How can we make deep learning experiences visible for high school students and adult learners? Could we take a leaf from the Reggio Emilia early childhood pedagogy of listening and relationships? One of the key Reggio principles is documentation and Reggio educators refer to documentation as “visible listening.” When teachers stop and notice what students are saying or doing, they hone their capacity to respond in more informed ways.
Try to simply notice moments in class when things are going poorly or well and step back to closely observe. When this becomes more habitual, start taking photographs of especially powerful learning moments to revisit with students, or begin jotting down provocative or insightful quotes from students and share them with the class (try writing them directly onto laminated speech bubbles).
Once you become more familiar with the process of documenting, start asking students to do some of it, perhaps by rotating the role of student journalist within the class. Involving students in the documentation enables them to identify moments they want to remember. When teachers look at documentation with students, both teachers and students can gain new insights that help inform future learning and the students are empowered.
Marks and rankings are not the only way to share evidence of learning. Qualitative forms of sharing evidence are powerful ways to provide a more complete picture. Can we take the Reggio approach and scale it into new contexts?