Pedagogical Documentation: A Tool for Teachers

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Documentation and data collection are important parts of the job of teachers. The information gathered helps teachers make plans on how to help individual students and the entire class.

Pedagogical Documentation is a method of collecting data that will be used to understand and improve the learning that is taking place in your classroom. By using photography, videos, voice recordings, and notes, educators get as much data as needed to make a record of activities conducted, get to know each student, and track their progress.

How to Collect Information 

Plan your data collection well. Decide what to focus on—will you focus on one particular student? Will it be a small group of students? Are there any students who are isolated?

Aside from taking photos of the activity, take some close-up shots of students doing specific activities such as writing. Are they holding the pencil using the pincer grasp? Is their handwriting legible?

Collect data with a plan in mind. The point of this exercise is to get as much data as possible, but you want to make sure that the data is useful. 

An Example of Data Collection

A weekly collection of data is highly recommended. Map out all activities that will happen throughout the entire school week and determine while data collection method is best for which activity.

If you plan to conduct outdoor activities, you may want to take photos and videos. It might be best to take notes or make voice recordings to avoid distracting students in intimate class activities. It is up to you, the educator, to decide which documentation method is appropriate. The important part is to get enough data.

Some Considerations

·                      Before the start of the school year, make sure to inform the parents and guardians that you will be gathering data, which may involve taking photos and videos of their child. Assure them that these will be kept confidential and will only be used for internal documentation. If possible, have them sign a waiver.

·                      Be mindful of students’ behavior when you’re gathering data. You want to make sure that you are taking photos of people and activities as they are happening naturally. Some students might feel uncomfortable, while others might feel the urge to strike a pose instead of participating in the activity.

·                      Take a pause. Decide on a day wherein you will take a break from pedagogical documentation. Use this time to reflect on the events and activities that you have recorded during the week.  

Final Thoughts

Pedagogical documentation is different from ordinary documentation. Pedagogical documentation has the goal of gathering data to get to know the students and the overall learning environment in the classroom. This documentary information can be used when planning individual interventions. Pedagogical documentation encourages collecting detailed information about students and activities throughout the school year. With this effort, educators may be able to track students’ progress and be able to identify concerns that need to be addressed to create a conducive learning environment.

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