teacher. I mentioned to our Head that my class had been doing some wonderful work on our Literacy topic and my head replied that she'd like to see a learning story based on it.
    According to teachers in our KS1/FS, we're supposed to include planning, photos, observations, samples of work, and then write an analysis on the learning done by the children, which doesn't sound like these at all. However, I've started pulling all of the work together, and its very interesting to look back on what the children and I have been doing.
     
  13. interesting but exhasperating. What a lot of time and effort we are putting in, usually outside our contact time with children. Time when we could do something far better like go for a swim (in my case), talk to colleagues or parents, sit and have an after work beer or coffee, let imaginations roam and maybe even laterally come up with brillant next step ideas that are much more meaningful thatn earnestly and obligedly constructed planning laboriously written up on the sunday afternoon before the new week/term starts. Time to let teachers generally stop being teachers enough to allow the teacher part to recover. The intensity and frequency of interactions with children require enough energy without there being an obligation to justify or record assessements and evaluations. We are teachers, there to teach according to the ways of learning of the age group. They are children, there to develop in the same way. A few words with parents mentioning personally related observations, reflections on change etc. is by far and enough for most parents. I sincerely believe there is an overkill of information, categorising learning over-zealously. Much of it is teacher speak and means little to parents who don't really ask for, nor need photogrpahic evidence or samples of learning. A small collection of random photos taken during the year which include their own child are as much, if not more, valued and treasured until teenagers (as I have seen first hand) as do anything else. Made up simply at the end of the year and not requiring huge amounts of investment in time. The measurement and observation do not make the children grow but interaction does so it is cause for reflection to consider just how we have allowed ourselves to be placed in the postion we are now in. Beholden to so many and not even masters of our own trade any more. I respect the many dedicated souls on here who are optimistic and commited to giving huge amounts of extra time to this. Although I thik they would be better served arguing the toss with whatever advisor or LEA suited corporate message bearer knocks on the door of their professional autonomy. However sadly, despite all the enrgy expended it doesn't mean we are better teachers for doing their bidding, and the doing of it is but a part of our own learning journey as teachers. My own journey has brought me to a point where I do not see the means justify the ends. My own experience tells me that it is neither efficient nor even reasonable to expect this to be done. Children at home, those with childminders, those in (the few remaining )paygroups will continue to develop just as well as they always have without their cares/ educators being burdened with the proof of their pudding being in the documenting. If we really think about it, deos this work have a direct bearing on growth and development in any way?(we might say it informs parents and allows them to support their child better- but does it? and hasn't always been a part of early years teaching it diesn't require a massive cataloguing and paper expenditure to do that). We might say it aids teacher reflection but teachers have always had tools to do this, often personal,idisoyncratic, or straight out of a bottle in smoke-filled moments, but no less powerful for being so. These often then result in just the sort of timely, appropriate, wise interactions that so many nuirsery nurses and teachers do so well, I guess to sum it up I am not in favour of a proliferation of obligations, designed by others, that affect my central ability to do the job which through intitial training and then subsequent hard-won experience remains ever fascinating, provoking ever deeper questions which need their time and space to find responses. Professional time and space which should be protected fiercely against encroachment, compulsion and ever more tiresome, well-intended but ultimately burdensome and unecessary, 'requirements'..
     
  14. hurrah hurrah hurrah! I so agree - and with the previous post that was concerned that these dreadful time eating Learning Journeys would become expected practice. Well sadly they have. In our school they are a mind sapping demoralising exhausting over fussy tedious slog. Every observation is levelled and dated and typed into the 6 areas of learning in a termly report. We are also required to have a minimum of 6 sheets of levelled photo evidence each term for each child. And on top of them we level against the P and National curriculum levels in great detail. Unfortunately some teachers love this sort of thing. Work load does not always come from the dept of ed - we all have a responsibility not to big up requirements into a format that becomes a weight for our colleagues to bear.
     
  15. Thank you yohanalicante for putting into words what I and I suspect many , many of us feel instinctively put cant articulate. and now if learning journeys are not enough we have replaced them with ipads; so instead of interacting with the children I am now required to basically stand in the middle of the room collecting evidence. Evidence of what? evidence that the children can learn by themselves with very little input from a teacher? I dont think so. what happened to scaffolding? are we now saying children dont need teachers? is that why we are often referred to as "facilitators" or whatever the new jargon is.God help us! Talk about the Emperors new clothes! thank you for the opportunity to vent!
     

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