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Shifting our Practice Beginning the process of learning to teach authentically through inquiry.

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Presentation on theme: "Shifting our Practice Beginning the process of learning to teach authentically through inquiry."— Presentation transcript:

1 Shifting our Practice Beginning the process of learning to teach authentically through inquiry.

2 Who are we? & how did we get here?

3 Tanveer Alibhai Head of ECE-3rd Grade

4 Shauna Maraccini ECE Educator (Preschool), 3-4 year olds

5 Kelley Cochran ECE Educator (Pre Kindergarten), Ages 4-5

6 Who are you? What is your interest in this workshop?

7 Agenda ● Core Values ● Beliefs about children ● What is inquiry based teaching (Reggio Emilia)? ● Why teach using inquiry? ● What are the key principles of inquiry? ● Our Journey: o What lessons are we learning? o What challenges are we facing? o What advice would we give to others starting this journey? o Where should you start? Questions

8 Goals/Outcomes ● What it could look like to move your practice to an inquiry based approach ● Learn from our journey ● One “take away” that you feel like you can implement ● Acknowledge the risk

9 What are your core values? Circle 10 values which you feel are most important to you.

10 Next…. Now, cross off 5, leaving you with 5 that are most important.

11 Next... Cross off 2, leaving you with three that are most important.

12 Our fundamental beliefs about children (image of the child) & how those drive our practice We believe: ● Children are capable, curious learners. ● Children need open ended ‘play’. ● Children need authentic materials to work with. ● Children are driven by their own interests. ● Children need to know that they are significant, important and that they belong within their classroom community and community at large. ● Children must be able to learn through touching, observing, exploring, researching, listening and moving. ● Children need opportunities to feel safe to take risks and make mistakes. ● Children need relationships with adults that care for them.

13 Significant intellectual investment It is crucial to recognize that inquiry based teaching should not be viewed as a technique or instructional practice or method used to teach a subject. Rather, inquiry starts with teachers as engaged learners and researchers with the foundational belief that the topics they teach are rich, living and generous places for wonder and exploration.

14 What is Inquiry based teaching (Reggio Emilia)? ● rooted in constructivist theory that children construct their knowledge with the interaction of ideas through the world, both physical & social. o built on students existing knowledge through developmentally appropriate means, capitalizing on intrinsic motivation. o curriculum emerges from the children and their interactions with their environment and with others leading them and us, to the ‘big ideas’. ● often referred to as a cycle (COI) including: observation, research, planning, documenting, creating opportunities and reflecting ● an investigation of meaning that is personal to each but encompasses all perspectives ● Teaching with depth and ensuring skills are covered within that interest area.

15 Traditional/Inquiry Learning Traditional learning focuses on LEARNING ABOUT THINGS (The What) Inquiry learning focuses on LEARNING THINGS (The How)

16 Why teach using inquiry? Schools have tended to focus on content memorization to ensure that the child is learning the content (the check of list). Today, the world requires us to work collaboratively, problem solve, innovate and think creatively. It builds: ● agency, leadership, allowing children to ask questions around why and how and to build a sense of wonder


18 What does this mean for me as a teacher? You are no longer the conveyer of knowledge to children, rather you are researching right next to them, wondering with them and helping them ask the right questions on the way.

19 Principles of Inquiry What needs to be considered?

20 Principles of Inquiry 1.Observation/Pedagogical Documentation: 2. Planning/Thinking/Connecting: ❖ Collaborative planning? 3. Creating Authentic Tasks for learning (Provocations/Environment) 4. Deepen Understanding 5. Performance of Understanding

21 Inquiry & Reggio The role of the teacher as an observer is extended to documenter and researcher. Observation is an important skill for most early childhood teachers but the educators in Reggio Emilia have taken observation a step further. Observation, for them, is only the first step in collecting the data that are used to develop pedagogical documentation that captures the story of the children's experiences in the classroom as well as the progression of the teachers' own developing understandings. Documentation becomes a tool for teacher research, reflection, collaboration, and decision-making.

22 PI #1 & 2 : Observation What are you observing for? What information are you gathering? What are you looking for in observation? What is the ultimate goal of your observation? What are the children telling you directly and not telling you ? What are the challenges of observation?



