Even though I am currently in Japan, I am really grateful and excited to be continuing learning with the Manaiakalani team in New Zealand. If you check out my previous post in this #2021Inquiry series, you can find out more about the journey I have been on over the past 7 years and what has got me to this point in my teaching so far.
This year, I have a little bit of a different lens as I will be continuing my inquiry rather than starting from scratch. But as it turns out I am actually intensifying my inquiry and trying to take it to the next level because my focus in London and NZ, I believe, can be transferable to my teaching practices in Japan too.
My Context now - March 2021
During my MIT project, in 2019, the challenge in my sphere that I defined through the design thinking process was 'A number of our learners do not make expected shift in Literacy.' so my aim was to 'develop a shared oral language that empowers learners to think critically about their current reading strategies and steps. In turn, improve reading comprehension.'
This very much is a starting block for my inquiry this year. I am currently teaching Grade 3 (age 8/9) at an International school in Japan who follow the IB curriculum and my class is made up of 100% EAL/ bilingual learners, so no Native English speakers.
I have chosen to look at Manaiakalani's goals for the purpose of this inquiry as I feel it will help me talk with other teachers following the same framework. Then weaving it with the overall goals of my current school.
1. Collaborate with your school’s leadership team and colleagues to identify areas where your inquiry will make a powerful contribution to wider school and cluster goals.
After the year we have all had, many of us have had a rollercoaster of a ride in 2020 so our inquiries looked very different. So, being part of the first CoL (community of learning) meeting of 2021, it was great to see everyone and think about how we can go back to our original goals as well as weave them into our findings from our different online experiences.
I plan to focus this inquiry around the two highlighted phrases in the photos above:
Which aspects of Manaiakalani pedagogy & kaupapa are causing this in writing and can we replicate this in Reading and Maths?
If we had these (common language and high gain practices) in Reading and Maths, we might see the same acceleration as we have in Writing.
2. From what you know already about your classes and your school’s profile and leadership goals for the year, share a possible inquiry focus. Frame your focus as a desired change in student learning NOT a change in teaching (as yet!)
As for this question, the blog post I mentioned earlier goes into detail about the areas of oral language, story telling and confidence and why I think they are important and link to the desired change in student learning that I feel I would like focus this inquiry on - student confidence and communication which links to the image above.
I am seeing many of my learners have more knowledge than they take action with - some learners don't have the skills yet to independently complete tasks, some learners don't have the confidence yet to speak in English and use the language they know and some learners just are not engaged in some of the learning opportunities I am providing.
So my current inquiry focus is: If I create engaging, multimodal opportunities that empower learners to have agency over their learning will this increase engagement, confidence, communication and overall outcomes?
Soooooo, now that we have had a look behind the scenes - let's take a look at our original question. Can we make our classrooms the Disneyland of learning??
I think so!!
Welcome back to T.O. LAND where we are creating Teachable Opportunities through Laughter, Adventure, kNowledge and Discovery
I am so excited to continue to go on this adventure with you. Over the past while I have been thinking about what I think the foundation of my overall vision is for Empathetic Educators and I think I have finally found it - #Empathy4Engagement
Empathy is such a qualitative, feely, personal thing and my partner always asks me - but what is it? what are you trying to achieve and I think I have got to the core of it.
I feel the more we can empathise with our learners and the people around us the more we can understand them and meet them where they are at vs where we think they should be. And as a result of this I believe we can increase their engagement in lessons and in life.
Not too big of a vision is it?
Watch out for the next session in the #2021inquiry series where I will be sharing different teaching practices I am trialling, different learning environments we as a class are investigating and much more!
The more I look into this the more fun I have as a teacher. I am a Disney kid at heart. I just love the magic, joy, wonder and possibility it brings.
Imagine we could bring all those things into our education! We don't just have to imagine it.
Like Walt Disney himself says:
If you can dream it, you can do it!
Let's make it happen together :) I would love to hear from you how you make education magical!
Happy St Patrick's day.
Remember - our choices have an impact, what impact are you going to have?