Creating learning enquiry plans
The new teaching Standards introduce a new expectation that teachers will both use research to inform their curriculum and school improvement decisions as well as carry out research in their own classroom in the form of practitioner enquiry.
Building personal enquiry plans is a vital part of the Professional Learning Team meeting and the resulting Action Plans are important documents in a learning organisation.
Here’s a short account of how one teacher put her learning enquiry together.
Mary Pollard has been teaching for 5 years and is relishing working with her colleagues to improve her practice. She is currently teaching year 3 and has noticed that her students are still fearful of making mistakes. They see mistakes as a failure despite her attempts to encourage them to see mistakes as valuable aids to learning.
In creating her learning enquiry plan she had to do two things:
- creating her enquiry question;
- decide what to do to make it happen.
Creating an enquiry question Mary had to consider:
- Where are my students are now in their attitude to mistakes;
- How would I like my students to be different;
- What aspects of my learning culture might be stopping this happening?;
- What practical ideas for ways of doing something different might i use;
- How do I want my students to improve/develop/enhance in …………?.
She thought of it like this:
If I do XXXX will it improve/develop/enhance YYYY?
This is the crunch question. Mary realised that her students were unlikely to change their attitudes unless she did something different! She visualised how she wanted her students to be and thought about what she might do, or say, or model, or value differently to bring about this change in students.
She captured her learning enquiry as a question…because it is an enquiry…and recorded what she wanted to do in a short enquiry plan.
She was careful to keep her plan manageable and only focus on a 3 things she wanted to do. She also noted a couple of things she wanted to stop doing as they might be working against the new goal. She structured he course of action over four weeks and made a note of what she wanted to monitor during that time. She wants to watch how her own actions change over time and note the things she finds tricky to do.She also wants to note what she sees the children say or do differently when she has introduced her ideas. Above all she wants to make sure her plan is doable…if it’s not she knows she won’t do it and she doesn’t want to let herself, her students or her team mates down.