4 March 2016

Inquiry Start-up For 2016

Into a new year of teaching inquiry. 

After feedback from staff last year we have made the start up a little later so it was this week, (week 5) before we met for the first time to share our inquiry in collaborative groups.
This slightly slower start was to take pressure off busy teachers at the beginning of the year and give them time to think about what they really needed to inquire into. It also meant that some of the beginning of the year testing we do, has been completed and has helped inform teaching and learning needs.
The other time pressure, was the time for me as inquiry coordinator to meet with all teachers to discuss their inquiry with them. Without getting teachers out of classes at this crucial time of year there were a lot of creatively squeezed in meeting times.

The Process so far:
1. Whole staff introduction to school wide focus

2. Develop understanding of formative assessment

3. Time for teachers to consider own, and learner's needs.

4. Meeting individually to formalise  teaching inquiry with a goal and action plan

5. Collaborative teacher meetings to share problem, evidence for problem, and ideas for solution

We have an umbrella focus for the whole school this year (another request from the teacher survey last year). This means that we are all working towards our school goals together, and professional development opportunities for staff can be more efficiently directed to where it is needed.
The whole school is looking at How to use formative assessment to improve reading and writing achievement. This was shared with the staff along with the school data showing the need for this.

Teachers have all started on their action plan.

I noticed a shift in teachers reflecting on learning needs rather than coming up with a 'cool project' they wanted to try. In our goal setting meetings teachers talked about their last year's teaching and achievement data, as well as anecdotal notes from this year, and early assessments. This formative data was the basis for setting the inquiry focus.

Some teachers still felt they had to gather a bit more information, which was great, but many had initial ideas already about how they wanted to go about addressing learning needs. Some teachers also recognised areas they needed to learn more about.

Instead of our usual Monday afternoon staff meeting we met for the first time in our collaborative inquiry groups to share
1. What the problem is for our learners and what evidence we have for this
2. Possible solutions to address this problem

Teachers also shared their inquiry on their professional blogs.

Take a look at our teachers inquiries for 2016.