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Christina Ward facilitated a webinar a while back (access recording here), which explored the topic of teaching as inquiry. Christina, since 2004, has been linked up with the curriculum development team within the Ministry of Education (MoE), and since then she has been working on the NZ curriculum online.
During the session Christina gave a quick look at teaching as inquiry and its place in the NZC, as well as characteristics of schools and classrooms where teaching as inquiry is evident along with some examples.
The session started with Christina sharing a quotation by Stoll, Fink & Earl (2003): "Teachers are at the heart of school improvement, and with all the change in the world and new understandings about learning it is essential that they too keep learning". She also stressed that it is important to have teachers at the heart - and thinking about learning.
The teaching as inquiry cycle and approach have been developed to encourage teachers to inquire into their own teaching methods, assess their effectiveness, and learn or alter practices where necessary.
Participants responded to a short survey that asked them to rate their experience with teaching as inquiry. The results were really interesting with 20% of participants just beginning to learn about teaching as inquiry, 40% who have made a start and are noticing shifts, 30% who are confidently using teaching as inquiry, and 1-% who have a deep understanding and notice significant shifts in student achievement and teaching practice.
Christina provided a really useful link to the Instep site that provides some great ideas of different ways that inquiry can happen, and it also explains some of the key terminology.
Participants were asked to watch this video where Helen Timperley, Professor of Education at The University of Auckland talks about ways teachers can gain knowledge through cycles of inquiry into their practice. There was also a link to a report written by Helen Timperley that covers the subject of PD in depth and what is proving effective.
The characteristics of schools who are showing that they have a pretty strong handle on teaching as inquiry include support for teachers with:
And an article in .pdf format entitled Teaching as Inquiry: One School's Approach.
Participants were able to pick and choose a resource that was relevant to them, go away to access / watch it, and then return to the Webinar...with comments. Some of the comments included:
These comments blossomed into a really lively chat session, with lots of ideas and sharing of practices. It is well worth visiting the recording of the session to review what Christina covers, and also to have a good look at some of the conversation.
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