Developing and implementing effective inquiry based learning across a school requires an approach to professional learning that is intensive, ongoing and classroom-centered. Schools wishing to develop teaching, learning and assessment practices generally engage Kath’s services for an extended period. This varies from 6 months to several years. Kath does not offer a ‘set package’ of professional learning – preferring to develop a plan with each school/group taking into account various factors such as their level of current experience with inquiry and, of course, their location! Most partnerships include a range of ways in which Kath works with teachers and students – depending on the needs, time allocation, etc. These ways of working include:
- Planning with small teams of teachers – ideally creating an initial plan and then meeting several times over a given period to reflect, develop and evaluate its effectiveness
- (For IB schools) – enhancing the quality of units of inquiry using the PYP planner
- Working ‘shoulder to shoulder’ in the classroom implementing powerful, inquiry teaching techniques. This may be in the form of classroom demonstration, team teaching or an observation/feedback situation
- Facilitating action-research project teams based on the development of aspects of inquiry based teaching and learning. This usually involves a series of school visits – meeting with project teams. These may or may not be grade-level based. They may be cross school teams when working with a cluster
- Working with a core group of leading teacherson the development of planning and teaching expertise to take back to their teams
- Working with whole staff (usually in conjunction with some of the above practices) – full dayor series of after school workshop
- Retreats/2-3 day intensives.
The focus of these partnerships also varies according to the needs of the school. In long-term partnerships, the focus naturally shifts over time. Examples of some of the foci schools work on are:
- Developing the quality and efficiency of team planning for inquiry
- Developing the repertoire of teaching strategies and techniques in the classroom to enhance student learning
- Developing assessment practices
- Constructing whole school frameworks to support rigorous inquiry
- Designing planning documents that support and record teaching and learning
- Targetting particular elements of inquiry to enhance effectiveness – eg: thinking skills, collaborative learning, self management, classroom organization, teacher questioning, reflection and metacognition, relationships and classroom culture, integration of literacy skills, etc.
Schools wishing to set up some form of partnership with Kath are encouraged to contact her directly.