Documentation in an Elementary Classroom: A Teacher-Researcher Study

By Pauline Mesher.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This research sought to understand the role of documentation in an elementary classroom. As the teacher-researcher in a third grade classroom, the overarching question was to come to a better understanding of how documentation was carried out in the classroom including the types of documentation used, and the purposes they served. For this study, documentation was understood as any recording of or about classroom activities, students, or events influencing learning. Data forms included fieldnotes, videotapes, and classroom artefacts. The study employed complementary categorizing (Maykut & Morehouse, 1994) and contextualizing (Erickson, 1986; Merryfield, 1994) approaches for analysis. The computer software program Atlas.ti (Muhr, 1997) was used to aid the categorizing strategy. The contextualizing strategy resulted in the creation of narrative visual episodes (NVE) which are short, constructed videos of individual learning episodes.
Three main categories of documentation with corresponding teacher roles were uncovered in the data. The consequences of the documentation process resulted in what is defined as a reflectively explicit classroom. The major conclusions concern the importance of communication cycles, the need for flexible teacher roles, and the space provided for student participation.

Keywords: Documentation, Teacher Research, Videotaped Data, Teacher Roles, Student Engagement

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp.57-62. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 499.062KB).

Dr. Pauline Mesher

McGill University, Moringside, Gauteng, South Africa


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