Using the spiral of inquiry created by Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert, the staff of Whiteside set out on a mission – to talk to students and find the answer to these four questions:
1. Can you name two people in this setting who believe that you will be a success in life?
2. What is it that you are learning and why is it important?
3. How is it going with your learning?
4. What are your next steps?
The information that we discovered left us uncomfortable as staff. Not all of our students could name two adults in the building that they believed thought that they could be a success in life, and after watching endless videos taken of our students talking about themselves as learners, we knew that most didn’t really understand why what they were learning was important. They were not able to articulate what they needed as learners or what they needed to do to improve. They weren’t directing their learning in an active way, inspired by making connections; they were passive in how they learned. This clearly needed to be our focus for our professional development.
To create an environment where students better understand themselves as learners and take initiative in developing their learning. Teachers will support students in setting learning goals to work towards and reflect upon.