Tuesday 3 November 2015

I Love Inquiry

We have started four new inquiry groups this fall under the umbrella of Through a Different Lens: Inclusion, Indigenous Practices, Assessment and Grading, and Literacy.  Most of these groups are K-12.  All of these groups are looking at teacher collaboration through the inquiry process with a focus on teacher practice and also a focus on how our practice effects our learners  who are most at risk of not completing school. We are now in our 5th year of Through of Different Lens.  It has morphed and changed and grown as we have changed and learned.  We have listened very carefully to teachers who have been part of the project, and to the students who are in those classrooms.  We have constantly adjusted and reexamined how we are doing things.
Our overall goals have stayed the same:  How do we remove the barriers to success that many of our vulnerable learners face and capitalize on student strengths by allowing them to choose a method of  both learning and representing that is aligned with their interests, cultural background, talents and strengths.  We continue to focus on engagement and community.
So far this fall, I have had the good fortune of attending four inquiry sessions in the various groups that fall under the TADL umbrella.  I have been struck with what I would say is a real optimism about our kids that have found school difficult, and a real hope for what we as educators can accomplish.

 I have heard comments such as these:
“I can teach ALL learners in my classroom”,
“I can find an entry point for every  one of my students”,
“I am wanting to find ways to help this child while still maintaining his dignity”,
“I want my student to connect with his heritage”
“I want this child to be MEANINGFULLY included”,
 “I want to weave Aboriginal principles throughout the curriculum so ALL my kids learn”,
“I want to assess the exciting things that we are doing in authentic ways”.    
“I want the students to be more involved in assessing their work and learning from it”

I love inquiry.  I love seeing eyes light up as we realize we are not alone in trying to figure things out.  I love when teachers ask if they can be part of more than one inquiry because they are so excited to learn more.  I love listening as teacher share their thinking, their ideas, their time and their concrete examples freely with each other.  This is what learning is all about and where education is such a rich and complex and exciting place to be. 
Submitted by Judith King, Helping Teacher - School Completion

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