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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL This process of data collection is ongoing. It becomes part of the life of the classroom and is absorbed into the interactions between teacher and students. Thus, over the course of a school year, I compile an enormous amount of information that helps me to reflect on the classroom and to answer my more difficult questions about teaching, learning, and the pro- cess of education. . . . As a teacher-researcher, I do not determine before- hand the categories of information I am looking for, the nature of the data, or the questions to be asked. Data collection is not a process used only for assessing children’s learning or evaluating curricula. The process of data collection, as it has evolved, has become a central part of my class- room practice. Vivian Gussin Paley is a well-known classroom teacher and author with more than a dozen published books. Her writing reveals the richness of chil- dren’s perspectives, along with the thinking process of an evolving teacher. In describing how her approach to teaching evolved, Paley says that in her early days of teaching, she found herself having trouble remembering who each of her twenty-six to thirty kindergartners were. At night she would develop schemes to try to remember each of their names, all of which failed. It was only when she set herself the task of writing a few sentences about something each child did or said that she solved this problem and began to know each individual. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Introduction 7