School Name: Nechako Valley Secondary School
School District: SD#91 Nechako Lakes
Inquiry Team Members: Mia Moutray: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Other: SEL
Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Growth mindset, Self-regulation, Social and emotional learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Increasing student voice and strengthening relationships between and among learners.
Scanning: We wondered about deepening our Middle Years advisory to be more student-centred. As it stood, advisory was used to get to know students but stopped short of mediation and problem solving, and it lacked student ownership. We considered the First Peoples’ principles and noticed that this time could be more relational.
Focus: We were hoping to empower students to lead advisory time and to make it more meaningful and relevant to learners.
Hunch: Our practice was to have a different teacher design advisory slides each week (with a daily share-out question and game). Advisory was also teacher-led. Our hunch was that students would feel empowered to ask questions of their peers and to lead the talking circle.
New Professional Learning: Our area of professional learning was action research. We used trial and error, and student voice and feedback to guide us. Resources from Up for Learning and AMLE were helpful.
Taking Action: We wanted to honour the work of our colleagues by using the advisory slides that they created, so we continued to do so. When it was our turn to create slides for our Middle Years program, we asked learners to volunteer to do so. They created PowerPoint slides with relevant discussion topics, photos, and activities for their class. These slides were sent out to all teachers to use. We also worked on a land acknowledgement activity and had learners do it daily during advisory. Finally, we asked for advisory leaders to guide the class each day.
Checking: We are satisfied with the steps we made this year. We would like to continue to work on this area in our practice by making more explicit connections to BC’s core competencies. Embedding student voice and having student leaders was powerful, based on our observations and discussions with learners. It also allowed deeper teacher-student connections and stronger relationships within the classroom as a whole.
Reflections/Advice: We learned that it’s better to try something new than to sit back and accept the status quo. We encourage any school who does not use advisory to implement this practice. As noted, we want to use this time to more explicitly teach SEL strategies and to connect it to core competencies.