Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Professional Inquiry 2015 - reflection term 2

I just realised that my first post around my inquiry was just after the last GEG Gold Coast Meet up, and tonight is Meetup #3 :) The fabulous +Danni Foster-Brown has invited me to present on Read & Write for Google, expanding on what +Greg O'Connor presented on last time. High time for a reflection post on the progress with my Professional Inquiry!
Collaboration is the 21CLD skill I have decided to focus on first. In the sessions I have run since the last post I have made a deliberate effort to incorporate some form of collaboration, sometimes just informal collaboration (for example a collaborative web tool for brain storming) or shared responsibility (e.g. explain your thinking to a partner, they clarify and present this back to the group). In some instances I have been able to push this just a step further and had them make substantive decisions together. Given the nature of the PL sessions I have been running, this is as far as I can go I believe. Interestingly enough, the presentation for tonight includes no collaboration so far at all; I think a presentation could well include collaborative aspects, so I will re-work it before I run it.

The next skill I want to look at is Knowledge Construction. My gut feeling would be that most teachers would be involved in Knowledge Creation for planning and preparing their work; however, anecdotally I have heard of teachers who have all their planning and preparation provided to them and just need to 'deliver' the lessons. I would count the teachers I have worked with over the last few months as Knowledge Creators.
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Almost all my sessions are planned with the WHY - HOW - WHAT in mind - giving a foundation for meaningful knowledge construction. We always try to work within the school context; however, when you are working with diverse groups you have not met before, a broad approach will be useful. Rich, open-ended questions are really important to allow learners (in this case teachers) to create knowledge. The next step requires learners to be inquirers into significant ideas - in New Zealand the practise known as Teaching as Inquiry (also called Teacher / Teaching Inquiry, Action Research or Action Learning) helps teachers to enhance their practise by focusing on a particular need. Over the last few years I had opportunity to support teachers with this, and I am looking forward to doing so again in the future. Until such time that I can work with teachers on a more long-term basis I will 'park' this skill here as I want to actively explore what it looks like when we take it to the next level of making connections and identifying patterns.

This give me a chance to reflect on skill #3 which is Self-Regulation, with the first step requiring substantive time and opportunity. I have not spent enough time in Australia yet to refer to my current work, so I will reflect on past experiences. Most of the teachers I have supported with the Teaching Inquiries have certainly had extended periods of time to work on their inquiries.
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I am not sure that I have always made the LI and SC completely clear in that context, though, the inquiry question is not necessarily the LI. The aim of a Teaching Inquiries is in almost all cases to enhance student learning by improving teacher practise, so I will try to make sure I make this completely clear in the future. Teachers who are inquiring into their practise plan their work and receive feedback to use to improve their learning.
At this point I would like to give mention to the various online fora teachers are participating in, namely the VLN in NZ and various Educator Groups on Facebook and Google Plus. While some people are rightly concerned about the echo chamber effect, I have seen a lot of roust discussion in these groups which are helping teachers to receive outside information and feedback they can utilise to improve their practise.

So my goal for the next few months is to consolidate and expand the efforts I have made in regards to these three skills, before I tackle the next 21C skills :) I would love some ideas or feedback on what you think works for your professional learning- feel free to leave comment below. THANKS!

EdCamp QLD

EdCamps or EduCamps are also known as TeachMeet UnConferences. They usually follow the Unconference idea ( If you are interested you can find out more about EducampNZ at

This clip give a good summary about how most EdCamps are run.

Would you like to have an EdCamp somewhere in Queensland during 2015? A group of keen educators are are hoping to make this happen. Please complete below survey to help us with planning and running one (or more) event(s)!