As I come to the end of my first year as an Innovations Consultant and New Teacher Induction Program Coordinator I am doing some reflection about the past year. Feedback has come in and the Collaborative Inquiry that NTIP teachers and mentors took part in this year was deemed as one of the most meaningful professional learning opportunities for educators.
Teachers reported that having been given time to work with colleagues with a focus of learning that was responsive to student need with ways in which to measure success seemed daunting and theoretical at first but then became clearer as the process progressed. At the end of our meetings and planning we were able to come together in order to share our learning. We have collected our work on a Google site so that other educators may be inspired by Inquiry and Innovation at KPR. The reflection on the process was that teachers wanted to experience the process again next year.
When I went through the process of Assessment for Learning and first embarked upon inquiry it was difficult to make myself vulnerable as a professional after 20 years of teaching! Working with these brave new teachers was awe inspiring. I saw them become hooked on the inquiry process as I did many years ago. It is hard to describe what happens when you finally give yourself permission to not be the “sage on the stage” and let student interest and need drive instruction. You have to experience it…but once you do…it is rather difficult to go backward.
If you are interested in running a collaborative inquiry at your school (it doesn’t have to be school wide) I highly recommend the work of Jenni Donohoo. She is an Ontario Elementary teacher and has a number of books about Collaborative Inquiry and some fantastic instructional videos online.