Assessment & Intentional Teaching in ECE | Self-Directed

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    Welcome! We’re so glad you are joining us for this course on early childhood assessment and intentional teaching. The course starts with this introductory podcast from course director Dr Vicki Hargraves. You can listen to it now here:

    Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Ko Vicky Hargreaves ahau, and welcome to the course.  I’m really delighted that you’ve chosen to enrol on this course on Assessment and Intentional Teaching practices, as I think this is the most important foundation for really effective teaching in early childhood education. In this recording, I want to outline the content of the course, and inform you about some of the expectations and requirements, so that you can get the most out of the course. In this course, we see assessment and intentional teaching as interlinked within a process requiring data collection about children’s learning, primarily through observation, and a process of interpretation and analysis. These processes are often reported through the form of a narrative or learning story, which Te Whāriki suggests is most appropriate for assessing children’s progress against its goals and outcomes, which are very open-ended and open to multiple interpretations. In other words, narrative assessment is complex, and it takes sophisticated skill to do it well. It’s not about creating a book of pages for a child that serve as a memento of their time in a setting. I’ll always remember being asked to write a story for a child because she hadn’t had one that month. I had to try and fabricate something meaningful. Of course, the point of assessment is more about informing ongoing teaching actions. At the other end of the scale, another problem I’ve personally struggled with is about how in-depth to go. I confess I’ve written a book of pedagogical documentation about one group of learners’ interest in digging deep holes in the sandpit, but I just wonder how well it fed forward into ongoing learning when it was so huge and unfocussed. 

    We know we should be teaching intentionally in planful and thoughtful ways, and these intentions should be informed by our assessments, but when children’s learning is assessed in a rich and holistic way, working out exactly what it means for children’s ongoing learning is not easy. So we’ve written this course for those who are unfamiliar with narrative assessment and intentional teaching. It might also be useful for very experienced teachers who are looking to refresh, improve or affirm their current practice, and in this regard, we share some new tools and methods for assessment practice that can be used alongside learning stories, and hopefully enrich them.  I hope you find the course valuable.  

    The course is structured into eight parts, with approximate an hour to an hour-and-a-half’s work in each part. As this is a self-directed course, you can plan to complete the course in your own time. Some of the work is quite independent, such as reading online, watching videos, and writing personal reflections.  For other parts, you’ll need to dedicate a bit of your working day in your centre to collecting information and talking to people, but the good thing here is it’s all put towards writing a genuine learning story for a child in your setting.  You’re going to learn about how to observe children effectively, including through the use of some structured observation tools, and then you will put it into practice by observing a child in your setting. You’ll learn about the different parts of a learning story, at the same time as actually writing these parts. You’ll also learn about how to use the story you’ve written, to respond intentionally to children’s learning, and finally, you will plan and implement a specific and intentional response in your setting. At the end of the course, you’ll have a meaningful learning story for the child, and you will have hopefully gained some useful strategies and principles for writing learning stories and responding intentionally that you can continue with in your everyday practice.  

    At certain points during the course, we’re going to ask you to have a reflective conversation with a colleague acting as a critical friend. Here, you’re looking for someone who you can trust and share ideas with, and who will offer you helpful and constructive feedback. It will be someone you can co-construct understandings with – someone who you can puzzle with about the meaning of a learning event you’ve observed. It will be good if that person has knowledge of the children and families that you work with, but it needn’t be someone who’s a whizz at assessment - just someone you can bounce ideas off.  We can learn a lot from the perspective of others, and we tend to come up with better ideas in a pair than we do independently. When you’ve decided who this person might be, it’s a good idea to ensure that you’re both clear about the purpose of the relationship. You can explain that this course requires you to have reflective conversations and that there will be specific questions to structure your conversation. You’ll need to set aside a little bit of time, perhaps 20 minutes, for the conversation, and it’s important to know that there will be three reflective conversations required during the course. You can prepare for the conversation by writing or printing the questions, and reflecting on them yourself. Then, you can start the conversation by reading the question, and sharing your initial thoughts before asking your colleague what they think.  

    As with most things, in this course, you’ll find that the more you engage with the practical parts of the course, and the reflective conversations, the more you’ll be able to learn.  You’ll also remember what you learn, when you actually put it to some use.  Well, let’s get started. Wishing you a great experience with this course – kia ora from me.

    Next you can watch the video below from The Education Hub’s founder Dr Nina Hood, and then read more about the course.

    Watch a video

    Accessing the course

    The easiest way to access the course is from your Dashboard, shown above, by clicking on the course title. Each time you return to the course, you can pick up where you left off.

    Please note: to complete the course and earn your certificate, you MUST click the Mark complete button when you finish each part of the course. Completed parts are shown in the sidebar with blue ticks. If parts do not have a blue tick beside them, you need to go back and click Mark complete at the bottom of the page.

    To access your Dashboard at any time, either choose Log in next to The Education Hub logo at the top of the website, or click on your username in the same location, if you are already logged in. If you have more than one email address, please ensure you log into the course with the email address you used to register.

    Please note that the course is designed to be completed on a laptop, desktop computer or tablet, and is not optimised for use on a mobile phone. If you have any technical issues, please email us.

    About this course

    The aims of the course are to:

    • Understand how effective assessment practices in early childhood education support teachers’ intentional practices and enhance children’s learning
    • Develop skills in using the learning story format of early childhood assessment to examine the processes and principles of assessing and responding to learning in early childhood settings.

    The course has a strong focus on understanding the nature of quality in assessment in Early Childhood Education (ECE), and on helping you to engage in high-quality assessment practice that supports you to notice, recognise, and respond to children’s learning in intentional and meaningful ways.

    There is also a strong practical component to the course, and you will be supported to observe, assess, and intentionally plan for learning within your own setting.

    The course is made up of 8 parts. Each part is estimated to be about one hour’s work, not including additional tasks that you will complete in your early childhood setting. Please work your way through each part in order, using the Complete buttons to keep track of your progress.

    The course consists of the following elements:

    • Videos to watch and readings to introduce key ideas.
    • Questions for reflection, to help you engage as much as possible with the course content. Some of these might be personal, written reflections that you complete on your own, and others will invite you to find a colleague at work with whom to engage in professional discussion, using our reflective questions as a prompt.
    • Activities, such as evaluating and writing learning stories, so you can apply what you are learning about assessment and intentional teaching.

    Please work your way through each part in order, using the Mark complete buttons at the bottom to keep track of your progress. If you forget to do this, you can go back and mark them complete at a later stage. Your certificate will be available once all parts have been marked complete.

    In the last section of the course, we will ask you to provide feedback on your experience. As you go through the course, please note any issues or mistakes, and include those in your feedback to help us to refine the course experience. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    We look forward to working with you. Once you’re enrolled, you can get started on Part 1 when you’re ready.