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Supported Collaborative Teacher Inquiry David Slavit Tamara Holmlund Nelson Washington State University Support for this work has been.

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Presentation on theme: "Supported Collaborative Teacher Inquiry David Slavit Tamara Holmlund Nelson Washington State University Support for this work has been."— Presentation transcript:

1 Supported Collaborative Teacher Inquiry David Slavit Tamara Holmlund Nelson Washington State University Support for this work has been provided by a Mathematics Science Partnership grant from the US Department of Education and by the National Science Foundation Grant ESI-0554579. The opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.

2 Defining the “Crisis” Large percentages of Washington students in Grade 4, 7, and 10 do not score a 3 or more on the WASL. More than half do. Washington State Report Card, WA OSPI, 2006

3 Defining the “Crisis” NAEP shows Washington is doing favorably vs. rest of U.S. It is not true that most U.S. students lack a basic knowledge of math The Nation’s Report Card, National Center for Education Statistics, 2005

4 Defining the “Crisis” TIMMS shows Washington is on par with the rest of world Linking The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and The Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS): Eighth-Grade Results, National Center for Education Statistics, 1998

5 Defining the “Crisis” Qualities of PD that intensify the effects on teacher instruction: 1) Ongoing teacher networks or study groups rather than workshops or conferences 2) Consistency with teachers’ goals, other activities, and materials and policies 3) Same-subject, grade, or school group participation Garet, M., Porter, A., Desimone, L., Birman, B., &Yoon, K.S. (2001). What makes professional developmentt effective? Results from a national sample of teachers. American Education Research Journal, 38(4), 915-945. The PD math and science teachers normally receive: 1) Average time span of activity is less than one week 2) Median number of contact hours per PD activity is 15 3) Most activities had no theme or coherence, focus on content, or active learning opportunities 4) Most activities had no group participation

6 Characteristics of Effective PD  Have established norms and dispositions that allow for trust building and risk-taking  Grounded in the work teachers do in support of student learning goals  Engage teachers in inquiry and reflection  Are collaborative, supported, and ongoing  Are meaningfully connected to other school and district initiatives Darling-Hammond and McLaughlin (1999), Hawley and Valli (1999), Little et al. (2003)

7 Defining the “Crisis” The majority of teacher PD is curriculum alignment activity, training on a specific curriculum or instructional technique, and content knowledge development Teachers have little time to inquire about and reflect on their own instructional practice, or on their students’ work “The simple fact is that the structures for ongoing community do not exist in the American High School (Grossman et al., p. 947).”

8 Defining the “Crisis” Using TIMMS data, Jim Stigler and Jim Hiebert argued that there exists a “teaching gap” between the U.S. and some other nations Could it be that there is actually a professional development gap?

9 Some models of PD based on collaborative teacher inquiry  Communities of practice  Professional learning communities (PLCs)  Teacher teams (vertical teams, horizontal teams)  Coaching (of groups)  Lesson study  Peer observation  Book study  Collaborative action research

10 PRiSSM - Partnership for Reform in Secondary Science and Mathematics Partnership: WSUV, 22 schools in 6 districts, ESD 112, support from ESD 114 Funding: US DOE Title IIB through Washington State OSPI Goals: 1. Establish a vision of HQLT 2. Improve student learning 3. Development of PLCs 4. Plan for continuous improvement

11 PRiSSM: Year 1 (June, 2004 – August, 2005)  45 Teacher Leaders from 6 districts  Summer academy, August, 2004  Academy focus on collaborative inquiry: protocols for LASW exploring high quality learning and teaching identifying an inquiry focus based on existing data learning to be a PLC & to facilitate a group  Cross-disciplinary, cross-grade level PLCs  Facilitation throughout year  Further information on year 1: Slavit, David & Nelson, Tamara (2006). Dialogic teacher change: Two cases of supported collaborative inquiry. Working Papers on Culture, Education and Human Development, 2(2).


13 PRiSSM: Years 2&3 (Aug, 2005 – June, 07)  45 original LTs form 35 new PLCs with 100+ colleagues  Summer academy for LTs  LTs lead introductory sessions (2-8 hrs) for colleagues in each district  PLCs determine when they meet, how often, and their inquiry focus  Project facilitators continue to work with PLCs

14 PRiSSM Professional Learning Communities Characterized by trust, sharing, participation, fellowship, reflection, and continuous learning and improvement Teacher-initiated questions for inquiry across math/science and middle/high school Teachers in the PLC define the scope and focus of their PD, which emerge from and in support of their collaborative inquiry Support of teacher inquiry provided by facilitators and other PRiSSM staff (including time) Support to engage teachers and their inquiry work in broader educational contexts (e.g., go “school-wide” with PLCs, “vision up” the teachers ideas)

