Thursday, 24 August 2017

Unifying our inquiries - Tamaki College's COL's staff meeting

One of the key aspects of raising achievement for the young people in our cluster is through a collective focus on our Manaiakalani achievement challenges.  In the past, teaching as inquiry has often been hidden away and considered something a teacher might do as part of appraisal or teacher registration. A few teachers generally like to inquire into their practice, but in my experience there has rarely been a unifying movement that connects a great number of inquiries to central shared challenges - that was until now! (Click on the link below to find out more about our achievement challenges).

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Recently, we held a staff meeting where our challenges were revisited and discussed.  Our COL leader Russell Burt began the session by reminding us of our purpose and to focus on the positives of our work.  His words were pretty inspiring for many of our staff and I know it was an eye opener for both our newbies and our  'oldbies' like me.

Russell Burt our COL leader sharing our achievement challenges.

The purpose for our staff meeting was to share our COLs inquiries and show how they aligned with our achievement challenges.  Staff sat in their professional learning groups and discussed which achievement challenge they thought their inquiries could be connected to.  This discussion helped to clarify some questions people had about where and how to relate their inquiries to the challenges.  It was really interesting to hear what people were doing and I enjoyed helping our staff feel connected.  Because I'd been doing my own inquiry and working alongside other COLs this year, I felt more confident in sharing my journey.

Sharing my inquiry with our staff

Staff sharing their inquiries with each other

Big pink bowls of food always helps!

At the end of the session, we asked staff to complete a feedback form to see if our PLD was effective.  We asked three questions.  The first one was, on a scale from 1 - 4 (1 being not at all, 4 being extremely useful), did you find today's session useful?

The majority of staff found the session useful which was really positive.

The next question asked staff what their key takeouts were.  I took a screen shot of some of the answers because I noticed a pattern which I personally felt was a bit of a breakthrough.

At least one third of the staff surveyed referred to blogging and when I reflect back to a survey I had sent out at the beginning of the year, less then half the staff even had a blog.  My favourite comment was 'blogging is not scary' - to me it feels as if staff blogging is becoming normal language around the staffroom which awesome.  The last question asked staff what their next action will be with their inquiries and most wrote about refining their inquiry and getting more support from our COLs team.

Overall I think our meeting was effective in helping staff feel connected to the 'big picture. I enjoyed the session and I look forward to supporting our staff, alongside our COLs team, in the future.

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