My Teacher Inquiry

As a part of our EHSAS Cluster we are required to engage in a Teacher Lead Inquiry.  The justification of this inquiry comes from The New Zealand Curriculum.  In a section entitled Effective Pedagogy the document states that ‘effective pedagogy requires that teachers inquire into the impact of their teaching on their students’.  With this I completely agree!  Are we not constantly asking ourselves – ‘How did that go?, ‘Did I activate that learning effectively?’, or sometimes ‘Oh crap, what on earth did I do wrong?’.  I see this inquiry as a opportunity to formalise that, everyday personal inquiry and perhaps activate some small form of positive pedagogical shift. secret- I dream of nothing less than revolutionary ;-P

Teacher Inquiry is further advocated by the research of Professor John Hattie and the late researcher Graham Nuthall (both Kiwis!).  Now I am not going to waffle on about the research justifications, not my style though it needed to be mentioned, as you are all intelligent enough to Google it for yourself (that was a compliment …).  What I will share with you though is a wonderful statement announced the other day by Intrepid Teacher“Group Brain Activate!”.  As a 21st Century Learner and Teacher I can see no other way to conduct a Teacher Inquiry other than collaboratively.  By collaboratively I mean by using the Web2.0 to publish, discuss, review and share my process and findings.

Over the past couple of years I have come to realise that I am not alone in my search for Educational Enlightenment.  Not only are there people out there struggling along on their own journey but these people are sharing, thinking, communicating and learning from one another.  I want to be part of that crowd!  So Group Brain Activate, lead me to the promised land … or at least give me few good tips on Oral Language?  Oh yeah, that’s what my Teacher Inquiry will be about – The improvement of Oral Language through Video Conferencing and any other Web2.0 gizmo my hopefully enthusiastic Group Brain may suggest.

I have set up a Wiki as my Individual Teacher Plan (formally a flimsy piece of paper, Save The Trees!) where I will document my thinking, planning, progress and reflection.  Pop in, have a look, make a suggestion, correct my spelling or just stay for a cup of tea, you are all welcome! (just as a quick note for all you speedy readers out there, I haven’t got anything on there yet, I am planning to set it up this weekend after the in-laws have gone, but never fear it will be done asap!)

Inquiry Learning

Hi All,

So here is a blog I have set up about Inquiry Learning. Now I am by no means an expert. I have picked up most of what I know from watching other teachers and experimenting with my students.

As you all know, every child, class and situation. What works for me may be irrelevant for you, however I have found the following key points have helped me no matter who I am planning for.

1. Never assume anything! Especially what the children know or understand.

I once tried to facilitate a brainstorm on why Good Oral Language Skills are important with a Year Five and Six class. After getting nowhere for quite a while, I realised that the children didn’t know what the term Oral Language meant. Once I had explained this term the brainstorm was very successful, all of their knowledge had been blocked by my use of an unfamiliar term.

2. In order to be curious about something, you need to already know something about it.

I always begin any class inquiry topic with an immersion rotation, or pitch a mini class inquiry to hook the children’s interest. Lead the children to some key learning that will scaffold their understanding and own personal inquiry.

3. Good questions are essential, and good questioning must be taught.

They need to be taught about, open ended, closed, leading, and higher order questioning. Use Bloom’s, DeBono’s and Thinker’s Keys to scaffold them.

4. And finally, do it all over again and again and again.

Again it is the assumption thing. Don’t assume because they have done it before, whether it was last term or last year that they will remember how to conduct an inquiry. You will need to teach, use and refer to the basic skills of inquiry over and over again. I often use guided reading as means of teaching these skills.

Anyway, here are some resources that I have begged and borrowed in PDF.

inquiry-model – This was given to me by our team leader and could easily be turned into a check list.

issues-inquiry-learning1 – A student workbook used in a Yr5 & 6 class

Keywords, Skimming and Scanning Skills cards

scan-card1, key-words-card1, skimming-card1

Tools for good questioning

venn, bloom-rubric, 6hatsplanning, thinkers_keys_all-1

Please feel free to add anything else you think may be useful.