Yesterday educators in the West Vancouver School District came together at Sentinel Secondary to share the process and results of their inquiries from throughout the year. The innovation grants provided by the district allowed teachers and administrators the opportunity to innovate in their classrooms and schools.
Our innovation grant at Ridgeview Elementary was around providing collaborative time for teachers in an effort to build capacity amongst the staff. Our original question was:
Will providing extended monthly collaborative time for teachers deepen and facilitate their abilities to effectively explore and plan their units of Inquiry? Will Inquiry based units be more rigorous and will students’ learning be more connected and meaningful and encourage them to take action?
Though this was our original question, our innovation journey morphed into something different as we were able to establish collaborative time into the schedule with the help our our teacher librarian. Instead we brought in experts and had interested teachers work one-on-one with those experts in the planning and team teaching of inquiry units as well as work with one another.
What was gained from the experience was the same result I had hoped for from the original question in that the innovation grant experience has built capacity amongst the staff. We now have a number of engaged teacher leaders willing to support their colleagues with inquiry-based pedagogy. There are often conversations in the staffroom reflecting on the successes and challenges found with specific classroom lessons that embraced inquiry teaching. The inspiration is there and the ideas have spread. inQuire has moved us beyond an initiative led by the school administration to a movement supported by the teachers and thereby impacting more students. Do we still have further to go? Of course, but when our Professional Development Day around inquiry-based teaching was led by five of our own teachers a few weeks ago, I knew our innovation had proven to be a success.
Below is a copy of our Innovation Team presentation from yesterday. Through the presentation we demonstrated how our teachers are connecting their own learning to our Ridgeview Student Profiles. It is wonderful to see how are teachers are modelling the Profiles and the process we are asking our students to embrace. With increased teacher confidence and knowledge around inquiry-based pedagogy, students next year will surely continue to reap the benefits of their teacher’s professional learning.