Professional Development Day Our Story: What is going on for our learners?
“Innovation floats on a sea of inquiry…curiosity is a driver for change.”
–Helen Timperly, Leading Powerful Professional Learning, 2020
On September 24 our staff gathered to look at evidence collected during student interviews in the late spring. We scanned our learners (K-7) to help us determine a focus question for “Our Story”. We will use the evidence to help us know where will we concentrate our energies in order to make a big and lasting difference for our learners and identify an area as a school goal.
In the late Spring 2021 we scanned our students for learning and wellness. Teachers interviewed students inorder to:
- understand the experiences of our young people as learners.
- listen to their voices.
- learn what our learners saying.
We asked ourselves:
- Can they express what they are learning?
- Do they know what they need to do next?
- Are they becoming more metacognitive about their learning?
- Are they tuned into their feelings and emotions?
- Do they have strategies to help them navigate the ups and downs of life?
We used the Four Key Questions for Learners (Spirals of Inquiry).
Everyone is likely to have opinions about what is going on for learners. In the scanning phase, we are collected evidence about the perspective of our learners as we believe that it is important to challenge our assumptions by asking simply asking our learners directly. Together we know we can collaborate, cooperate, and support networked learning.
So we asked our learners following Four Key Questions for Learners (Spirals of Inquiry):
- Can you name two people in this setting who believe you will be a success in life?
- What are you learning and why is it important?
- How is it going with your learning?
- What are your next steps?
We also added two SEL* wellness/coping questions in response to being in a pandemic and the multitude of stressors that we have a hunch has had an impact on our learners:
Intermediate - What do you need to learn and thrive at school?
Primary - What do you need to keep your heart happy at school?
Intermediate - What are some helpful strategies you have to cope with difficult emotions (sadness, anger, disappointment, fear, etc.)?
Primary - What helps your mind, body and heart feel calm when you have big feelings (mad/sad/angry)?
*Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process of acquiring and applying the knowledge, attitudes and skills “to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” www.casel.org/what-is-sel
We began our Professional Development Day reflecting on what we learned by prioritizing time to interveiw learners and listen deeply:
- What did you learn about your students by deeply listening?
- What questions did it leave you with?
We followed this by digging deep into the the evidence. Using grade groups, team gathered:
1.Using the master excel sheet with all learners responses collated (by question) read through and scan.
- Using information from the scan to identify an area concentrated team learning
- Gathering more information if you need it to understand the situation
- Building on strengths or positives, as well as clarifying challenges
- Identifying a common area that the team can work on together
3. Cooperatively select a question you want to look even deeper at the evidence for. *Use your interviews to support this decision
4. Read through the evidence together.
5. Using information from the scan, identify a common area/question that emerges for your team to work on
6. Move (copy/paste) your evidence onto the Phase Log recording page. Be selective - you don’t need to include all the quotes support your inquiry
7. Summarize your discussion and rationale - this the heart of the work. Take your time. Explore and dig deep. Give it a go with an open mind. You will learn from the process. Remember, Slow down. Resist the urge to leap to action focused dialogue. Be curious about the strengths you find, as well as the challenges,in order to gain a fuller understanding of what is going on and what will make the biggest difference going forward.
8. EMAIL documentatio for share out after break
9. Select a person to share out once we return.
*PLEASE SEE EVIDENCE POST CALLED PHASE LOG SCANNING DOCUMENTATION SEPT. 21, 2021 FOR STAFF WORK.
Staff then shared their findings to the whole group. We made cross connections and documented our conversation.
Next Steps: FOCUS - What will have the biggest impact?
We will gather the work and carefully collate the work. What are the common themes that emerged in the initial scan? WHat did our staff discover? We will next select one area on which to focus. We will choose an area of high impact that will address what we learned. This focus will be tranlated into a focus question to guide our work moving forward.