#Deepen Teacher Inquiry - Hack No 6
What Makes An Inquiry?
Long-running inquiries - What are they?
However, there are some teachers out there who have a strategy that they want to run across a long period of time. When you are running a long term inquiry, there are a couple of things that need to happen to keep the energetics of the inquiry in a positive balance and tracking in an impactful way.
In these cases, measures of impact need to be made once a term and analysed so that you know you are achieving the desired impact on student learning and a process of reflecting and refining the strategy and or measures should be taking place. I find it hard to believe that one strategy employed across a year without any reflection and refining in response to impact is best practice. A long term strategy needs to be measured, evidenced and refined at least once a term. You cannot just start something and then leave it until the end of the year to make you measures.
Let me give you an example.
Teacher A implements a strategy in their year 10 class. It is a strategy to do with the use of digital technologies to accelerate learning in lessons. This teacher plans to use data generated in the EOY exam to conclude as to the success or failure of the use of digital technologies to accelerate learning in lessons.
As a year-long inquiry into the impact of the use of digital technologies to accelerate learning in lessons, this teacher needs to do the following:
Take notice of what aspect of the digital technology platform they are using.
Take note of how and when in a lesson they are using the digital technology platform.
Collect regular evidence - by topic, involving students achievement data AND student voice about the learning that is happening while using the digital technology platform.
Show evidence of response to the impact measures as the year progresses through reflective statements and refinement to strategy.
Interestingly, this is an example of data and evidence being collected over time to feed up into an overarching theme of the use of digital technology to accelerate students learning or engagement in lessons.
When broken down in this way - it is about multi-mini inquiries within the large one.
So next time you are wondering about one inquiry or two. One significant inquiry or multiple mini ones. Think of it this way.
Each time you make a change to any one of these three things, your inquiry question changes and so it is a new inquiry.
It may be that they are mini inquiries feeding up into an overarching focus, but let me tell you, it is easier and more energising to think of your inquiry in terms of small chunks. For an inquiry to remain relevant, you need to know your impact as you go, The only way you can understand that is if you make regular measures of impact. And to do that it needs to be manageable and sustainable.
Focus on one thing. Be intentioned in your inquiry actions and make relevant measures (evidencing) of impact.
I often hear teachers and leaders say to their teachers - your inquiry needs to be linked to school-wide strategic goals. well to that I say -
When your inquiry(s) are connected in the first instance to the learning and the learning needs of your students you will be connecting with the schools' strategic focus.
Afterall - what is it that informs the schools' strategic goals?