Write it Down

Prominent Action Researcher Jack Whitehead once said, “If you don’t write it down, it didn’t happen”. He was trying to get us to focus on our inquiry question at the time. I always thought that statement had stickiness. There are a couple of reasons you might want to write things down.

As a plan moving forward writing down your intentions provides some accountability, something you can refer back to later. It often helps us clarify our ideas. Conversation is great, I’m a big fan. When it comes to acting on those conversations, it’s often helpful to have a reminder of where that conversation took us. When we are engaged in planning conversations it’s rare that we stick to our original thinking. It’s common that we build on those original talking points. Writing this down provides us with evidence of the evolution of our thinking. This can be invaluable when it comes time to share our learning with others.

It is also useful to write things down as they happen. For a number of reasons our short and long term memory are really poor tools to rely on for documentation. Recording snippets of what happened in lessons, or what was discussed in meetings provide us with the bread crumbs of our experiences. This makes it easy to reflect on our practice using our writing as one more source of evidence.

Put enough of this writing together and patterns begin to emerge. Now we have another source of data that can help inform our practice.


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