Making Learning Visible
For more information about this project and its research results, please see the Making Learning Visible website.
The Making Learning Visible (MLV) Project was based on collaborative research between Project Zero researchers and educators from the Municipal Preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. MLV investigated how best to understand, document, and support individual and group learning for children and adults. In particular, MLV addressed three aspects of learning and teaching: 1) what teachers and students can do to support the creation of learning groups in the classroom; 2) the role of observation and documentation in deepening and extending children's and adults' learning; and 3) how teachers and students can both create and transmit culture, values, and knowledge. Over the past decade, MLV has worked with hundreds of preschool through high school teachers and teacher educators in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Ohio to promote the development of learning groups in the classroom and staffroom. Today, the ultimate goal of MLV continues to be to create and sustain powerful cultures of learning in and across classrooms and schools, in particular through the use of documentation as a way to deepen and extend learning.
In Phase I of the MLV Project, Project Zero, in collaboration with Reggio Children, explored documentation as a central component of group learning and produced a book, Making Learning Visible: Children as Individual and Group Learners (to purchase, please visit http://www.learningmaterialswork.com/store/making_learning_visible.html). This book describes the results of our research and provides a framework for understanding and supporting individual and group learning. In Phase II, we explored how ideas and practices related to documenting individual and group learning that are grounded in experiences in the Italian context might enhance preschool, elementary, and middle-school education in the U.S. Along with eight Massachusetts teachers, we produced the monograph: Making Teaching Visible: Documenting Individual and Group Learning as Professional Development. In Phase III, we conducted a monthly seminar at Project Zero around understanding, documenting, and supporting individual and group learning in pre-K-12 U.S. schools. Twenty-six teachers of students from culturally and economically diverse backgrounds created examples of documentation that both reflected and furthered their students' and their own learning. We also developed a website, held several summer institutes, and partnered with teacher educators to incorporate group learning and documentation into the pre-service and in-service curriculum.
Project Zero then engaged in a new collaboration to facilitate the creation of communities of learners in six charter, pilot, and district public schools in Boston and Cambridge. This collaboration buildt on the work of PZ, the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association (MCPSA), and twelve district and charter public schools to share research and best practices related to documenting and supporting individual and group learning. PZ engaged in similar work with the Wickliffe Progressive Community School in Upper Arlington, OH. Documentation from these collaborations was exhibited at a 2006 summer institute and can be found on the MLV website. We recently published a book summarizing our research and lessons learned with U.S. teachers prek-12 called Visible Learners: Promoting Reggio-Inspired Approaches in All Schools. To order, please click here.
The work of the preschools of Reggio Emilia has drawn international attention to the potentials and capacities of children as individual and group learners. We believe the work of the MLV project can be a powerful influence in recognizing the value of documentation and group learning in American schools.
The Making Learning Visible project was funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies, an anonymous funder, the Massachusetts Department of Education, and the Wickliffe Progressive Community School through a grant from the Ohio Department of Education.
Senior Research Director:
Graduate Research Assistants/Interns:
Wickliffe Progressive Community School (all staff)
Selected Readings and Materials:
Cox Suarez, S. (2006). Making learning visible through documentation: Creating a culture of inquiry among pre-service teachers. The New Educator, 2(1), February, 33-55.
Damian, B. (2005). Rated 5 for Five-Year-Olds. Young Children, 60(2), 50-53.
Donovan, M., & Sutter, C. (2004). Encouraging Doubt and Dialogue: Documentation as a Tool for Critique. Language Arts, 81(5), 377-384.
Krechevsky, M., & Stork, J. (1999). A Review of the Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach--Advanced Reflections. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 14(2) 275–279.
Krechevsky, M., & Stork, J. (2000). Challenging Educational Assumptions: Lessons from an Italian-American Collaboration. Cambridge Journal of Education, 30(1) 57-74.
Krechevsky, M., Mardell, B., & Seidel, S. (2002, December 4). Diversity and Progressive Education: How Italian Preschools are Proving Dewey's American Detractors Wrong. Education Week, pp. 36, 38.
Project Zero, Cambridgeport Children's Center, Cambridgeport School, Ezra H. Baker School, & John Simpkins School. (2003). Making Teaching Visible: Documenting Individual and Group Learning as Professional Development. Cambridge, MA: Project Zero.
Project Zero and Reggio Children. (2001). Making Learning Visible: Children as Individual and Group Learners. Reggio Emilia, Italy: Reggio Children.
Rothstein, A. (2006, February 8). Students as Coaches: One High School's Experiment in Using Students' Perceptions to Help Teachers Improve Instruction. Education Week, pp. 31-32.
Turner, T., & Krechevsky, M. (2003). Who Are the Teachers? Who Are the Learners? Educational Leadership, 60(7), 40-43