Teacher Action Research- Documenting Teaching and Learning: A Teacher Action Research Project to Elevate Thinking and Learning in the Inquiry Process

Principal Investigator: Chris Wilson, Sylvia Gentile, Judith Cantor

UCLA Lab School teachers

PI Email:   cwilson@labschool.ucla.edu



Keywords: Inquiry, documentation, reflection


This year, the Inquiry Pedagogy Vision Committee is focusing on the role of documentation to support teacher planning and enrich student learning, specifically in the area of science and social studies. We are investigating how documentation enhances the inquiry process at UCLA Lab School. Often documentation is used at the end of the learning process to make learning visible. We believe documentation should be an interactive tool throughout the process that provides opportunities for students and teachers to reflect on and refine their work. Documentation should not be limited to the final student product. Our goal is to elevate the role of reflection by teachers and students and investigate the impact of using documentation in this interactive way.

The action research project will help us to identify ways documentation impacts teachers’ and students’ thinking about the content, the product, and the process of inquiry.  We will analyze data from student work and documentation to look for shifts in student thinking, evidence of understanding of science and social studies concepts, and patterns of group interactions. We will analyze data from teacher work and documentation to understand how teacher moves relate to student participation and learning, as well as to identify best practices for documentation. This project will be partially supported by a grant from the Cotsen Foundation for the Art of Teaching and support from the CONNECT office. The project goals are two-fold: to increase the types and use of documentation throughout the inquiry process, and to evaluate how these changes affect teacher planning and students’ thinking and understanding of science and social studies concepts. We hope the project findings will encourage more teachers and students to use documentation.