Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reflections on the Teacher Inquiry Process

I was lucky this year. I had the opportunity to participate in a Inquiry project sponsored by our union and the district. Teachers were invited to develop an inquiry question that applied to their practice and we were given release time to learn about what an inquiry project was and to work in collaboration with colleagues.

I say I was lucky but I have to tell you I didn't feel that way through the whole process. After our first session I turned to my teaching partner and asked her what we had gotten ourselves into. The whole process seemed overwhelming and frighting to me. Asking questions, monitoring our thought processes, collecting DATA and most terrifyingly reporting about the whole process to others.

The process proved to be a great experience for me. It gave me the opportunity to collaborated with colleagues, exchange ideas and struggles. It also help me focus my own practice, giving me a clear target to concentrate on and helped me look more closely at how I was teaching and why I chose to teach that way.  It wasn't an easy or comfortable process all the time, but it was enlightening for me.

Tonight was our "presentation and party" and it really wrapped up the whole experience for me. Explaining what I had learned and how I had learned it helped me really clarify my own thinking and hearing about other teachers process and findings was also very valuable. I learned a lot and I have a whole new crop of questions I now want answers to.

So why am I sharing this with you? I believe teacher inquiry is a very valuable form of professional development. Self directed, focused on real problems and real solutions for our own classrooms. It takes teachers where they are NOW and leads them somewhere better. I know for many it sounds frighting and I wanted to let you all know - I am a survivor of the inquiry process. (I want a badge that says that!) 
Was it a lot of work? Yes, yes it was. Would I do it again? You bet - where do I sign up?

The Prezi my group presented:

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