2022 ICSEI – NOIIE Slide Notes
Slide 3 (Lynn Archer): The waterways and low-lying lands of Richmond have been a gathering place for thousands of years. Human life and wildlife came to gather food. When settlers first came it continued to be a gathering place, and it is today as Richmond is the gateway for Canada’s second largest international airport. This image taken from the dike along the Fraser River in Richmond is meaningful for me in terms of the NOIIE, as the network is a gathering place for people to share ideas, understandings, and create new possibilities. We come from different places. We don’t all look or sound the same. We have many different ideas and thoughts. Despite differences, we gather – virtually and in person – when possible, to nurture equity and innovation for all.
The log represents collaboration and having a safe and trusting place to come together for meaningful, professional learning. The birds represent all of us networking as learning leaders within the Richmond School District, and across the province and the world creating threads, sparks, and connections. The water represents inquiry and innovation as its constant flow is like the continuous curiosity and courage needed to “engage in practices of professional vulnerability” to build commitment and spread innovation. The grasses represent conditions for growth and learning to have equitable, quality learning for all.
Slide 4 (Jana Fox)
Slide 5 (Barb Hamblett & Angela Stott): These twin bundles of sagebrush were harvested from the hills of Kamloops, in the Secwépemculecw. This plant has spiritual and ceremonial significance for the local Indigenous people, and we believe, aptly represents the network Angela and I have developed.
The Ecological Society of America reports that Sagebrush operate as a networked plant, communicating ways to survive and thrive in the presence of adversity. In fact, Sagebrush support each other in ways that actually influence other plants to take action.
Barb and I operate within a collective of sagebrush who, through planned and intentional action, continually strive to diversify our networks.
For instance, when Dr. McGregor’s work with the Indigenous Transitions network was shared out through the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network, the Transitions Report identified key strategies used by the ally-focused inquiry teams. Strategies like adjusting your risk meter, questioning your bias and privilege and making sure to connect the head, heart and hands were all emphasized. These strategies resonated deeply for me and Angela and I use them throughout our own work.
I have been privileged to have been connected to networks throughout my career. They have shaped who I am as an educator thriving on the collective brain power and action of a group. My involvement, small and large, with QTL, mentioned in Catherine McGregor’s paper; NW RISE, in their early days of realizing a network in the Pacific Northwest; the Network of Performance Based Schools that grounded me in collaborative and collective work; and the Network of Inquiry and Indigenous Education to name some, have emphasized the value of relationship and a flattened hierarchy. As our image depicts, we have open and willing hearts, surrounded by informed action and strong interpersonal relations.
Working with Angela has honed my relational leadership skills and has helped me balance this with purposeful action. With every network I encounter, be that with educators in my own school, or those across BC, I hear Angela’s voice asking me… “What are we doing on purpose to meet the needs of our learners…”
Working with Barb has highlighted the acceleration of informed action. Using foundational documents and frameworks like the Spiral of Inquiry, we are more apt to take risks, be vulnerable, and have fun publicly with our colleagues who are joining us on this learning journey.
These few examples of what we have learned from others, along with the kindred nature of our own working relationship, continues to deepen the work we are currently doing. Like the Sagebrush, our networks are influencing and supporting one another, as collectively, we continue not only to survive, but thrive in the face of adversity.
Slide 6 (Natalie Mansour)
Slide 7 (Begonya Folch Martinez): As you can see, my metaphor is about FIRE & CONVERSATION.
I’ve selected 5 pieces of artwork for the things I’ve learned during these 5 years, since I met Linda & Judy for the first time.
The campfires on the right talk about light and warmth — the light of expertise and the warmth of belonging. Both paintings let colour and contrast suggest the atmosphere. I’ve learned that it takes a certain atmosphere to learn, and how important it is to create it.
But the “Hanging Fire” on the left, by Cornelia Parker, talks about something different. Teaching is an art: the work is never finished, and you need to stay curious and creative.
These chairs and headphones in a circle, by the Canadian artist Rebecca Belmore, is called “A Gathering of People for Any Purpose”, and for me is the metaphor of the conversation within the NOIIE, where all voices, cultures, and perspectives are heard. On one of these headphones, we can hear a bird-song. Even a bird can speak to remind us, like the famous hummingbird, that “all drops of water matter”: I’ve learned that “I do what I can” is a superpower.
And finally, you see below “Cold Dark Matter. An Exploded View” by Cornelia Parker.
When I read “The Spiral of Inquiry Playbook” for the first time, everything blew up, in a good sense, it was like this sight of an explosion.
The experience is individual, but the reflection is joint: interpreting the shadows and having an overall picture, we can only do it TOGETHER.
Slide 8 (Brooke Moore): From my network colleagues, I have learned the importance of engaging the senses as a way of engaging with the Spiral of Inquiry.
From my colleagues in New Zealand, who made a board-game-like protocol and set of manipulatives for moving through the Spiral of Inquiry, I learned the power of helping people engage with a theoretical process in a way they could see and touch.
From my colleagues in Australia, I learned the power of starting meetings with a short video of a learner – a powerful way of engaging the senses because in addition to moving the hearts of all the educators in the room and reminding us of the why behind our work, it shows how the individual lives in the universal – how focusing on one child can help us better see all children.
From my colleagues in England, I learned that making the micro-moves within the Spiral visual and concrete increases the accessibility of the work – graphic organizers and protocols offer those engaging in the Spiral a place for their thinking.
From my Catalan colleagues, I learned that all of this works better if it is also beautiful and storied. Moments enriched with metaphor, colour, and light resonate at a different, an embodied vibration.
My network colleagues have shown me how engaging with the senses helps us embody this work and come to it with our whole selves, that this is head, heart, and hand work.
Often this learning comes not in seminars or lectures, but in the sharing of stories, the stories of our learners, the stories of our curiosities, the stories of what matters most.
Slide 9 (Ingela Netz & Lillemor Rehnberg): Thanks to the generous community among Spiral networks around the world we have learned a lot. What we would like to mention today is the concept of Cwelelep, a word that over and over again reminds us about the importance to slow down while moving forward in order to avoid running away from moments of confusion where deep learning actually can happen. It doesn’t matter if it concerns our own work or if it’s in contact with the schools and school leaders we are meeting.
We are part of a system where the pressure is high on quick acting, easy quality-measuring and increasing results. In moments of confusion, of “not-knowing-yet”, it’s very tempting to quickly catch the first opportunity or solution in sight, and move on.
In being a part of the generous community of the Spiral of Inquiry where sharing, dialogues and collegial meetings are frequent, we have found the strength and generosity that gives us the courage to slow down and hold on long enough to put our hunches at the table and give them both a second and third thought together with colleagues.
In the networking community as well as in collegial, horizontal inquiry lies the power, generosity and benevolence that helps us stay in cwelelep long enough to really learn.
Slide 10 (David Turner)