Porirua East schools: Cannons Creek, Windley, and Holy Family conducted an inquiry to understand and enhance impacts on learning among target students in 2015 and 2016.
Talanoa is "a personal encounter where people story their issues, their realities and aspirations".
Talanoa identifies how Pasifika peoples engage in communicating with others. All four aspects of Talanoa play an important part in conversations with learners, parents and teachers:
Talanoa can be used to:
Introducing Talanoa at the beginning of the year provided a positive means of communication for everyone. Throughout the inquiry, Talanoa helped teachers:
Teachers noticed a difference in the way they connected with students, parents, families, and communities.
Initially, the teachers engaged in the scanning phase of the inquiry. Using the Talanoa process as a guide, the teachers supported learners to create learning maps.
The maps showed:
Students used images and words to represent the impacts.
Referring to the 7 Principles of Learning , the teachers developed questions to guide their students through the map-making process:
During the scanning phase, the teachers set up a collaborative Google Doc to connect across schools, helping them to:
During the focusing phase of the inquiry, teachers worked collaboratively to identify common themes across their scanning. They recorded conversations and shared them with each other. The common themes that emerged were student voice and learner agency. Teachers believed that learners should be able to:
They related these themes to the 7 Principles of Learning . The four related principles in this case were:
In the developing a hunch phase of the inquiry, teachers conducted a situation analysis in order to critique their own practice.
Situation analysis is a process that encourages inquiry into practices to fully understand a student’s achievement challenge. Situation analysis involving the perspectives of family, whānau, and community can help to identify practices leading to achievement challenges.
During the situation analysis, teachers discovered the need to focus on building learner agency through:
|Learning goal||Tools and resources|
|Learn more about learner agency – blog about what you learn or lead staff sessions||Crowdsourced slides on agency and learners at the centre|
|Learn about effective ways to give learners feedback and feedforward with a view to building self-regulating learners|| |
Clarity in the Classroom – a book about formative assessment to help build self-regulating learners
Effective Feedback – information on Assessment Online
|Engage all parents in conversations about their children’s learning||Ruia – School-whānau partnerships|
As they move into 2016, the teachers engaging in the learning and taking action phases of the inquiry will continue to change their practices. The Learning phase will be an ongoing, in-depth process for the teachers.
The following table illustrates the early signs of impacts on learners. It has examples of actions taken and the future-focused education themes from the 7 Principles of learning
they relate to.
|Impact||Principle of learning|
Learners more able to talk about their learning
Teachers enabled learners to have more ownership over their learning as they were encouraged to talk more about what they had learned and what their next steps were.
Learners at the centre
Learners were encouraged to actively engage in their own learning, developing an understanding of their own actions.
Learners used the Talanoa process to work with each other
New entrants were supported to talk together more, rather than having a heavy focus on teacher-directed practices. A parent came in to tell the teacher that their son was talking more at home about his learning at school – they were amazed at the change in their son.
The social nature of learning
Learners were actively encouraged to collaborate through well-organised cooperative learning strategies.
Reading and writing results improved for learners
In one example, a teacher used Google Docs with learners to enable more immediate feedback as they worked on their writing. Learners were able to collaborate in the docs to give each other feedback.
Recognising individual differences
Learners were able to operate in adaptable learning environments that supported individuals and groups as a whole. Google Docs were a key tool in enabling further agency for learners as classes moved away from one-size-fits-all approaches.
The teachers are continuing with their inquiry into 2016. The Learning, Taking Action, and Checking phases have yet to be completed, although many teachers are exploring these phases already.