Immersing teachers in a full year of professional development and learning helped to create the conditions which led to their confidence and commitment to supporting and mentoring colleagues within their schools.
The Focus on Inquiry Research: A Link Between Learning and Engagement
Researchers from the Werklund School of Education and Galileo Educational Network spent much of 2014/15 in the classroom. They wanted to understand how focused, discipline-based inquiry teaching and learning could change not only student learning, but also teaching practices and even organizational change at the school level. How do various professional learning strategies translate to changes in practice? What is the impact of professional learning on student learning?
It is important students learn about which technologies are most appropriate to the task or the discipline and for collaboration and communication. It is also important that technology is used in both process and product and closely linked to the ways technology is used authentically in the field to advance knowledge.
The Focus on Inquiry study saw Galileo mentors/researchers work with teachers and students in Alberta classrooms as they operated through an inquiry-based lens. Much of the professional learning centered around quality formative assessment. Essentially, it’s about providing feedback while learning takes place - feedback that’s strong enough to inform both the teacher and student’s next steps.
One of the most powerful influences on student learning is quality formative assessment. This means students are provided with timely, specific feedback and feed forward while learning takes place, supporting the students learning, helping teachers identify learning gaps and informing the next steps for both students and teachers.
Gaining deep understanding, developing strong habits of mind, and how you approach problems in multiple ways – that’s academic rigor. Academic rigor is the second of the eight dimensions, and in a nutshell, refers to the degree of complex thinking required by students.
Teaching in response to student learning – an easy concept to understand, but how does it really work in the classroom and why do students benefit?
When inquiry is front and center, teachers and students discover that each discipline, or area of study, has its own way of investigating, bringing forward evidence, communicating and generating knowledge.
From teachers who build towards inquiry in the classroom, to those same professionals who seek improvement by adopting these principles in their own practice, two recently published studies add to the body of knowledge that is inquiry-based learning.
Discipline-based inquiry results in highly engaged students and teachers who say they are more reflective when it comes to task design and their practice, generally. But the Focus on Inquiry study also revealed misunderstandings about inquiry in the classroom. Teachers and Galileo Educational Network mentors identified the following factors that would help to cultivate a… Read More
Here’s what happens when Grade 1/2 students become interested in bats, and how that fits in with the science curriculum – which included building things, seasonal changes and changes in local animal populations. A discussion about hibernating animals led to questions about bats. Students learned the local population was being threatened during the cold winter… Read More