This is the second instalment in the governance as inquiry journey. In my first blog post I talked about the ‘rational’ behind governance as inquiry and next steps. These are the conversations had since then:
The first iteration made its was to our team leaders who discussed the model and the idea. Feedback wasn’t too rough – some of it centered around the cosmetics of the model which is easily remedied. One critically important piece of feedback was a request for more alignment between the school inquiry model and the proposed governance one. The challenge is that we want as much alignment as possible, all the while preserving the intended purpose of each one. The governance model is a review model and will have its own unique features, but, the essence of inquiry must be paramount.
Taking this on board, we set up discussion time in the March BoT meeting. The goal of the meeting was to walk away with a shared understanding of what governance as inquiry is and what it might look like in practice. This is an essential step to ensure we are aligned so we can move forward together.
After gathering everyone’s current understanding of what inquiry is it was apparent that we had a reasonable amount of overlap and alignment; albeit varying levels of understanding. We agreed Numeracy would be the curriculum area we would review as Big Picture might be biting off more than we can chew first up! There was a lot of discussion around the model, but not much traction for alignment. For the most part we just weren’t sure, we knew it wasn’t quite right, but what to do? Our VC Frank Janssen interjected and said lets just make a start, put it into action and iterate along the way. So we did. We started at the ‘INQUIRE’ circle and generated a list of potential inquiry questions.
1 Why are we doing it?
2 Can we improve what we are doing?
3 How engaged are our students in Maths Learning?
4 What constitutes ‘Best/Better’ practice in Maths: How do we educate the students, teachers, community in what is best practice?
5 How does our current practice align with current research in numeracy?
6 What should at/above standard be in our school
7 How do we achieve excellence in numeracy?
8 Is numeracy a differentiator for the school?
It was great to see everyone collaborating and participating enthusiastically and new ideas emerging from the discussions. One such idea was to use some of the questions generated in the INQUIRE stage for staff PD sessions and spin off projects.
Conversation quickly turned to how we going to involve the teachers in this process. The numeracy team has been subsequently briefed on the process so far and invited to give feedback before they get together and generate their list of possible inquiry questions. We will decide together on the one or two questions we will be focusing on in the review. I feel it is really important that BOT and teachers collaborate and do this together rather than us mandating how it’s going to be.
We have set aside a whole session dedicated to carving out and shaping the next steps in the inquiry model. We are using what we have at the moment to guide us, but must be ready to pivot at any given time. We can’t rigidly hang on to the first iteration of the model if it is not delivering the goods!
So now a reflective pause: What could we have done differently? What worked and what didn’t? The act of spontaniously ‘doing’ created an open space for sharing ideas. But a disadvantage was that we had not looked at the vision or NZ curriculum. We need to be continually reflecting on our past actions and feeding forward into next steps.