15 PRiSSM Findings: General  Teachers need dedicated time to conduct collaborative inquiry on teaching and learning  Teachers need technical support for doing inquiry work  Teacher buy-in requires specific approaches and techniques; teacher-driven inquiry is a key to buy-in  Teacher collaboration can be enjoyable  Collaborative teacher inquiry is mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing  Difficulties and assumptions about measuring impact on student learning; emphasis on large-scale achievement data  Teacher work does not always immediately mesh with larger initiatives and contexts; but some schools and districts also adapt to and embrace the inquiry work of teachers


17 Student Question Question is Off Topic Question is On Topic Question Does Not Make Sense Question Makes Sense Question Has Already Been Covered in Class Question Expands Students ’ Current Knowledge Makes Connections With Former Concepts Makes a Bridge to Future Concepts LEVEL 1 Question LEVEL 2 Question LEVEL 3 Question LEVEL 4 Question North Evergreen Question Dichotomy

18 The Power of Teachers Working With Teachers (March 2005)  Erica: I think it’s getting teachers together to be open enough to discuss their practice and try to improve their teaching. I think validating how important it is by creating such great opportunities to do it rather than just saying “we really think you guys should get together and have conversations.” Like, it’s important enough to their goals that they are creating lots of opportunities for us to do that.  Sam: In a very specific way.  Erica: Uh hum.  Karen: Well, it just seems that teachers have taught in isolation for so long, and just the whole professional development piece. You know, we go to workshops or we go to classes but, um, fortunately I work in a building where we do take data from our students and, even though our staff meetings I sometimes dread. But because, we work, and it is professional development and it’s based on student data and it’s real and it’s meaningful to us, it’s not somebody else’s stuff, and yeah yeah yeah, you know, it’s our own students that we work with day in and day out. And we get to see the growth. I mean, it’s exciting, that piece of it, and it’s very focused.

19 The Need for Support  Teacher collaborative inquiry is possible without support that is external to the teacher team.  A dedicated, knowledgeable, passionate, and focused group of teachers can unite through a common line of inquiry to address important instructional and curricular concerns.  Teachers can meet outside of the school day in support of this process.  Teachers can collectively facilitate the logistics of regular meeting times and the maintaining of quality, inquiry-focused interactions.  Teachers can provide each other with a critical lens necessary to move the inquiry forward.  But these are extremely difficult and demanding challenges to face, particularly in our current era of high-stakes teacher accountability.

20 Defining “Support” - Two Key Areas 1. Support for the teacher collaborative inquiry process 2. Enhancing the interface between the teacher inquiry and broader educational contexts

21 SCI Enhances Teachers PD: Time First, support can increase the amount of time available to teachers to enact inquiry. This can be done in direct ways through the provision of specific time in the school day and year for collaborative inquiry, or it can occur with the presence of a dedicated facilitator responsible for supporting the logistics and facilitation of meeting times and schedules, freeing teachers up for responsibilities closer to the inquiry focus.

22 SCI Enhances Teachers PD: The Inquiry Process Second, individuals who provide intellectual support can draw on resources to increase teacher awareness of existing research, suggest and oversee specific types of data collection and inquiry approaches, and provide a critical lens to the work of the teacher team designed to ensure reflection and critical analysis in the collaborative inquiry process.

23 SCI Enhances Teachers PD: Enhanced Vision Third, supported collaborative inquiry can influence teachers’ abilities to vision, challenge beliefs, and broaden the critical lens framing the work.

24 SCI Enhances Teachers PD: Teacher Community Fourth, support can help to establish a productive set of collaborative norms and inquiry goals as well as assist in the actual logistics of the inquiry process.

25 SCI Enhances Teachers PD: Interface With Larger Contexts Fifth, support can allow teachers to couch their inquiry in larger initiatives (School Improvement Plans, District Initiatives, Large-Scale Assessments), but also construct conduits for positioning the teachers and teacher inquiry to impact larger educational contexts.

26 Often Overlooked Factors  Support is needed for the support providers  Teachers need support for the public-valuing of their work  Teachers can hold naïve views of “data”  Supported collaborative teacher inquiry requires enormous amounts of time

27 WA House Bill 2327, Senate Bill 6023 Current discussion in Washington to replace WASL with skills- based, objective test. Educational problems will not go away until the way state and federal governments pay for education is changed. “The real work is not about testing, it’s about teaching and it’s about funding our education system. If we do not change the focus of our funding I fear we will be in the same situation in five years.” WA State Rep. Ross Hunter, Medina March 13, 2007, The Columbian, p. A4

28 It is difficult to take the notion of teacher professionalism seriously when teachers lack the time and support necessary to act professional.

29 Thank You! David Slavit

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