Saturday, March 19, 2011
Collaborative Inquiry Team Day
I am so proud of the Saskatoon Board of Education (SBE) in their efforts to provide great, relevant professional development opportunities for teachers and to enable community schools to set and achieve high standards. Today I attended a collaborative inquiry team (CIT) expo where we were given the opportunity to share our progress and our goals with other CIT groups and schools.
This type of PD for teachers is state of the art in my opinion. The idea behind it is that teachers get together in groups and determine what they want to learn, how they will learn it, how they will measure it and how they will communicate their learning. I have purposely phrased this in Alfie Kohn's language that he uses for student learning. Why should the principles of great student learning be any different from professional development for teachers?
This type of PD is locally determined, relevant to each teacher and each school, teacher driven, enables deep learning, differentiated learning, collaborative, data driven, is facilitated by administration rather than mandated/authoritative and has led to much rich discussion within and outside of our school.
Specifically, I had the privilege to connect with colleagues Jeff Elliot, Chris Clarke and Bob Shmon. It is always fun for me when I am in a situation to share ideas to improve educational practices with passionate and skilled people. One of the ideas behind this type of learning is that everyone has something to offer and to build on (constructivism at it's best).
I learned about how they were using the SBE virtual classroom, their version of critical thinking, using writing exemplars, co-constructing criteria with students, metacognition in class newsletters, alternate classroom structures, using technology to engage students, video making and reading comprehension strategies. I took a stab at getting them to share their work ideas in an on-line PLC.
My own school CIT group had time to review our progress and to take aim at our next step. This was very rewarding and productive for all involved. Hats off to our board for providing the framework for a great PD day and the promise of more to come!