25 Moving from Observation to Reflection to Documentation Teacher Reflection ● What do you learn through your observations? ● How is “Learning made visible”? ● What skills/developmental milestones are being demonstrated? ● What are the children telling me? ● Is this observation worthy of a documentation? Why or why not? ● Is there question that would lead to a documentation?

26 PI # 1 & 2: Documentation What is it? ● Making thinking and learning visible in many ways...using text, transcripts of children words, photos of the process and traces of children’s work. How do we use documentation in the inquiry based practice? ● it depends…. o making learning visible o facilitating conversations with parents o revisiting with children, what do they think about their work on the event? o reflective process for teachers that informs teaching, raises questions for us and provides next steps

27 Who is the documentation for? Our audience dictates the content and vocabulary? …..children …..parents …...classroom …..ourselves as teachers …..other professionals

28 Types of documentation ● Learning Stories ● Teacher Reflection ● Videos ● Scripted conversations ● Photo panels ● Portfolios

29 Documentation/Display What is the difference?

30 PI #3: Planning/Thinking/Connecting Collaborative Planning: What does it look like? Where does it go? What is the big idea? What essential skills? Why is it effective?

31 PI #4: Authentic Tasks Students are: ● engaged in the work that is worthy of their time and attention ● engaged in work that is personally relevant to them and related to the world they live in.

32 PI #4: Authentic Tasks ● authentic tasks often lead to deeper questions ● involves students spending a significant amount of time doing field work, design work, labs, interviews, studio work

33 PI #4: Guiding Questions when thinking about Authentic tasks? Where does this topic live in the world? What will students find relevant? Why would someone care about this topic? What are the ways that experts in this field are doing their work? What counts as evidence or proof with this topic? Where will students have the opportunity to solve problems, test ideas, recognize patterns, invent, build or design?

34 Using the environment/provocations to create authentic opportunities ● Provocations: o technique used by teachers to:  stimulate children’s interest  inspires them artistically  empower them to take control  open their minds  create an environment of reflection  challenge students and encourage creativity






40 PI #5: Deepening Learning “Expert knowledge is not simply a list of facts/formulas, rather it is organized around a set of core concepts or big ideas”. (National Research Council)

41 Deepen Learning ● Teacher concept mapping (refer to collaborative planning) o What is the one concept a student needs to know to really understand this topic? o Must knows:  clear, manageable learning goals ● What do you want your students to get better at through this task? What do you want them to discover? ● what misconceptions exist about this topic/area of interest? ● How to ask higher order thinking questions? o asking students to go beyond facts and figures and think about meaning

42 Guiding Questions for Deeper Understanding Through this study: I want my students to understand…. I want my students to appreciate… Determine: ● what will be meaningful, worthy, and respectful of their time and inquiry. ● where do they want to go with it and how can you get them there?

43 P I # 5: Performance/Assessment of Learning ● performance tasks/assessments are key in the process of inquiry and not reserved for the ‘end’ of the inquiry. o What are students understanding? Are they hitting the learning outcome? Am I able to embed skills that I wanted to cover in this inquiry? o performance tasks engage students in their own learning:  Are students asking more questions? are they making connections ?  Does the inquiry create a knowledge building environment?  Does the inquiry involve students sharing and improving on their own ideas?

44 Our Journey: ● Our Journey: o What lessons are we learning? o What challenges are we facing? o What advice would we give to others starting this journey? o Where should you start?

45 To embark on a journey of Reggio inspired practice (shifting your practice), take with you an open mind, an open heart, a listening ear and a thinking lens. Fill your tanks, set your sails, open your minds, open your hearts, and take the hand of a friend or colleague, a mentor or guide. Don’t worry about where you are going. Trust the journey and you will get to where you need to be. ​

46 References Articles: ● Elena Aguilar: The Art of Coaching ( ● What is a Wheel? The image of a child ( _3_Martalock.pdf) _3_Martalock.pdf ● Project Zero: Making Learning Visible ( ● NAIS Principles of Good Practice ( ● Reflecting Teaching: ded.pdf ded.pdf ● Cycle of Inquiry:

47 Contact info: Shauna Maracinni smarac Kelley Cochran: Tanveer Alibhai:

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