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Documentation valise

Dernière modification 10/02/2015 11:55

A way to deepen methodological questions by using the documentational approach: gathering materials with the aim to analyze and compare teachers' documentation work

The 'documentation valise' project relies on a metaphor: producing a teaching document is like a journey. In order to prepare for this journey, a teacher gathers resources, works on them, enriches them at each stage.

The preparation of a lesson 'brings to life', and provides room, for a new resource; the implementation of this resource in the classroom; the adaptation of the resource "on the fly"; reflection after the lesson; potential revision of the initial resource... The documentation valise is expected to gather both the materials necessary to engage in this journey; and the materials produced by this journey.

Following the methodology of reflective investigation, the researcher accompanies the teacher, curious to know what is, or should be, in the valise. The valise thus is a co-construction of both the teacher and the researcher. The valise is a result of their journey, and this journey is also a journey of teacher learning and professional development. As Nicolas Bouvier, a Swiss traveler, said: "On croit qu'on va faire un voyage, mais bientôt c'est le voyage qui vous fait, ou vous défait [trans.: "One thinks that one is going to make a journey, yet soon it is the journey that 'makes' or 'unmakes' one"]. The documentation valise project aims to open a window on both the teacher resource system and his/her professional development.

Such a project requires important means, particularly in terms of the work on video observations. It has been made possible thanks to the ICAP departement of Université Lyon 1 (Alain Bernard and Alice Treuvey), to the additional support of the ICT department of IFE (Nicolas Carel, Benjamin Abrial and Ahamada Mbae)... and of course to the teacher involved in this voyage.

This is just the beginning of the work, in line with the conceptualisation of the documentational approach (Gueudet, Pepin & Trouche 2012), offering opportunities for collaboration with other networks and projects. The French projects involved are the following: ReVEA (Living resources for learning and teaching), funded by the National Agency of Research; ViSA (Video of learning and teaching situations). Internationally the project links to Norway; Europe (MC2 project); China (the C2SE-JORISS project with ECNU in Shanghai),  Lebanon (the DOCENS project); Argentina (the REDES project); Brazil.

Work in progress...                                           Luc Trouche, January 23th 2014

First elements of definition

A valise contains elements used and produced by a teacher, her documentation work during her travel along a lesson cycle related to a given teaching objective. We define a lesson cycle as made up of four main moments: the teacher’s work for preparing a lesson linked to the selected teaching objective; the teacher’s work for enacting this lesson; the teacher’s work for evaluating students' understanding of this lesson; and the teacher’s work on her own documents. The label of a 'valise' refers to a teacher, a place, a mathematical topic area, a school level, and a time/date. For example: [Vera, France, statistics, grade 8, 2013].

The documentation valise project aims to collect different valises, in different places/countries, hence opens the door for comparative studies: e.g. comparing such valises (of the same teacher) for different topic areas; or the same topic area in two successive years; or two different classes. Or two different teachers of the same school, same topic, same year, etc.. The idea of collection, and the objective of comparison, need to establish, as precisely as possible, the 'rules' for filling a valise, hence providing the parameters for the journey. We do not have a single model in mind, but expect that each case will have its particularities. However, we would want to establish a common frame for designing (different) valises, and this design process may lead to different sub-collections (for example a sub-collection dedicated to teachers collective work, aiming to capture the critical moments of this work, leading to a valise for a collective journey)..

The current version of the valise is composed of 8 folders: methodology (tools for collecting and for analyzing data); context description; teacher background; teacher’s general resources; teacher’s resources related to the lesson (also named local resources); videos of the lesson cycle, including description and transcription; students’ resources (including notes of the lesson, student work and answers to tests related to the lesson); associated research.

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Such a collection of valises aims, at the theoretical level, to deepen the documentational approach itself. At a practical level, it can be used for research on teacher professional development based on documentation analyses; or for pre-service or in-service teacher education, and/or training of instructional leaders.

A first valise: Vera, France, statistics, grade 8, 2013

This first case has allowed us to develop the concept of the documentation valise. The presentation of the valise content, according to the current structure, is still in progress. The videos will be translated at a later stage, as well as various documents (which are still in French), e.g. students sheets for example.

1) Methodology

General principles; guides for data gathering (interviews, schematic representations, video recording…); guides and tools for analyzing data. Acces to the methodology folder

2) Context description

Brief descriptions of the schooling system; description of the school context, its social environment, its pedagogical project/s, teachers' condition of work (regarding documentation and collective work); description of the class; description of the curriculum; and of the lesson under investigation. Acces to the context description forder.

3) Teacher background

Academic and professional history (basic studies, teacher education, teaching experience/how many years teaching and in which classes); recent teaching; present interests (involvement in school matters, with colleagues, special projects…); interactions with the researcher/s before collecting the data (why and how the teacher is involved in such a “valise making”). Acces to the teacher background folder.

4) Teacher’s general resources

“Natural” resources of the teacher gathered and presented by the researcher  (elements of general progression, views on the resource system, critical resources); resources produced by the teacher using the tools provided by the researcher. Acces to the teacher's general resources folder.

5) Teacher’s resources related to the lesson

“Natural” resources of the teacher gathered and presented by the researcher (elements of local progression, resources for the lesson, resources used during the lesson, resources used for the test; resources produced by the teacher using the tools provided by the researcher. Acces to the teacher's local resources forder.

6) Videos of the lesson cycle
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Scripts and videos of four critical moments are proposed. Acces to the lesson cycle video folder

7) Students resources

Students written notes : class work and homework ; tests.; students exercices sheets (critical examples); students interviews… Acces to the students resources folder.

8) Associated research

Papers related to Vera's case; papers about the usage of the resources of the Vera documentation valise. Acces to the associated research folder.

Main reference

Gueudet, G., Pepin, B., & Trouche, L. (eds.) (2012). From Text to ‘Lived’ Resources: Mathematics Curriculum Materials and Teacher Development, New York, Springer.


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