Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

Professional learning using teacher inquiry

Video Help

Duration: 4:28

Chris Allen, principal of Sacred Heart Girls' College, and Mike Wilson, ICT cluster director, share why they chose to use a teacher inquiry model as a focus for professional learning and why that approach has been so successful.

Chris Allen – Principal, Sacred Heart Girls’ College:

My role at the school is to direct and help make a reality the vision of our school, which is to lift the merits and excellences here at Sacred Heart.

Mike Wilson – ICT Cluster Director, Sacred Heart Girls’ College:

There were two reasons why we chose to use an inquiry model as a focus for our professional learning. The first one was our staff were asking for more of a voice towards their learning, professional learning, and also they wanted to have more ownership in their professional learning. So that was one aspect. The second one was our professional learning committee last year were given three goals to approach.

Chris Allen – Principal, Sacred Heart Girls’ College:

Which was to lift the achievement levels of our students and we used a focus on literacy and a focus on e-learning and this brought all three together. The way that we set it up I think is absolutely critical to the fact that it has been so successful for us is that we have actually dedicated an hour every Wednesday morning on a weekly basis for the teachers to actually have time to put into practice what we are asking them to do. So our slots are a mixture of input from various speakers, there’s feedback from various groups, we also give the teachers workshop time so they can actually have a time to play with the e-learning tools, a time to experiment, and also a time to meet with each other.

Mike Wilson – ICT Cluster Director, Sacred Heart Girls’ College:

One thing about this project was it could be individual or group, and by having a cross-curricular focus in some groups there’s been a real cross-curricular sharing of ideas which has been quite powerful in a secondary environment.

Chris Allen – Principal, Sacred Heart Girls’ College:

Teachers have very much focussed on their actual practice in the classrooms. They have thought very carefully about what things they wanted to achieve and how they were going to achieve it. They’ve worked collaboratively, sometimes it’s a cross-curriculum area, sometimes it’s within a curriculum area, sometimes it’s between schools, they have actually gone outside the school and looked for other areas to use. The reflection is very, very powerful and it’s not just for at the end of the project, we’ve encouraged that to happen throughout the project. So we started the project and then about a third of the way through we said we want you to feed back to us now what you’re doing, how it’s going, what changes you’ve made, and why you’ve made those changes. And what’s been really powerful for us has been listening to each other about what they have done and people sort of saying, "I’ve just this particular e- tool," "I’ve used this particular piece of software," and other people have been able to say, “Ah,” either, “I was using that and this is another way you could use it,” or “Wow, I hadn’t thought of that. I might include that in my work that I am doing." And as people have reflected back to the whole group conversations have started, and I think that’s really, really important that the conversations between people and between faculties and curriculum areas is starting to happen more and I think that’s really powerful.

Mike Wilson – ICT Cluster Director, Sacred Heart Girls’ College:

Ultimately, this project has been about increasing the merit and excellence level answers within our students. Also literacy levels which does lead into the excellence and merit answers. And also the increase of ICT, and what we’ve seen is teachers have had a greater uptake of ICT tools and techniques related to literacy within the classes. Also it’s led the teachers to think about inquiry as a whole, and that’s brought inquiry into their teaching which wouldn’t have been there. Teachers who have historically been a chalk and talk teacher, standing at the front and lecturing, have now taken on the facilitator role and their classrooms are much different.

Chris Allen – Principal, Sacred Heart Girls’ College

The next steps that we’re thinking of doing is probably, I want to add a little bit more rigour in asking teachers to assess what evidence they’re using to decide what their project is. So why have they decided that’s the need that they’re looking for? And also probably one of the things I want to focus on is knowing the learner. So focussing on maybe four or five students and working across curriculum in the project groups and sort of saying, "Ok, what do we know about these students? And what can we do in maths, English, science, or wherever they put their groups together, to actually make sure that these students are getting exactly what they need?" And looking at all sorts of different ways of supporting them.

Tags: Secondary, Teacher inquiry, Literacy, NCEA, Collaborative teacher inquiry, Professional development