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 Virtual Gallery. 2022  

Sketching a method of pedagogical documentation

by Tatiana Zakharova-Goodman

Pedagogical narration (also referred to as pedagogical or educational documentation), a practice inspired by the work of educational institutions in Reggio Emilia (Italy), denotes a process of narrating early childhood education experiences. Dahlberg, Moss and Pence (2013), as well as Pacini-Ketchabaw, Nxumalo, Kocher, Elliot and Sanchez (2015) put forward pedagogical narration as a practice of mobilizing educators’ curriculum documentation for critical reflection, central to the processes of meaning-making and political discourses embedded in education. Reflecting on their work with educators, these writers point to the deeply reflective and responsibility-driver nature of the practice by opening for debate the documented pedagogical movements, resisting simple and habitual explanations, constructing ethical and political meanings, and storing ordinary everyday encounters in creating learning (also see Berger, 2010; Hodgins, 2019b).

The following gallery include drawings completed by Tatiana in her experimentation with sketching a method of pedagogical documentation.

I do not propose sketching as a form of realistic drawing. Instead, I think of it as writing-executed-differently: take the familiar process of hand-writing, and modify the physicality of marking on paper traces of that which is being noticed.

Are hand-written notes and sketches not simply a build-up of small pencil lines? Are both not practices of mark-making? In thinking this way, sketching stops being an unfamiliar act requiring a specialized artistic talent.

Within the practice of pedagogical documentation, sketching is thus proposed as a form of the act of writing: same lines but differently composed. Such proposition has historical roots, too. Throughout the Renaissance, drawing and handwriting were considered analogous, both depending on “the manipulation of the line” (Bermingham 2000 in Hoffmann, 2019, p. 9).

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Sketching is a process of visual response (Reason, 2018), a practice of “drawing-enhanced seeing” (Causey, 2017, p. 13) that puts educators into an embodied and intimate dynamic with both the who and the how of documentation.

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Sketching is a dance between that which pulls at our attention, and the eye, and the gripping hand and fingers, and the materials that support the line drawing…

Tatiana Zakharova-Goodman, MLA, is pursuing a PhD at the Faculty of Education at Western University under the supervision of Dr. Pacini-Ketchabaw. She is also a designer at Earthscape Play, where she focuses on playground concept development and research. Academically, Tatiana thinks at the intersection of pedagogy and landscape architecture, as she works to re-imagine relationship-attuned play as worlding and play/grounding as potentialities. Her research theorizes children’s outdoor spaces as contentious, uneven, and always political.


Berger. I.(2010). Extending the notion of pedagogical narration through Hannah Arendt' political thought. In V. Pacini Ketchabaw (Ed.). Flows, Rhythms & intensities of early childhood education curriculum (pp. 57-76). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

Causey, A. (2017). Drawn to see : Drawing as an ethnographic method. University of Toronto Press.

College of Early Childhood Educators, Pedagogical Practice (2020). Online.

Dahlberg, G., Moss, P., & Pence, A. R. (2013). Beyond quality in early childhood education and care : languages of evaluation (Third edition.). Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Delgado Vintimilla, C. & Pacini Ketchabaw, V. (2021, March). On Becoming a Pedagogist: Brief Thoughts on Pedagogical Documentation. The Pedagogist Network of Ontario. Online:

Hodgins, B. D. (2019a). Pedagogical narrations. In B. D. Hodgins, Gender and care with young children (pp. 26-57). New York, NY: Routledge,

Hoffmann, A. R. (2020). Sketching as design thinking. Routledge.

Pacini-Ketchabaw, V., Nxumalo, F., Kocher, L., Elliot, E., & Sanchez, A. (2015). Journeys: reconceptualizing early childhood practices through pedagogical narration. North York, ON: University of Toronto Press.

Reason, M. (2018). Drawing. In Lury, C., Fensham, R., Heller-Nicholas, A., Lammes, S., Last, A., Michael, M., & Uprichard, E. (2018). Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Research Methods (pp. 47-52.).  Routledge.

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