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Enhancing learning? Exploring the use of assessment methods as pedagogical tools to promote effective learning and teaching in early childhood studies
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 12:37 authored by Paulette Luff, Rachel Pryor
This paper highlights aspects of our experience as “exploratory practitioners” researching the use and the value of two modes of assessment (web-based discourse and sketchbook learning journals). We report our developing understandings of ways in which these can support and extend students’ learning. On our Early Childhood Studies (ECS) courses we emphasise approaches to young children’s education informed by socio-cultural theories. This promotes a view of learning which stresses the importance of shared meaning making and the co-construction of knowledge. Accordingly, we draw upon the Vygotskian concept of pedagogical tools, mediating and extending knowledge construction, and emphasise a close relationship between means of assessment and student learning. The study uses a case study design, apt for monitoring and explaining educational practices. Most data gathering is integrated into the module programmes with the sketchbook journals and the web-based discourse assessments themselves forming important sources of qualitative data, together with staff and students’ reflection on the processes. Evidence, from our initial analysis of findings, indicates that sketchbook learning journals can provide a means for students to capture, synthesise, reflect upon and critique their learning. Similarly, web-based discourse (as an element of blended learning) encourages collaborative study and offers opportunities for formative assessment, through e-tivities designed to support students’ reflective and critical thinking about inclusive policies and practices in early childhood settings. The paper concludes by summarising ways in which engagement with research-informed teaching has supported developments and improvement and deepened our understanding of learning and teaching processes.
Publication titlePRIME: Pedagogical Research In Maximising Education
PublisherLiverpool Hope University College