Monday, 3 August 2015

Reflection about inquiry

It's now the start of Term 3. So where am I at with my inquiry?

I have found that time or lack of time is an ongoing issue. This is the first year in over a decade of teaching where I don't actually have my own class. This means that I don't have the luxury of shuffling or reorganising my teaching programme so that students can complete lessons or tasks throughout the week at a different time. Side projects or other opportunities (e.g trips and video conferencing with other schools) meant that some planned lessons were put on hold, even though they were rich learning experiences. 

I only have the extension students (who are my focus group for my inquiry) for 2-3 hours each week. As a result, there is often a lack of time to cover what I want to teach which has been really frustrating. I often wonder whether what I am doing is making any difference to my students learning. Developing higher order skills takes time to teach and learn. I sometimes feel that I am rushing my students so that the product/rubric is completed on time, but I know that the process of researching, thinking, reflecting, summarising, sharing etc is important in order to develop higher order thinking skills. 

It has become more apparent that time management skills is a key component of student success. During the marking of student projects and presentations, I could clearly see which students had gone the extra mile and put in the extra effort in their own time. This was reflected in the higher quality of work produced and the depth of knowledge and understanding displayed. 

I believe that students need time to complete projects and finish things off properly (one of our school korero). So where necessary, I have given extra time for all students if needed to complete projects. This was worthwhile as I noticed that some students managed to use the extra time to complete projects to an outstanding level. 

Developing an extra inquiry site for my extension students to compliment my 'Creative Space' site was very useful. Students could access this site to find specific resources e.g. definitions, information, Youtube clips etc to help them with their learning. This reduced precious time spent surfing online which is often a time-waster if students don't know what to search for. 

Next steps:
  1. Design projects/tasks with shorter timeframes e.g. assess learning and understanding more often during the term.
  2. Provide opportunities for students to share their learning and understanding in a way that is less time consuming. 
  3. Minimise disruptions to teaching programme e.g. side projects and extra trips outside school
  4. Develop a space on Creative Space site or Extension Inquiry site with resources to help students with time management, studying skills etc
  5. Send group emails out more frequently to students with reminders about extension projects and tasks etc
  6. Email parents with reminders about projects, tasks, resources, and ways that they can help their child etc
Timeframe: Above steps to be completed or underway within the next couple of weeks.