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Part 2 - The Realities of Teacher Inquiry

Started by MrsB30 24 Nov 2015 9:08am () Replies (4)

Previous post >>>>> Part 1 The Lie of the Land in 2015 


We participated in our final PLC (professional learning community) for 2015 last week and the feedback was mostly positive. The realities of my teacher inquiry was that I'd chosen to link in to my Research and Community Informed Practice paper through the Mind Lab. Although it was an area I was really interested in (growth mindset) I didn't feel like I have done a lot of 'inquiring' in to how it effects my own personal teaching. We have been inquiring into, and implementing the ideas behind growth mindset as a whole school. It's had some really pleasing results but it's definitely an area I want to continue exploring. If you would like to see our journey so far, you can view the Reflective Portfolio I did with a colleague of mine. The great thing about the Spiral of Inquiry (Timperley et al, 2014) is that the inquiry doesn't need to stop because the school year has. We have been encouraged to keep delving in to these areas if we haven't completed our inquiry.


Another area I started to inquire in to was how I could bring coding in to our school. I decided the best place to start was in my own class, so that I had practical advice for the rest of our staff. I felt one sticking point though was we didn't have enough devices for it to be successful. I was of the belief that the students in my class would need 1:1 devices. I approached my principal to see if we could purchase more devices and it turned in to the perfect opportunity for a coaching session. We used the GROWTH coaching model to find out the best way forward. I realised I still had a lot to find out in regards to what programmes I would use, what device they would work on and how I would overcome the challenge of students in my class who weren't interested in coding. It meant I had a good plan on how to get started without needing to go and purchase a class set of laptops! I also decided I needed to try things out with the devices I had to see if it was even something my class was interested in.


I booked every spare device we had on a weekly basis and used the Google CS First resources to teach game design through Scratch. After the first session, I realised my students liked to work collaboratively on these projects so 1:1 devices weren't necessary. It was also a perfect opportunity to build the growth mindset of many of my students. It wasn't easy and I wasn't any more knowledgeable in the area than them. I learnt I needed to stay one step ahead by watching the instruction videos the day before so I could answer their questions BUT I didn't want to be the expert. Instead I kept referring to the students who were picking it up quicker and began using them as support. We did game design every week and I can honestly say all my students enjoyed it and felt successful by the end of Term 3. I am not inquiring in to how I can get other classes to pick up coding and have a go with their students. I am promoting the Hour of Code, which will run from the 7th-13th December. I also ran a coding session for Enrichment Day, using Pixel Press Floors app on the ipad. Several students took this back to their own classes and started teaching them how to use it. We also have some volunteers on board to set up a Code Club in the school next year.



How about other teachers? How have their inquiries gone? We had a great sharing session last week in our staff learning time. I shared my inquiry in to growth mindset with a few different teachers and then listened to other staff share on their inquiries. There was a teacher who inquired in to how accelerated learning can help our target learners, as opposed to remediation. Another teacher shared her success at overhauling her spelling programme. I am due to observe the two teachers I have been coaching soon so I will update on their inquiries in my next post!


  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 24 Nov 2015 3:32pm ()

    Thanks for sharing your journey here and in Part 1, The Lie of the Land in 2015 too Sarah. This definitely provides a window into a very busy practitioners day/week/term.

    I love how you say you're encouraged to keep learning, even if the inquiry isn't 'completed'. I imagine this is reality faced by many - incomplete investigations/wonderings/research, especially when the ripple effect initiates further inquiry.

    Thank you also for sharing ways you have overcome challenges to teach coding. This shows how barriers to challenges (like time, access to resources etc) can be 'rethunk' and alternative solutions found. It will be interesting to hear how these changes have benefitted the students in your next reflections.

    I also love the Reflective Portfolio you shared. There are some infographics shared in their that most of our young people could benefit from viewing - changes from a fixed mind-set to growth mind-set.

    Again, thanks for sharing your students' learning and your own Sarah. Awesome smiley

  • JMKellow (View all users posts) 08 Dec 2015 11:16pm ()

    Like Tessa I also love that you don't think inquiry stops when the school year end, sounds like you have the perfect mindset to be a lifelong learner. Thanks for sharing your reflective portfolio, I am sure reading your journey will help others travelling a similar path. I loved the Dark Side vs The Force. smiley I also like how you modelled a growth mindset for your coding inquiry, 

    Thanks for sharing the process you went through when trialling the Growth Mindset approach and great to see you are applying it to staff as well as students. The description of how the teacher inquiry cycle was implemented in your school will be very useful for others. 

    If you had to give one key learning from the whole process what would it be?

  • Mark Maddren (View all users posts) 11 Dec 2015 9:51am ()

    Another great read, it really reinforces my belief that in education we should be talking about our learners as all parts of the community and learner agency instead of student agency so potentially empowering everyone within a school community to continue with their life long learning.

    It is great to read that your encouraged to continue developing your inquiries based on need not time frame, I often think stop some of our students learning when they are just really starting to get into the real meaty learning.

    I will be sharing your reflections and reflective journal with the schools I work with. Thank you for being so generous.

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