Deepen Teacher Inquiry - Part 4 - eXPLORING

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.
— Confucius

As educators, we are all aware of the importance and value of reflection. We are encouraged as professionals to reflect, but I would argue that for various reasons reflection is not always done as well as it could be when it comes to the design of teacher inquiry.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest.
— Confucius

Wondering - scanning, developing a hunch, learning - focusing inquiry - are all ways in which models of inquiry encompass the elements of identifying the focus for teacher inquiry. What is missing from many teacher inquiries is an investment of time - time to reflect and dig deeply into what is happening for the students and their learning.
When I talk to teachers and leaders, I hear frustrations regarding lack of time. Often leaders are requesting teachers inquiry focus questions, and there has been a lack of real-time investment to unpack what really matters and therefore is worth spending time on. Over the last couple of weeks - via my blog - I have floated the idea of using design thinking processes to support depth to teachers wondering - scanning, developing a hunch, learning - focusing inquiries.

I truly believe that this part of a teachers inquiry is THE most important part as it sets up the inquiry focus. What is stopping this from happening is a lack of understanding of HOW. How do you connect all of the information we have about our students and their learning to an inquiry focus.
I challenge you to enable exploration of what is happening to students through reflection and try an empathy map to unpack the needs of students and their learning. To identify what a teacher inquiry focus should be.
As I shared last week - I have had the privilege to work alongside some incredibly passionate educators at various schools this year.  We have used design thinking - empathy maps - to enable and empower staff to explore deeply the learning of students.

Leaders; your teachers best work comes when they feel enabled to take a look at what is really happening. So let's empower our teachers to explore deeply what is happening with the learning of students and design deep and relevant teacher inquiries.

Tabitha Leonard