At a recent staff meeting to launch a new phase of our school’s Strategy, a colleague put forth the idea: The only way to try something new, to innovate your practice, is to ask questions about your practice. He used the analogy of parents caring for their baby. If a baby is crying, you immediately ask, “What is wrong?” and follow a progression of steps to solve the problem. Often those questions are: “Is she hungry?” “Is she hurt?” “Is she sick?”. This is a crisis-mode approach to problem-solving. Find the problem that is causing the crisis and try to stop it. This is not where we want to be in our practice as teachers when we begin asking questions. My colleague then countered with a question many parents ask: “How can I instill a love of books in my child?” I would add, “How can I help my child to be a good person?” What great and universal questions. These questions come not from crisis or problem-solving, but rather a desire to reach a set goal; to do right by our children.
To relate this analogy back to my craft as a teacher, and in the spirit of innovation and growth, I put forth the questions I am asking right now:
How Might I …
…help my students to show and act on empathy for one another?
…make inquiry a stronger part of Reading Workshop?
…better integrate math into ongoing inquiries?
…move skills-based lessons (i.e. proper use of quotation marks) out of whole class mode and into a small group, or individual mode in a truly responsive “as needed” manner?
…raise the level of action my students take during and as a result of inquiries?
…incorporate mini-inquiries into our learning?
…give introverts more and varied opportunities to share their ideas?
I hope your week is a good one. Thank you for reading.