In addition to partnerships with schools and school clusters, Kath presents workshops for a number of organizations. These are a useful source of information for teachers who are currently on a professional learning journey for inquiry or for those teachers wishing to get a general picture of the approach before deciding whether to proceed further. The content of the workshops can be negotiated with the host organization.
2017 ‘Open’ Workshops
Workshops for 2017 will be posted on the website by mid November.
what's in A wORKSHOP....
IT'S TIME FOR I-TIME!: PLANNING FOR PERSONALISED INQUIRY P-6
This workshop is for teachers who want to take inquiry further and who believe in the power of personal passion!
“Whatever your circumstances, you need to find time to be in your element - to do what gives you energy rather than what takes it from you.” Ken Robinson, 2013
There has been growing interest in ‘personalised learning’ for many years now. Increasingly, schools are making arrangements that provide more opportunities for students to learn to be self-directed and to have their needs and interests met through the curriculum. An inquiry-based approach is, in itself, an approach that recognizes the importance of student voice and choice and of linking new learning to the existing knowledge, experiences and interests of the student.
Teachers who use an inquiry based approach are committed to helping students ‘learn to learn’ and to equipping them with the skills and dispositions to more independently investigate questions, problems, issues and interests. But what opportunities do we give students to do this both within and beyond the “units of inquiry” we may develop? How can we enhance our inquiry program so that students have real opportunities to follow their passions and to truly inquire into those things that matter to them? And why is this important? This workshop is all about supporting students in personal inquiry. A range of programming options will be shared but we will focus in detail on one approach- the use of a regular session: “itime”. We will explore the following questions with practical tasks and lots of recent examples from classrooms:
- Why is personal inquiry important? What’s our purpose?
- How can we help students identify their passions? How can we inspire wonderment and curiosity?
- How might opportunities for personal inquiry be structured differently for different age groups?
- How can we make sure personal inquiry time is not simply “doing projects”?
- What skills and dispositions do students need to make this work? How can we teach these?
- How can we make this manageable? What systems and routines make it work?
- What does a typical personal inquiry session look like?
- What organisational arrangements help ensure personal inquiry is rich and rigorous?
- How can we involve students in co-constructing criteria for routines, content and assessment?
- How can we make links across the curriculum through personal inquiry?
- How can we involve the wider community and communicate the importance of this practice to parents?
- What resources are available to support this way of working?
This workshop would best suit teachers who already have some understanding of inquiry and are using this approach in some form in their school.
WHAT DO GREAT INQUIRY TEACHERS DO?
In this practical workshop, Kath will work with teachers to develop their understanding of what it means to be ‘an inquiry teacher’. Teaching with an inquiry mindset changes the way we see our role and the way we see students. Regardless of the ‘subject area’ we may be working in or even the age group of students we may be working with – there are some powerful techniques at our disposal that help our students become the independent, curious, courageous inquirers we hope them to be. Some guiding questions for the workshop include:
- What learning engagements best foster inquiry?
- How can we use our questioning techniques to help students think more deeply?
- What kind of ‘teacher talk’ invites inquiry? What shuts in down?
- How can we help students make better connections between learning areas, between skills and concepts and between school, home and the community?
- How can teachers use the physical environment in ways that better stimulate and support inquiry?
- What does inquiry teaching and learning look like at ‘lesson’ level?
- How can we help ourselves ‘let go’ unnecessary control while maintaining rigor and purposeful learning?
- How can we ensure we teach with courage and curiosity?
This workshop is all about teaching FOR inquiry learning. Teachers can plan wonderful learning experiences for students but, ultimately, it is how we guide students withinthose experiences that makes the most difference to learning. Kath will use practical exercises together with recent and varied examples from the field to explore the art of inquiry teaching.
THE INQUIRING CLASSROOM
In this workshop, teachers have the opportunity to clarify their understanding of what it really means to use an inquiry based approach to teaching and learning in the primary classroom. During this highly interactive day, we examine the essential elements of inquiry and how these elements can be ‘brought to life’ through our planning, use of materials, choice of strategies and interactions with students. Teachers explore the conditions that best ‘set the scene’ for productive inquiry learning and the way in which we can be ‘inquiring teachers’ throughout our program – not just in the contexts of ‘units of work.’ This workshop highlights the ways we can develop the transdisciplinary skills of inquiry through daily classroom tasks.
PLANNING POWERFUL UNITS OF INQUIRY
In this workshop, Kath takes teachers through a model for planning and teaching inquiry that builds students’ understandings and interdisciplinary skills.. Practical examples from a wide range of settings are shared with teachers and they also have the opportunity to reflect on their own planning and ways to enhance the quality of units of inquiry planned for their students. Some of the questions we explore include:
How do we find out what students already think and feel about a concept?
How can we gather and use students’ questions in productive ways?
How do we best support students in independent inquiry?
How do we assist students to demonstrate their understandings during an inquiry?
THINKING AND QUESTIONING FOR DEEPER UNDERSTANDING
This workshop focuses on the central element of effective inquiry – thinking. The emphasis is on the practical: how can we best develop students’ critical, logical, creative and reflective thinking as we move through a unit of inquiry? Some great strategies are shared that teachers can apply directly to their classrooms. This workshop also explores the role of teacher questioning and how this impacts on student learning – teachers discover new ways to question students in order to encourage sustained and deeper thinking. We look at the relationship between thinking and understanding and what we can do to promote (and recognise) deeper understanding in students. This workshop helps sharpen teachers’ assessment techniques as well as offer a powerful new layer to the ways in which they work with students both within and beyond the unit of inquiry.
GOING FURTHER – TOWARDS INDEPENDENT INQUIRY
In effective inquiring classrooms, students have some opportunities to pursue interests, questions and problems of interest to them. Learning become more personalized and students become more responsible for the management of their own learning journeys. In this workshop, we will explore some of the techniques that can be used to assist students to conduct their own inquiries more successfully. These investigations may be part of a whole class focus or a more sustained, negotiated process with small groups and individuals. From formulating questions, selecting resources for investigation, analyzing information to communicating understandings – we look at the structures and scaffolds that support students while building independence.
LITERACY AND INQUIRY
In this workshop, Kath explores the links between an inquiry approach and literacy in the primary school. There is increasing awareness of the need for students to ‘make connections’ in their learning- to see the links between learning areas; to link prior and new knowledge; theory to action, and classroom learning to the ‘real world’. As teachers, we are now striving to make our classrooms places where students are given the tools to help them become life long learners. How do we do all of this and ensure that we are ‘covering’ the literacy demands of the curriculum as well?
As students explore topics and issues of substance across the curriculum, they work with and generate written, visual and oral texts . These texts provide us with wonderful literacy teaching opportunities and the chance to really stretch students’ thinking skills. At each stage of an inquiry, we can challenge students to use reading, writing, speaking and listening skills for worthwhile purposes and gradually find ourselves planning and teaching in much more efficient and powerful ways.
FEES, ACCOMMODATION, TRAVEL AND OTHER EXPENSES
Contact Kath directly for information regarding fees for service as this depends on the size of the group, nature of the work required, travel time etc. Overseas and interstate schools/organizations are required to pay travel and accommodation costs in addition to consultancy fees.