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Making Learning Visible at Project Zero With a focus on documenting individual and group learning, thirty educators (pre-K through higher education) met monthly with researchers from Harvard’s School of Education, Project Zero, Making Learning Visible (MLV), 2002-2005. This group included Wheelock faculty, Bobbi Rosenquest and Stephanie Cox Suarez; adjunct faculty, Karen Daniels and Maggie Donovan; as well as Wheelock alumna, Adeleine Rodene and Danikka Giarratani. We explored how to support close listening and deep learning in our respective classrooms using the tool of documentation. Some questions we considered … What are the essential elements of a powerful learning group? (Deb Dempsey, 3rd grade teacher, Plainville, MA) How can I use documentation to create a more equitable learning environment and demonstrate the value of equity in our learning together? (Jen Hogue, high school ELA teacher, Cambridge Rindge and Latin) How does one balance the group’s interests and learning experiences with a teacher’s accountability of required goals and objectives? (Joanne Cleary, kg teacher, Tobin School, Cambridge) Teacher Educator Focus As part of the MLV research, a small group of teacher educators (Bobbi Rosenquest & Stephanie Cox Suarez (Wheelock College) and Lisa Fiore (Lesley University) worked closely with Terri Turner and Mara Krechevsky (MLV researchers) to focus on adult pedagogy and the use of documentation in higher education classrooms. As teacher educators, we explored various ways to document learning in our higher education classrooms with pre-service teachers with a goal of making adult learning visible. How do you help children and adults see themselves as learners in a group and why is this important? In what ways might documentation bring more perspectives and student voices into our higher education classrooms? What does it mean to be a member of a group of which one is also the facilitator, instructor, and observer? Lisa, Bobbi, Stephanie and Terri Reggio Study Tour, April 2007 Looking at children’s work in seminar. Democracy Inquiry Group (DIG) Once the MLV research phase ended, the small group of teacher educators extended to form a larger network of faculty and school directors across ten institutions (2006 – present). This group meets monthly at Wheelock and refers to themselves as the Democracy Inquiry Group (DIG). Goals for the group include the creation of a community of researchers who support and contribute to the understanding of how adults and children learn; collaborative relationships across several institutions who contribute to a collective body of knowledge on the practice of documenting individual and group learning. The group is currently editing and contributing to the journal, Theory into Practice in a themed issue called, Documentation Across Contexts: Changing the Culture of Education (Winter 2010). DIG participants include: Stephanie Cox Suarez, David Fernie, and Bobbi Rosenquest - Wheelock College; Lisa Fiore, Ben Mardell, and Joanne Szamreta - Lesley University; Vicki Bartolini - Wheaton College; Susan Redditt - New England College; Debbie Lee-Keenan and Heidi Given - Eliot-Pearson School, Tufts University; John Nimmo - Univ. of New Hampshire; Mara Krechevsky and Melissa Rivard - Project Zero (Harvard School of Education); Christine Chiaco-Forsythe - Ready to Learn Providence; Susan Twombly - Acton Infant Toddler Center; Marina Boni - Boston Public Schools. This group receives funds as collaborative research from Wheelock’s Research and Development as well as funds provided by Lesley University. What does a democracy look like in a higher education classroom? Since using documentation in our staff meetings, how has the culture changed? How can we effectively use a narrative to assess a teacher’s competencies or a child’s learning?
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