When I looked back at my teaching, my concern was that students were not completing the work that I’d set them. I noticed this when the kids found it difficult to write a quality paragraph.
My initial evidence of this was through reading their paragraphs and looking just at the ideas that they’d covered. I knew this wasn't vigorous and it was impressionistic rather then analytical. On reflection, I needed to think about what was the causality here. In the past I had used student learning strategies that worked for some but not for all of the students so I decided that if I look at the way I was delivering learning, I could I make a difference to their capability.
I needed to collect samples and Dr Jannie suggested I put an analytical lense on it. What I was seeing was that students were able to talk about their learning at the time which was a strength, but I also saw a lot of gaps when it came to writing.
I asked myself 'Have I given them the tools that they need in order to become more capable writers or are they just intrinsically not able to write’. Ah No, light bulb, they are clever people - so therefore it's about the tools.
I did an extensive quantitive process of vocabulary measuring comparing times 1 to time 2 in their paragraph writing. After doing the analysis, it became clear is that their lack of vocabulary and their inability to expand ideas was sitting inside their writing. They also lacked organisational skills. From this, I wondered if I am going to teach writing or is there something deeper then that.
When I unpacked my pedagogy, I realised that because of the pressures of time and the need to get through content, I would basically scoot over learning and only really tapped the surface. BUT if I did deep diving and we talked our learning more, we would foreground the language which would then inform their writing.
I decided that if I was more intentional in noticing language, that that would increase their uptake and an increase in noticing (which is one of the optimised conditions for learning). If we, both orally and in written, deliberately put out in our mind and our eyes on how the language is working and what the language means, then they are more likely to hold it in their head and make it their repertoire. By doing that it I believed it would make a difference to their writing.
During the interventions, it was important for me to monitor student progress as well as reflecting on my pedagogy when teaching during my inquiry. As challenges arose, I tried to tweak small things to see if they could help address the challenges. It was important for me share these tweaks because it helped justify why changes were made and I could revisit whether these tweaks worked or not.
Although the evidence shows some shift for one of my students, there are still gaps in their writing that I hope to address in my future inquiries.