Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Professional development through Teacher Inquiry

The first workshop I attended at CEESA 2016 was run by Aloha Lavina. What attracted me to this workshop was the idea of teachers engaged in inquiry learning. Aloha is the Upper School Principal at American International School of Zagreb. Her school had been using the tools from the Adaptive Schools workshop that she and others had attended.

The teachers at AISZ identified areas that they wanted to investigate within their school roles or areas of responsibility. Then they formed groups to meet regularly to investigate their self selected topic. While they were working on their inquiry the teachers kept professional portfolios. These were hard copy binders which had specific areas for the teachers to maintain. Throughout the inquiry the teachers investigated, designed specific interventions, observed outcomes, gave each other feedback and reflected on their learning.

One aspect I was intrigued by was the professional portfolio. I have been exploring the possible options for electronic portfolios since this session. There are a number of e-portfolio options available such as portfoliogen, pathbrite and exibi. As someone who has to maintain a professional portfolio for my LIANZA registration which is due every three years I would like to choose one of these options and try it out. At the moment I use Evernote as a way to keep track of the many aspects of the LIANZA registration process. While I know I can share these notes I can see that a portfolio may be a better way to go about reflecting on my learning. I can see the value of keeping records of my professional inquiries with my colleagues. Our school uses Professional Learning Communities to try to achieve something similar. I think the AISZ model that Aloha shared with us has this dimension of keeping a record of progress, questions, reflections which adds value to the teacher and to the school community that she works in.

I also decided to follow up on Adaptive Schools and find out more about it. Thanks so much to Aloha for an interactive and thought provoking workshop. I will be taking action - watch for future blog posts.