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    Programme 2020-2023
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    Young children's language learning pathways
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What documentation is about and why it is important

Documenting is the systematic recording of a child’s learning and development. Documenting the different language learning pathways of the child will involve different elements, sources, and modalities. This might include visual and audio documents: pictures, drawings, photos, recordings, worksheets, and notes. Children should play an active role in the process of documenting, including being given the opportunity to reflect on what has been included, who it is shared with, and decide on what is included. This will allow children to reflect on their own learning process and progress. The documentation can take a variety of different formats and needs to consider the (development) needs of the child and align with the teaching and learning practices of the teacher or educator, as well as the framework of the class, school, and education system. 

The role of documentation in making language learning pathways visible in the education system

  • Documentation provides on ongoing record of the child’s progress and development that can accompany the child throughout their learning journey
  • Supports the child in reflecting on their language learning, including the skills and competences gained
  • Allows for the next steps to be identified by the teacher / educator in collaboration with the child.

Tools for documenting language learning pathways

Tools can involve formal or informal documents or files which provide an indication of what competences the children have achieved and to identify the next steps on their (language) learning journey. Some of these will be part of the day-to-day learning and teaching process, especially where these relate to the language of schooling or additional languages taught within the education system. Tools might be formal, or more informal – either be used as part of the reporting and assessment process.

Containing written work, drawings, recordings and projects. Children should be encouraged to contribute and reflect on the entries Portfolios are most effective when used over a long period of time to track progress & development.
These might be from observations or activities and can provide a valuable insight into individual learning progress This might include work samples and project but also audio or vidoe recordings. Using anecdotal records is most effective when comparing earlier and more recent work..

They are used to assess specific langauge skills or competences. These can act as objective evaluations in specific areas such as vocabulary acquisition, use of grammar, reading comprehension or oral communication. Checklists are most effective when used with clear criteria and descriptor s to allow for objective evaluation
These are carried out to evaluate language proficiency and progress against learning criteria as outlined in curricular guidelines. Assessments are most effective when they align with learning objectives and used to provide clear feedback.

Reflective activity: Documentation to make language learning pathways visible in the classroom

Prior to documentation:
  • What will I be documenting? Will the focus be on any skill or competence, or progress against a set of criteria or curricular guidelines or the holistic development of the child?
  • Why am I documenting this information?
  • Who is this documentation for? Will it be used within the education system, or is it for children or their parents?
During documentation:
  • How can I provide an accurate record of the child's language learning journey?
  • What am I documenting and what will it tell me, the child, and the parents? What skills? What competences?
  • What is the progress the child has made against set criteria and curricular guidelines?
  • Why am I documenting? What am I going to do with the documentation? Is it intended as
    • a record of progress only?
    • A tool to plan teaching and learning opportunities?
After documenting:
  • How can this record be used to support the child's next steps on their language learning journey?
  • Who else can contribute to this record and how: the child, other educational professionals, and the parents?

Click here to find a range of resources and tools for documentation which can be used to make language learning pathways visible in the education system.