School Name: Selkirk Elementary School
School District: Yukon Education
Inquiry Team Members:Nicole Doré: Nicole.Doré@yesnet.yk.ca
Inquiry Team Contact Email: Chris.Stacey@yesnet.yk.ca
Type of Inquiry: NOII (focus on core competencies, OECD learning principles, etc.)
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3)
Curricular Area(s): Other: This inquiry focused on fostering a learning network on a team of professionals and their own inquiries.
Focus Addressed: Growth mindset, Inquiry-based learning, Other: Seven Principles of Learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? To enhance the literacy results of Early French Immersion students, especially in the primary years, by building a school-based Learning Network of French Immersion program staff.
Scanning: Last year, the Neurolinguistic Approach (ANL) was presented to the three French Immersion teachers and applied to all our FSL learners with great success. Two Early French Immersion kindergarten classes and a first grade gained a great reputation for fostering high abilities in spoken FSL. We felt confident in the approach and wanted our new dual-track school to continue to foster this approach as the French Immersion program would grow.
Scanning the school this year had shown that despite everyone’s effort in creating a successful French Immersion program, there was a need for time to collaborate; the French Immersion team seldom had the opportunity to meet.
It became obvious that a new classroom teacher, the Learning Assistant and Educational Assistants would benefit from learning the foundations of the Neurolinguistic Approach in order to foster the new program in a linear way. I utilized the Spiral of Inquiry to promote collaborative, evidence-informed inquiry from each team member with a focus on literacy (Principle of learning: Emphasize the social nature of learning).
Focus: I sought out to support networked learning by providing an opportunity for the team to collaborate and cooperate on language pedagogy. I wanted to provide my peers with new tools (the Spiral and ANL) for professional development, which would ultimately lead the team into a professional learning community allowing us to share effective practices about pedagogical strategies that supported teaching and learning in a second language. Through informal conversations and short monthly meetings, my energy would be concentrated for the team as:
– a consultant: offering support and providing resources;
– a collaborator: creating challenges and encouraging growth; and
– a coach: facilitating vision and professional growth, as well as frequent check ins.
Hunch: The team was composed of highly skilled and committed professionals. By collaborating with Curricular Consultants at the Department, we engaged a team of Teachers and Educational Assistants, on a voluntary basis, to work on their own spiral of inquiries, with a focus on language. Providing support, frequent check ins, one-on-one discussions, and coordinating meetings, required a large time commitment but would ultimately create the learning network the Immersion students would benfit from.
New Professional Learning: The team was allotted one PD day, which we organized into three elements:
– L ’ANL with Pascal St-Laurent, French as a Second Language Curriculum Consultant
– Balanced Literacy with Christiane Robert, Reading Recovery Teacher
– Spirals of Inquiry with me, French Immersion Teacher
This provided the team with new learning that could be implemented directly into the classroom and ultimately improve their current practices. It also gave the team the opportunity to share where they were at in their inquiry, to collaborate and to support each other.
Further professional learning came from:
– Observation Survey Training with Jane Wilson & Christiane Robert, provided new skills in assessment that become transparent and comparable
– Learning Network Sessions with the Department of Education – onsite and online meetings allowed me to gain insight and share with my team
– School PD Days (Mindset, Goal Setting, FN) which directly relates to our inquiries
– Spiral Conference with Linda Kaser & Judy Halbert (I was very lucky to attend this informal discussion providing me with insight that I could share with my team.)
• Wrap up & celebration- time to share our inquiries and professional learning
Taking Action: Describe strategies you and your team decided on and how your actions worked out. Be as specific as possible – so that other teams can learn from your experience.
“Taking action” came hand-in-hand with the “New learning”. Every part of the new learning embedded taking action, influencing the direction and intentions the team had on their inquiries. The three big-questions were continuously revisited. Record keeping of informal conversations, PD Days, student results were all part of the evidence gathered to determine the effectiveness and positive changes in their professional practice.
Throughout the entire process, the frequent check ins were crucial in sustaining the momentum of learning. Also, reflecting on the team’s emotional and motivational state was pivotal in determing the next courses of action.
Checking: “Teachers who co-create their own learning are more curious.” A team of eleven professionals resulted in six inquiries, in addition to my own and a consultant’s inquiry.
The results have demonstrated that:
– An EFI K class has resulted in notable progress in reading;
– An EFI K class has resulted in notable progress in oral speaking through the use of l’ANL;
– An EFI grade 1 resulted in ___ in reading.
– An EFI 1/2 resulted in ___ in writing.
– A Reading Recovery Teacher noticed…
– A FSL Consultant
My check will not be completed until the team member’s have “finalized” or at least “checked” their own inquiries, at which time the following questions will be discussed: Have your new actions changed your learner’s outcomes for the better? How do you feel the spiral has helped you?
The rich exchanges, integration of EAs and consultants as well as the professional growth created great satisfaction for myself as a coach, but also for every member of the team. This has been a successful Learning network, creating heightened confidence and motivation in our FSL learners, but also in the team members. This model’s strength was not necessarily in the individual projects, but how each member is now immersed in inquiry! My final question will be: What will come next?
Reflections/Advice: “One spiral of inquiry leads to another.” Not only did gathering the French Immersion team together create a platform to work collaboratively and share challenges and successes, but every member is now aware of the transformation that happens as the spiral begins. It took a lof of energy to have many roles, but working with such a committed team and seeing how they are now immersed in the inquiry process is enough to make me feel satisfied!
Side note: Having completed my first inquiry two years ago, I also realized the importance of Growth Mindset and the Seven Learning Principles in the inquiry process. It wasn’t highlighted in Spirals of Inquiry: for equity and quality’s model two years ago, but has since become a crucial element to the process. I am grateful to have seen this change and hope that my colleagues will continue to see changes throughout the following years as they continue to lead themselves into new inquiries.