Abeo Professional Development Tool – Inquiry Circles
Inquiry is “buzz” word education, and thrown around often, but this it not because of bad intent. We really do want our students to engage in inquiry, but what does it look like? More importantly, how do we get educators to internalize the process. One of the best tools that teachers can use to not only internalize inquiry, but also DO inquiry on topics of their choice is the Inquiry Circle.
The Inquiry Circle replaces the “book club” or “book study” model with a more authentic and inquiry modeled process so there is voice and choice for teachers in terms of learning targets, but also a better understanding of inquiry. It is modeled after the PBL process as well. Here are the steps for an inquiry circle:
1) Craft a Driving Question: This question can either be created by administrators, or co-created with faculty and staff. Perhaps it is something like: “How do we make culturally responsive curriculum?” or “How do we create tasks in the classroom that truly make students college and career ready?” You can even have groups create their own questions and jigsaw the faculty and staff appropriately.
2) Entry Event: Engage participants in a intriguing video, provocative reading or similar. It can help to frame the future exploration and get participants excited about next steps.
3) Research Questions: Have teachers or groups of teachers generate questions they want to know about the topics. After generating, have them share out with other groups to help build transparency and interest.
4) Expert Groups: The DQ question is the big umbrella question of the Inquiry Circle model, but from the research questions, sub topics are formed. Have teachers choose into a subtopic group.
5) Product: How will each group share what they have learned by the end of the process. Give them a list of possible products and allow they the flexibility to choose how they are assessed and to pick a product that will be authentic and useful.
6) Facilitate Inquiry: After these initial steps, teachers must choose literature, books, and other resources to explore. Teachers will meet periodically over an extended period to share learning, engage in reading selections, and generate further questions to explore. Participants will need to find more resources and continually draft and revise their final product.
7) Present Products: After an appropriate amount of time, teachers should present their product to the entire faculty and staff. These presentations should be done by the whole expert group. Encourage creativity! Have the entire faculty, after seeing presentations, generate ideas for next steps and implementation.
In order to rethink how we use professional development time, we must have the tools to do it. The Inquiry Circle is one way to allow for collaboration, voice and choice, and focus in professional development that teachers need.
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