#Deepen Teacher Inquiry - Hack No 1
Deepen teacher inquiry to accelerate teacher learning
What can Teacher Inquiry be?
Inquiry provides the platform in which to innovate learning opportunities that deepen learning.
The power of knowing the impact on learning energises innovation and creativity that, in turn, energises student learning.
Inquiry is the vehicle that enables and empowers a change in the way teachers work.
Inquiry is driven by the learning of students that refocuses teachers on what’s important when they are overwhelmed with all the other tasks that need attention.
Leveraging powerful tools
Without a shared understanding of the role of the teacher and how to leverage the powerful tool that is teacher inquiry to create desired learning experiences, you will solely rely on the models of teaching you have always used, despite the resources at your fingertips or those of your students.
Creating an environment where learners are empowered to take risks in pursuit of learning and growth rather than perfection is foundational to shifting educational practices. This statement is often spoken in relation to student learning. I would also challenge you to think of the learning of teachers in your school in this way.
A few years back a good friend and colleague of mine and I took an idea to our senior leadership team. We wanted to engage a team of teachers in a project that would stretch their normal practice. Get them out of their comfort zone, but enable them to plug into the learning process and how it relates to the learning needs of their students in a deeper way. As a result of plugging into the learning process and its relationship to the learning needs of their students in a deeper way, we hoped to enable their actions in the classroom to be more aligned with the learning needs of the students rather than the course outlines and timelines that usually dictates the pace and race of teaching in a secondary classroom.
We were told - yes you can try this - but only in the Middle school year levels. (That being Y7 - 10).
"The magic is in the scaffolding of experiences and challenges finely tuned to the needs and interests of students and maximized through relevance and authenticity."
Now that limiting mindset is what I call a missed opportunity.
I often see - in the work, I do with teachers - the greatest learning and the deepest reflection about practice happen when a strategy didn't have the outcomes that were expected.
You see, as teachers - we are wired to - mull over / try and fix/ make better the stuff - that doesn't work.
So a culture of "have a go" is important to truly unharness the potential of teacher inquiry.
Stop the fear of failure: F.A.I.L = First Attempt In Learning
A constraint to try something new is the fear of failure. Inquiry, when framed in the right environments, can be a space in which you can innovate and create within your practice without fear of failure. Inquiry builds effective teachers who continuously examine their own actions. Where there is a culture of ‘inquiring’, there is no fear of failure.
The inquiry process provides a safe space in which teachers can use new strategies and measure the impact of these new strategies—something that can be likened to a sandpit at primary school.
Children in a sandpit learn and grow through exploration. They try new things and learn from the process. A sandpit is a safe place for children to explore and find what works and what doesn’t. We expect our students to learn through an inquiry lens, why not expect the same of teachers and leaders?
So as you begin 2019. Let's make Teacher Inquiry about being innovative, interesting and inspirational so that it grows creativity, collaboration and communication.
Make teacher Inquiry in 2019 a game changer for your school.
Until our next Teacher Inquiry Hack....
2nd March 2019
T3 - Teacher Think Tank Day
Wellington Based Teachers
A course designed to unpack WHY STEAM learning is important and what is important to consider in terms of pedagogy for teachers