At Pt England I am working to develop a collaborative culture of inquiry into practice in order to improve teaching pedagogy and lift student achievement. The first element of this is collaboration.
In their book Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School Hargraves and Fullan (2012) talk about human capital, thats the skills, capabilities and qualifications we bring as individuals to teaching, and how it can be enhanced by social capital. Social capital is the capital we have together. We are stronger as communities when we trust each other, collaborate and work together to reach goals. Social capital adds value to human capital, so the relationships we have with our colleagues will improve our teaching performance over time.
Our collaborative teaching inquiry model follows this assumption that we are better together. We are aiming to build capacity through critical thinking and collaboration, that has a positive impact on our students.
To facilitate this collaboration teachers are in flexible groups that are created around their area of inquiry, level of experience, area of teaching and social connections. These groups meet together 3 times each term to share, learn, support and reflect together, then again at the end of the term to present what they addressed in their practice, and what impact it has had so far on student achievement.
These collaborative inquiry groups range in size from 3 to 10 and have a coach who leads their discussions and acts as a support person. As our teaching inquiry facilitator I liaise with these coaches to set meeting agendas and provide external and internal expertise for their group’s needs. Just as our teaching pedagogy for our students, our own leaning cycle is a process of Learn, Create, Share.
We just met for the second time this week and I was excited to see the momentum some of the groups were gathering. There were less confident teachers smiling and showing off the learning activities they had created collaboratively. What they were able to achieve with support was more than they were able to develop on their own.
Another way networking and collaboration is being facilitated, is through the professional blogs teachers are setting up to share their teaching inquiry. For some this itself is a challenge, and the function of the group has proved powerful in not just the practical sharing of digital knowledge, but also the feedback and support teachers are giving one another on their blogs.
Take a look at some of these to see what interesting inquiry journeys our teachers are on:
A Teacher's Journey
Initiative, Connection and Challenge
1 2 1 4 1 2 3