#Deepen-Teacher-Inquiry - Deepening the Reflecting Phase

Deepening the Reflecting Phase



Last week I wrote about collaboration. Collaboration - when framed up with an inquiry -  is often richer and deeper than if teachers were to be placed in a group and told to have a discussion.
I believe that the difference in the case of Deepen Teacher Inquiry is that teachers own their inquiry and are brought together by a common curiosity around students learning. All dialogue that occurs is lensed around learning and any fear of judgement is absent.  

This week, I would like to share a resource I use with teachers to help facilitate deep dialogue and collaboration during the evaluation and reflecting phase of a teacher inquiry.

Conifer Grove School has been working to Deepen Teacher Inquiry. On Friday I had an incredible day working with the second two groups of teachers to finalise the inquiry cycle and work through the analysing and evaluating phase of the current inquiries.

Teachers were able to enter into learning dialogue that encouraged collaboration and a language for learning that helped to unpack the power of inquiry for the participants.
We worked together to make meaning of the evidence collected for each teachers inquiry.  The began to make connections between the inquiry strategy and the learning of both the students and the teachers.  The sessions started with each teacher telling the story of their inquiry. Through storytelling, each teacher was able to connect with their thoughts and feelings concerning the inquiry. By speaking about the inquiry strategy and the process of making measures we began to build clarity around the learning that occurs.
On one case a teacher opened her reflection with the statement, “I think my inquiry was a failure.” When I hear teachers say that I begin to wonder - what happened (in terms of learning), what is this teacher making it mean? and what does it really mean? - I always seek to look for more information. To turn over rocks and look beneath to get to the bottom of what has happened in terms of learning. By learning, I mean teacher learning and student learning.

I strongly believe that no deepen teacher inquiry is a failure - learning always occurs and that is what makes an inquiry successful. To find that a strategy is a failure, does not make an inquiry a failure.

Throughout the analysing and reflecting process, we were able to see that this languaging was not accurate. Learning progress was made - just not as much as hoped.
The members of the group are able to see that learning is a process, not an event.

We began to see that with a tweak of strategy we could refine the inquiry strategy. Refine the approach in a way that connected and aligned the strategy more to the learning needs of the students.
For one teacher, a refining of the strategy will allow learning to progress for both teacher and students.  The inquiry strategy, in this case, was about adopting new pedagogies in the classroom. This teacher wanted to take on the new pedagogy but was unsure how. You see, not everyone is an early adopter of new pedagogies. What we often fail to see is the learning process for teachers as they look to change their practice. What this inquiry highlighted for this teacher, is that progress was achieved. Furthermore, we now have clarity of the steps moving forward - now, how powerful is that?

Be curious | See future possibility | Do reflect

To build on the clarity gained by collaborating and dialoguing about their inquiry we looked to deepen the reflective process. We used a scaffold to facilitate critical thinking to enable teachers to unpack their thinking to gain depth.

Deepening the Reflecting Phase

Deepening the Reflecting Phase

This map encourages thinking to slow and scaffolds reflections into four areas about the inquiry.

  • Went well - do more

  • Not so Great - change of adapt

  • Learning (teacher and student)

  • Wonderings

  • Ah-ha moments

The power of this process was catalysed by the dialogue and collaboration that had occurred before we began to write about the inquiry. Now I have to say - as useful as this map may be to gain depth to reflections for an inquiry. It is a questioning and dialogue expertise that brings this map to life.
We had incredible conversations about each teachers inquiry and each teacher was able to leave the session with more than just the learnings that had come out of their inquiries.

Go well, everyone! - See you in the words next week!



If you have enjoyed reading this post and are looking to re-purpose Teacher inquiry or you would like to Deepen Teacher Inquiry in your school, then we should have a chat. 
I would love to hear from you. I am looking to get schools signed up for 2019 now before my calendar fills up.

I hope you have a great first week of Term 4.





Here are five more ways I can help you:

1. Download my White Papers -

  1. Finding your inquiry genius - An exploration of the power of Teacher inquiry to enable teacher learning. - click here

  2. Re-lensing Learning- An exploration of the power of harnessing the power of contribution to enable change. - click here

  3. Teacher Think Tank. - An exploration of the power of collective innovation to un-think | Re-think | out-think for future possibilities in education. - click here

2. Work with me one-to-one

  1. Teacher Inquiry - If you would like to work with me directly to solve challenges with Deepen Teacher Inquiry, reply with the words "teacher inquiry"  and we will arrange a time to discuss your situation and see if we might be a fit.

  2. Teacher Think Tank - Bring the Teacher Think Tank to your school! Build coherence - enable change-ready Tribes and accelerate change in your school. A great way to start the new school year with everyone on the same page and gain the buy-in of strategic goals and actions. If you are keen, reply with the word "Think Tank"  and we will arrange a time to discuss your situation and see if we might be a fit.


I am really excited to introduce a way for teachers and leaders to innovate solutions that are outside the box... check this out - information video and testimonial to be found within.

T3 - Teacher Think Tank - Waikato Based Teachers
See my front page for video details on how you can get involved. Including a testimonial from Sally Pendergrast - Rototuna Junior High School

Tabitha Leonard