Professional learning through collaborative inquiry

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Fisher, Tara C.
The purpose of this project was to explore the experiences of a group of elementary school teachers, with regards to professional learning as they moved through a school-based collaborative inquiry process. As the newly seconded Coordinator of Inquiry (inquiry support teacher) in my school, I had the opportunity to develop and facilitate this process within our school. My research focus was the factors that contributed to the ability of our staff to learn and assimilate that learning into their teaching, thereby increasing the adaptive capacity of our staff and our school. This project was an action research project. In my quest to introduce collaborative inquiry as a process to support and encourage teacher professional learning and create an environment conducive to educational change, I incorporated various factors into this inquiry, including collaborative teaching partners working with multi-age buddy classes. Teacher professional learning was focused on assessment for learning strategies, instructional technology, problem solving and critical thinking skills, self-regulated learning theory and the BC Provincial Curriculum for Social Responsibilty. Finally, I used current research on educational change theory to direct my personal leadership with regards to this project. Quantitative research data was collected voluntarily from teachers by means of a survey. Qualitative research data was collected by means of a survey, personal reflections, interviews, and researcher observations. Teacher professional learning, in the focus areas of our collaborative inquiry, occurred and was significant in providing evidence that the staff was building the school’s adaptive capacity for the benefit of all learners.
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