The Benefits of a Mini Teacher Inquiry
Blog Post by Tamara Yuill Proctor
Mini inquiries are an incredibly effective method in shifting teacher practice quickly. A group of teachers at Kaiapoi High School have been involved in PLD which focuses on literacy at Year 9 and 10. The group is made up of a teacher from a different subject area with the aim of becoming a literacy leader in their department. This is a rather large inquiry to undertake and the most effective method has been to break it into mini inquiries of a term in length.
The focus of these mini inquiries has been limited to a term, 1 class and with a focus on a small group of students. This has been a targeted approach into one aspect of literacy per mini inquiry. Each inquiry also includes a continued focus on differentiated teaching and a personalised approach by getting to know the students within the class.
The inquiry asks them to focus on 3-10 students in the class. To gather pre and post data, as well as getting to know more about the students than they currently did. Whilst the focus was on a small group of students within a class they naturally applied this approach to all. Teachers are encouraged to talk with the students about their inquiry, and how they are wanting to improve their practice. Student voice is an important element with these inquiries.
At the end of the first term of PLD (term 3) each teacher presented a short presentation on how they managed their inquiry and what shifts in their practice they had noticed. This was particularly encouraging and affirming to the teachers as they could see immediate benefits to the approach at the centre of their inquiry and the impact on the students.
Some of the benefits of using a mini inquiry approach are:
- -Immediate impact
- -Effective change that is sustainable, and
- -By being small there is not a huge amount of data to gather or plans to implement and analyse making the workload manageable