“BPS Makes! And Documents” Sophia and Yuhan: Independent Readings List

  • MacRae, C. (2013), Teacher, researcher and artist: Thinking about documentary practices. In F. McArdle and G. Boldt (Eds.), Young Children, Pedagogy and the Arts: Ways of Seeing (pp. 50-70). New York: Routledge.
    • Abstract: This chapter is about three identities—teacher, researcher and artist—and the construction of new knowledge that became possible through both intellectual and imaginative work. MacRae uses this chapter as a means of thinking through ways in which these roles might work together, creating a space for reflecting on practice. She suggests there is potential for artist productions as a means of developing and thinking about documentary practices in early years settings.
    • Application to our setting: MacRae found that documenting within the “teacher” identity often involved trying to fit the full complexity of the observed child into well-ordered categories on her observation sheets. Lived experience and the complexity of children defy such demarcation, and attempting to cram children into the gridlines of established observation protocols seemed disrespectful to her. Even “researcher”-like documentation, such as ethnography, risks “colonizing” children by trying to create an integrated portrait of them. On the other hand, looking at her documents with an artistic eye seemed to reveal more “depth and complex assembling” when she revisited her earlier documents of children’s art-making. “Field notes, photographs and film whose original function was to represent the field, became objects to be looked at—not to confirm what was already there, but to bring to the surface un-thought connections.” We need to avoid making our documentation system too systematic, and consider the possibilities and freedoms that art-based documentation could add to the conversation. The way MacRae mainly did her art-based documentation consisted of sketches and photographs with reflections. She also encouraged the children to take pictures and to post them to a blog, to which she also added her own reflections.


  • Delpit, L. D. (1988). The silenced dialogue: Power and pedagogy in educating other people’s children. Harvard Educational Review, 58(3), 280-299.
    • URL: http://faculty.washington.edu/rikitiki/tcxg464sp08/Silenced%20Dialogue%20by%20L%20Delpit.pdf
    • Abstract: This article, recommended to us by Daniel Baron from BPS, uses the debate over process-oriented versus skills-oriented writing instruction as the starting-off point to examine the “culture of power” that exists in society in general and in the educational environment in particular. Delpit analyzes five complex rules of power that explicitly and implicitly influence the debate over meeting the educational needs of black and poor students on all levels. Delpit concludes that teachers must teach all students the explicit and implicit rules of power as a first step toward a more just society.
    • Application to our setting: Delpit makes an interesting point about how, “Teachers do students no service to suggest, even implicitly, that ‘product’ [as opposed to ‘process’] is not important.” From this, it seems that documenting the products children make in the BPS Makes work is just as important as documenting the process. The process is where we can see learning occurring, but the product is what is ultimately what the students will be “judged” by. Indeed, it seems as if, in the Maker community, the makers who are most celebrated are the ones who make the “coolest stuff.” We also need to be aware that so far, the Maker Movement has been dominated by the culture in power. We need to avoid documentation processes that make this clear power differential less directly visible, while also making it clear that all students’ voices are valued.


  • Eubanks, E., Parish, R., & Smith, D. (1997). Changing the discourse in schools. In P. M. Hall (Ed.) Race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism: Policy and practice (pp. 151-168). New York: Routledge.
    • URL: http://publicschoolchoice.lausd.net/sites/publicschoolchoice.lausd.net/files/Changing%20the%20Discourse_Chapter%206.pdf
    • Abstract: This chapter focuses on two ideas. First, if American schooling is to be transformed, its participation in the reproduction of long-term unequal social arrangements must be eliminated. Second, the current dominant discourse in schools (how people talk about, think about and plan the work of schools and the questions that get asked regarding reform or change; called Discourse I) is a hegemonic cultural discourse, and the consequence of this discourse is to maintain existing schooling practices and results. Change can only come from establishing Discourse II in schools, a critical discourse that contributes to a “learning organization culture.”
    • Application to our setting: BPS has explicitly tried to align itself with Discourse II and the goals set out in this chapter to eliminate the predictive value of race, class, gender, etc. on educational (and consequently life) outcomes. We must therefore strive for our documentation system to fit within a Discourse II “learning organization culture” that values the learning of everyone above everything else. This seems to imply that any documentation the students do should advance their learning somehow, rather than being merely for teachers’ benefit or convenience. And teachers should also be able to learn from this; MacRae’s suggestion of combining student pictures with teacher reflections might be a way to promote teachers’ learning. Also, we should be careful of complaints about time, because “’Not having time’ is part of the sorting way of Discourse 1. If I (we) never have time to reflect, to consider, to question, then what prevails is how we do it now.” None of our suggestions should contribute to “sorting” students, either.

0 Responses to ““BPS Makes! And Documents” Sophia and Yuhan: Independent Readings List”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: