Learning Circle Reflections - May 2017


The May 2017 instalment of Learning Circle Reflections comes from Helen Lyndon:

Elisabetta Biffi joined us from Italy to share her research; her visit was part of an Erasmus exchange organised through Ioanna Palaiologou. There are further notes on her work in her biography which can be accessed here; as well as links to her recent publications.

The focus of the session was about pedagogic documentation and Elisabetta particularly focused on fostering interpretation.

On a personal note, I was struck by two main things as Elisabetta talked. Her work was highly theoretically situated; she talked of a document as a social act (Ferraris, 2009) and of its ability to make learning visible (Gandini and Kaminsky, 2004). I was struck by the simplicity of the message that ‘writing was a tool for thinking’ and it resonated with my current role as a PhD student, as well as my previous role as a teacher.

She talked about different approaches to the documentation, a ‘completing style’ of documentation where the teacher tries to be objective, as well as a ‘narrative style’ of documentation where teachers enrich the instrument. In my experience, we all know the ‘narrative’ and appreciate its place but the reality of external pressures often force practitioners to adopt a ‘completing style.’

Secondly, Elisabetta introduced us to some fascinating and creative methodological ideas: mood boards to demonstrate participant’s responses, anecdotes to raise issues and develop mindful enquiry, ephemeral art, and exhibiting images to share the culture.

The discussion which followed Elisabetta’s presentation was rich and I know we all took so much away from the session; for me, it’s consideration of the integrated narrative in my own PhD.

We ended the session by making the very short walk to Brindley Place where we all enjoyed good food and extended the discussion, it really was a fantastic evening!


The next Learning Circle meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 20th June and will be lead by Donna Gaywood. It will focus on the experiences of Syrian refugee children in ECE. 

The Learning Circle meetings are open to all with an interest in early childhood studies.  You can request to join the Learning Circle Group on Facebook.


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