Friday 21 September 2018

Pedagogical Documentation

Would a two-day retreat focused on pedagogical documentation and place conscious learning help us understand documentation in a deeper way?   

Last weekend Dr. Laurie Kocher, Maureen Dockendorf and I (Judith King) held a retreat in Kaleden, B.C. where both Maureen and I live, on Pedagogical Documentation.  The retreat was mainly for SD67 and 53 but we were delighted to welcome two educators from other BC districts.

We started a journey with Laurie Kocher last year when she visited our districts several times, talking with teachers, visiting classrooms, and giving workshops; but the whole area of pedagogical documentation seemed just out of reach to most of us – difficult, not really understood, or maybe understood on some intellectual level but not practically.  Most of us struggled with beginning. 

So we wondered “Would a two day retreat focused on pedagogical documentation and place conscious learning help us understand documentation in a deeper way?  Would spending time with a community of learners experiencing HOW to document make a difference?  If we offered this experience would anyone come?”

We dreamed it up in May; the retreat was full by the end of June, and there was a lovely anticipation happening early in September:

• I am so looking forward to the weekend!
• Thanks for including me
• I can’t wait for the weekend
• I forgot to send in my form.  
Am I still in?

Our intentions for the weekend were:
Embracing particularities of place
Nurturing awareness
Fostering dispositions
Becoming storytellers
Building a community of thinkers

The weekend itself far surpassed my expectations.  I wanted us all to be open to learn about pedagogical documentation and about place conscious learning, but it was much more than that as we:

• walked along the shores of Skaha Lake
• walked the hills of Kaleden
• read poetic quotes on the KVR trail
• analyzed documentation
• told stories around the fire
• ate together
• offered our gifts of teaching, listening, ceremony,     cooking, friendships
• wandered and reflected in Linden Gardens
• noticed the plants, birds, bugs, water, fire, rain, cold, wind
• worked in groups to tell a story of significance about the weekend
• asked others to be our critical friends
• bunked with friends

There was a lot of walking, eating, laughing, talking, and tears.  Stories were shared about inadequacies, frustrations, belonging, sacred spaces, learning, excitement, slowing down, noticing, gratitude, community, time spent with kids, place, family, and culture. 

The weekend was one of deep connections with each other and this place.  Some of the stories told on the final day, and the tweets during and after the retreat helped me see the deep learning and the way our intentions had been met.   

R: “Being comfortable outside and curious, is a powerful feeling 
that settles all that stirs or swirls within me.”  

S: “I taste freedom, words on my tongue, excitement – 
I have been waiting for this for ten years.”  

J: “Throughout this weekend of reflection, I am astounded at how deep my roots run in this place.  The stories that reemerged from connecting to this land, my history, my family – my place!  I was moved to tears many times.  A very unexpected and profound Learning experience for me.”  

N: “We want children to tell their own stories but to understand 
that they will be interwined with the stories of others.”  

J: “Full of gratitude for a profound weekend of learning into pedagogical documentation.  
Generous abundance of opportunity, space, place and connection.”  

With deep gratitude for all those who gave up a weekend to learn together.

Submitted by Judith King

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