As we approach the end of this course, we take stock of the rich information we are gathering about a child through the assessment process, and return our focus to intentional teaching, which will form an important construct for the final part of our learning story and our planned response to what has been observed.
At the end of Part 8, you will plan and carry out an intentional response to the learning you have observed and documented as you have participated in this course, and then create a short follow-up story or note to record these intentional actions and children’s responses to them. First, we continue our discussion of the concept of intentional teaching.
Our aims in this part of the course are to:
This will involve:
Revisit your learning so far
What are three things to look for when analysing children’s learning?
Drawing on your own analysis and the comments and discussion you have engaged with children, parents, whānau and other teachers, reflect on what have you learnt about this child and their learning through this assessment. What initial thoughts do you have about how you will respond?
Share this reflection with a colleague as the basis for a reflective conversation.
We come now to writing the last section of our learning story: the responding section. This is an opportunity to begin a cycle of intentional and reflective teaching and interaction with a child that aims to support their learning.
Remember, in Part 3 of the course we described intentional teaching as taking a thoughtful, considered approach, and deliberately and purposefully teaching, interacting and responding to children in ways that further their learning. Intentional teaching builds on the notion that learning takes place through children’s participation and interaction with more knowledgeable adults and peers in shared activities, and supported by research which demonstrates that sustained and reflective interactions between teachers and children promote extended learning for young children. This means that intentional teaching behaviours comprise activities such as active involvement in children’s play, asking questions, making suggestions or comments, initiating projects or investigations, or resourcing environments for children’s play and exploration.
Relate your learning to practice
Once we have noticed and recognised learning occurring, and made some hypotheses about what is going on for the child in terms of the interests, working theories and dispositions they are exploring and consolidating, we need to ask: What are we going to do with this information? How will this understanding of the child affect how you interact with them in a similar situation? What does it suggest about the kinds of materials and environments children need to continue this learning?
We know that it is important for children’s learning that we as teachers are intentional about what we are doing. One of the most powerful things about a learning story is that it helps us to reflect on learning at a distance, and enables us to be more thoughtful in formulating plans for responding to children. The process of writing a learning story also gives us space and time for ongoing discussions with other people that know the child well that can further inform our planning.
The quality of our planning for the next steps depends on the quality of our observation and analysis. However, you are not always going to able to pinpoint exactly a child’s motivations and interest. The responding section builds on the understandings and hypotheses you developed about children’s interests and learning in the analysis section. While this will hopefully further children’s learning, the act of testing your hypotheses will further your understanding of the child too (this remains true if your planned response doesn’t hit the mark for the child!).
Watch a video
In this video I talk through the steps involved in responding intentionally to children’s learning.
Relate your learning to practice
There are two parts to this activity.
Determine which aspect of the learning you have recorded in your learning story you want to focus on to extend, expand or strengthen for this child. What would be your goal for their ongoing learning? Formulate some plans for extending or expanding children’s learning, and write the ‘next steps’ part of your learning story. Use these pointers to help you:
Questions that may help you think about planning
After putting your intentional response into action with this child in your centre, write a follow-up note to your learning story, about the actions you took to further that child’s learning and their effects on the child’s learning, or on other ways in which the child has continued to explore similar ideas or areas of learning. Think about how you are going to demonstrate continuity and show the connections across this story and the last, and about the best way to record this follow up. Does it need to be another learning story, or a shorter snippet or note perhaps?
- What systems does your early childhood setting have in place to enable you to get feedback and additional interpretations of the learning happening in your learning stories from colleagues?
- How effective are these processes?
These are the key points covered in this part of the course: