Determining Our Focus: Staff Collective Inquiry
As a staff we collectively scanned our learners. We wondered:
- What is going on for our learners?
- How do we know?
- Why does it matter?
After our scan we met as a staff on numerous occasions to determine a focus for "Our Story" as a collective inquiry.
We asked the following questions as we analized the evidence (evidence from Scan: “four key questions” and “Wellness” questions):
- What caught our attention during the scanning phase?
- What’s missing? What other evidence do we need?
- What are some strengths that our learners show in this area?
- How could we build on these strengths?
- What can we most effectively tackle over the next few months? years?
- What will have the biggest impact?
- Where will we concentrate our energies in order to make a big and lasting difference for our learners?
We noticed that our learners on whole feel safe and supported with adults in our school that believe in them. As learners, they could identify an emergent understanding of the big ideas of what they were learning and were working towards naming their next steps.
We noticed that our learners seem to find it difficult to articulate what they need to thrive as learners both academically and social emotionally. In response to the past 18 months of COVID and the dynamics of solving social issues peacefully we see a need to focus on developing Social and Emotional skills and competencies for our learners. For many, stress is tied deeply into how they are doing in their learning, their relationships, and how they do (success) in school. Stressors were named by our learners that included their “success” as a learner, worries about COVID and their health, and their overall “happiness” in life. Happiness was significantly tied to “friendships”.
If we think about SEL as not just a limited set of skills (ie. breathing/self talk, etc.) but rather as a complex set of competencies including academic engagement (success as our learners call it), self-efficacy, perseverance, and self-management (regulation) then all the pieces of what we notice start to fall into place. We noticed that learners brought up all these areas when they spoke of what they needed to thrive at school. While learning the skills are vital – it is just the tip of the SEL iceberg! To “thrive” in development means “…to grow or develop well or vigorously” and to “flourish”.
Alongside, we also wonder if allowing space for connection & interaction among adults where our staff can connect, heal, and build our capacity to support students in the area of SEL would be important? If we are reflecting on own social and emotional wellness, then in turn, might that model and support its importance to our learners?
Main Question to be our focus…
How might we build our learners’ social, emotional, and personal competencies to help them learn, work and thrive together at school and in life?
Sub-questions to guide us…
- What foundations do we need to build?
- How often do our learners use strategies to learn more effectively?
- How well do our learners manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviours in different situations?
- How strong are our learner’s relationship skills?
- How well do our learners regulate their emotions?
- How well do our learners control their emotions when they need to?
- What do our learners need to know to exercise responsible decision making?
- How much do our learners believe they can learn and thrive at school and in life?
- What do our learners need to feel safe in order to explore SEL?