Thursday, 19 March 2020

How will my inquiry make a powerful contribution to the wider school and to cluster goals?

Collaborate with your school’s leadership team and colleagues to identify areas where your inquiry will make a powerful contribution to wider school and cluster goals.

Since our last CoL meeting, I have had opportunities to talk with Kent from Pt England School's leadership team, colleagues in a collaborative inquiry meeting as well as meeting with Robyn Anderson from Panmure Bridge School and Sandy Lagitupu from Pt England School. Below I will summarise what I have learned and got out of each of these discussion opportunities:

Meeting with Kent Somerville:

In my Inquiry meeting with Kent, I posed my chosen inquiry topic and action plan. My inquiry would be based around literacy (reading and writing). With writing tracking positively, my major focus would be on reading however, I wanted the learning to link to the ability for the children to be critical in the blog comments which they write online. The hunch I posed was that a purposeful focus on critical thinking and dialogue in class will develop children’s ability to think critically in an online environment.

Kent got me to think about whether I would consider doing an inquiry into maths, particularly with a school focus on maths for the first part of this year. I feel that there are enough resources to support me in my development of maths teaching, however less resources to support the teaching of critical thinking. I am still on the fence about whether to continue pursuing my current inquiry topic, to flip across to a focus on maths OR to see if there is a way I can incorporate maths into my current inquiry. 

Meeting with colleagues in our collaborative inquiry meeting:

In our school collaborative inquiry meeting, I posed my inquiry into critical thinking to my team. I still mentioned that I was on the fence regarding which inquiry was going to be more valuable. 

Meeting with Robyn Anderson:

I met with Robyn Anderson from Panmure Bridge School after we realised that our two inquiries actually seemed to match quite nicely. We shared some resources and thought about how we could support each other in our inquiries throughout the year. We decided that a good initial measure for the children in both of our classes would be a blog post written by the children around a common DLO (for the class). We decided this could create a good initial measure as the focus for the children would be on the quality of their blog post rather than of the DLO.  I shared with Robyn my interpersonal skill/ critical thinking rubric which I created (see previous blog post), and I encouraged her to make changes to it if she thought necessary. We decided we would use this, or an adaption of this, to assess these blog posts.

Robyn also shared their school writing rubrics with me which have been written to support children and which create a link between the e-asttle writing rubrics and the writing of blog posts and comments. Finally, Robyn shared with me a document with suggestions from other teachers as to how they ensure children are writing quality blog comments. This will be important to consider when I develop any innovative ideas for developing children's critical thinking when writing online. 

Meeting with Sandy Lagitupu:

I met with Sandy Lagitupu as she undertook several years of inquiry around using Paedeia seminars with the extension groups. The purpose of these seminars is to encourage critical thinking, making causal links and getting the children talking.

We discussed whether my inquiry, which would build on this idea, would be valuable to look into for our school. We agreed that there was a definite need for a group of children who were working above their reading level to learn how to make causal links and develop their critical thinking skills. Interestingly, this focus is not needed for all of the children reading above their age. We noticed this trend across multiple years.

I discussed with Sandy that it would be important to ensure my inquiry wasn't just a replication of what Sandy and other educators have previously done. It would need to have a difference. I am hoping that the connection to children showing critical thinking online would be this difference I could inquire into.

Summary of how/where my inquiry will make a powerful contribution to wider school and cluster goals:

To summarise, I have talked with people from within our school and wider to discuss the value of my inquiry. I feel I still have more discussions before I feel confident that I will be on track to undertaking a valuable and worth-while inquiry for 2020. I need to think about how my inquiry would be different to what people have already undertaken in previous years.

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