School Name: Bert Bowes Middle School, Dr. Kearney Middle School, North Peace Secondary School, North Peace Secondary School – Energetic Learning Campus
School District: SD#60 Peace River North
Inquiry Team Members: Melanie Carew: firstname.lastname@example.org, Sarah Elson-Haugan: email@example.com, Wendy Giesbrecht: firstname.lastname@example.org, Brittany Puttick: email@example.com, Charmaine Chretien: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE Transitions (focus on Indigenous learner transitions)
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Other: Involves all areas above
Focus Addressed: Other: Involves some aspects of all of the above
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? To continue to implement the Four Questions so that learners are able to use them to self-reflect on their learning and move forward with their learning journey and to expand the Four Questions beyond the Indigenous student population and introduce the questions into a classroom setting.
Scanning: We integrated the four key questions into all Grade 9-12 Indigenous Learners’ Learning Journeys. Along with the Learning Journey, we included some TAG (teacher advisory groups) in answering the four key questions. Teachers asked the questions in an interview style, while scribing students’ responses. Students were honest about the school experiences and very accurate in their interpretation on how they were doing. The most important aspect we noticed was that most Indigenous students, roughly 90%, could name at least two adults who believed they would be a success in their lives. This shows the positive effect of having a strong Indigenous Education Transition team can have on students. The four key questions fits perfectly with the OECD Principles of Learning and the First Peoples Principles of Learning, as it places students are the forefront of their learning and allows them to engage in what is going well, what areas need more attention, and what should students’ next steps be in their education.
Focus: We wanted to continue to help students to be able to self-reflect and gain tools in increasing engagement and success in school. Since the four key questions covers students’ whole school experience, we thought it was necessary to expand the four questions and have multiple teachers in the school utilize them in their regular teachings, in hopes that it becomes part of the common language within the school.
Hunch: Being able to self-reflect on one’s learning is important in understanding what is working and what areas need more attention. By continuing to use the four questions and adding them in classroom dialogue, students should be able to now see they are in control of their learning and advocate for themselves in school and beyond.
New Professional Learning: We continued to use the Spiral of Inquiry as our guide to help our learners. We connected with other professionals in the network within our district, as well as at NOIIE 2019. Learning about the tools they are using to assist students with building self-advocacy and self-reflection skills are important parts in recognizing what has worked and what we should try to do in the future.
Taking Action: We used the four key questions with all of our Grade 9-12 Indigenous learners as part of their Learning Journeys. This year, we took it a step further and integrated the questions into other classrooms in the school, primarily TAG (teacher advisory groups). Questions were asked in an interview style, with the Indigenous Education Transition Coach and TAG teachers writing down student responses. Along with this, we asked students the four key questions throughout the year during casual conversations or during times of struggle for our learners. We wanted students to feel like answering the four key questions was a natural part of their self-reflection process in their learning. Our team believes that this has been a successful method, as it became easier for students to identify honest answers to the questions in regards to how it is going with their learning.
Checking: Integrating the four key questions is an ongoing process in students’ learning. We made a positive impact in helping students find tools in self-reflection, but it is important to continue the process in their education. As the year went on, it was evident that students were more keen to answer the four key questions. We think that this is based on student-teacher relationships being built throughout the year, but also, students’ self reflection skills were becoming stronger.
Reflections/Advice: We learned that this inquiry is an ongoing process. As students move forward in their education, it is important to keep using the four key questions. We will continue using the questions in our Learning Journeys with our Indigenous learners, and continue to expand further into other classrooms next. If other schools had an interest in using the four questions, our advice would be to ask students the questions in an interview style and to do it throughout the year, as a way to assist them in building stronger self-reflection skills and as a check-in with how students are doing in their learning.