Teaching As Inquiry

Purpose: to provide support for participants to undertake their own action research or professional inquiry.
What inquiry is all about, teaching as inquiry (as opposed to inquiry learning), looking at other peoples experiences, looking at our own practices, sharing ideas that we think will work, taking the time to see what we can do in our environment, and then sharing what we find out.

Tips for Teachers
Tanya Thompson, tanyat@sams.school.nz, principle of St. Andrew’s middle school.

If you could do these 5 things over the next few years it will make a difference:
We are all learners, teachers, students, management.

TIP 1: be ready and able, be prepared to inquire into your own practice as a teacher and as a leader of learning.

Q. What mental models might you need to inquire into our own practice? The core beliefs and values that people hold that underpin their actions

Q. How can we position ourselves to be ready and able? Be in the right frame of mind to receive the information.

Q. How can we position others around us? Rather than backing them into a corner give them a new perspective from their own view point.

TIP 2: know – how
You need a systematic way to collect evidence to 
a) support your change in practice (maybe just having release, somewhere else to change your focus, or it could be money for time, resources)
b) Affirm existing practices.
The focus moves away from the purpose and moves it onto the practice.
Image
Video as a powerful tool for reflection and evidence. Don’t need to watch whole video, stop on the 5 min marks and watch for 5 secs.

Action research is the study of a social situation with the view to improving the quality of action within it. 
Read: Carol Cardino ‘action research A developmental approach

1) Collect data and analyze it
* student achievement (easy to collect)
* student learning (understanding, examining, problem solving, questioning)
* student (staff) voice (talking about the strategies and making it explicit and transparent and then getting kids to feed back on how effective they think it is)
* teacher (leadership) practice data (map out what you actually do, this is what my current practice is and this is what it looks like)

Be selective with data collection
Stay focussed, tackle small chunks of your practice.

2) Look at what the research has to say
Peer review, professional readings/presentations, collegial discussions, visit other classrooms/school

3) Make a plan and reflect on it
Set of simple action plan which targets your areas of concerns, wonderings, low or poor performance area.

How do I know?? 
Reflect and evaluate as you go, collect hard evidence of learning.
How is it impacting on student learning/staff/school culture?
How do I know?

4) Collect comparative data and analyze it. 
Collect all the data again – what does it look like now?
Q. Am I making a difference?
Q. Are my new or enhanced practices more effective?
Q. How do I know?
Q. Where is my evidence?

5) Share it and celebrate
We are all Learners and we can teach each other (other colleagues, students, parents, wider community)

TIP 3: structures which support teacher/leader inquiry

Reposition the board and the principle
Know how you are going to prove it.
Clear school wide expectations.
Building trust across the school culture, developing a professional culture of teaching an cleaning where inquiry is the norm.
Data analysis to create evidence based panning and assessment.
All learning should be transparent. Success criteria, WALTs, etc.
*****Failure is OK****** it is a good thing to find out practices that are not effective.
Staff meetings, learning vs. organization. 
Professional support: modeling best practice, release time, both in-house and consultant knowledge, individual and group support.
Appraisals process: set goals in relation to practice in appraisal documentation, collecting data, keeping a reflective journal, share and celebrate changes in practice.

Reflection within out practice leads to higher confidence.

TIP 4: look for evidence
did I raise achievement? 
Collect data and analyze it
* student achievement (easy to collect)
* student learning (understanding, examining, problem solving, questioning)
* student (staff) voice (talking about the strategies and making it explicit and transparent and then getting kids to feed back on how effective they think it is)
* teacher (leadership) practice data (map out what you actually do, this is what my current practice is and this is what it looks like)
**Student voice is really being hammered- worth reading into.

Tip 5: Action it
Just have a go!
What’s the worse that could happen

FINAL QUESTION: How are you going to sustain a positive change?
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