Digging into Questions that Matter
NCTE INBOX 7-9-13
Summertime -- swimming and picnicking, traveling, reading for pleasure and for
professional learning, attending workshops, reflecting on last year's
instruction, and preparing for the next school year. Few realize that our minds
are rarely idle, often contemplating questions and dilemmas that we are driven
to solve. Summer provides us with that additional thought-space that
invigorates us and fills us with anticipation for the new school year. Focusing
on questions that matter drives our own learning and that of
Students in a Time of Core Standards: English Language Arts, Grades 6-8
(NCTE, 2011), Rod Leonard wrestled with CCSS dilemmas by taking a student
inquiry and community service stance. (His story begins on page 28 of the
"Inquiry and Independence in the English Language Arts Classroom"
In "Inquiry Based Planning: How Is It Different? How Can I Get
Started?" author Diane Parker provides a set of questions that she
asks of herself even as she is planning for students to investigate their own
questions. (This excerpt is from Planning for
Inquiry: It's Not an Oxymoron!)
Questions and collaboration strongly influence our learning. On the Literacy in
Learning Exchange, listen to a group of high school educators from Colorado as
they respond to the question "Why Do Inquiry?" for professional learning purposes
and read about why doing it collaboratively is most effective. In "Coresearching and Coreflecting: The Power of Teacher Inquiry
Communities," Diane Waff describes how three different professional
communities influenced her own action research practices.
The National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE) has developed
a set of tools for self-assessing and setting goals related to "Maintaining an Inquiry Stance," one of six domains
within the Framework for Capacity Building. Where do your
experiences fall within this continuum and what components would you work
Inquiring systems: In NCLE's Continua of Capacity Building, none of the
domains are fully developed until they are occurring system-wide. This is the
focus of Michael Palmisano's book, Taking
Inquiry to Scale: An Alternative to Traditional Approaches to Education Reform
(NCTE & NCLE, 2013). In a recent Perspective on the Literacy in Learning
Exchange, Michael describes how a capacity-building stance toward reform differs from traditional
models of reform. He will be continuing to post Perspectives related to
this theme throughout the summer and into the fall.
Attend this week's Guided Tour of the Literacy in Learning Exchange, Wednesday, July 10, at 6 p.m. EDT,
to find out how you can follow Michael's contributions and learn more about the
National Center for Literacy Education and getting the most
from the Literacy in Learning Exchange.
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