York Region District School Board (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 3813-3819
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Investments in education in Ontario, Canada have achieved very good progress in student achievement over the past 10 years. Benefitting from a stable political environment that has prioritized education, most school boards have achieved significant gains. Now that the bar has been raised, school boards in the Province of Ontario are engaging in a quest for professional development that will reach the subsets of students for whom equity of outcomes has not yet been reached – for example, students with learning disabilities, disengaged students, students who come into our schools systems with disadvantages such as transiency or issues of poverty. To serve more complex needs, we require more precision and personalization in our teaching and planning processes. At the same time, school boards in Ontario are moving towards a more constructivist approach to learning and looking for ways to build teacher capacity in integrating critical thinking and inquiry based learning as powerful ways to engage students in their own learning.
From a history of large scale professional development efforts through workshops and in-service session, school boards in Ontario are now focussed on forms of job-embedded professional learning that move teaching and learning forward for both educators and students. This article describes a form of professional learning that holds much promise as a deeper form of inquiry-based collaborative work which also leads to more precision and personalization in terms of serving individual students. Known in the K-12 school board in which I am the Superintendent of Curriculum and Instructional Services as the 4C’s, this article outlines the impact of co-planning, co-teaching, co-debriefing and co-reflection upon adult learners who gain great insights into the impact of their teaching by ‘practising together’ directly in the classroom. The 4C’s is a model for professional work which facilitates the development of critical thinking tasks and problem solving experiences for students by using an inquiry frame. At the same time that the process enables the development of jointly developed and owned critical learning tasks for students, educators involved in the joint work are experiencing critical thinking and inquiry as the driver for their own learning. The leadership of this kind of professional learning requires skilful facilitation – a new but energizing role for curriculum consultants and teacher leaders.
Teachers’ jointly planning and owning lessons and delivering instruction together reduces anxiety and any judgement on personal teaching style. At the same time, the model illuminates areas of difficulty for students, as teachers collectively check assumptions about what students know and should be able to do. Using a 4C’s frame gives staff rich feedback about the impact of their teaching as they work towards improving outcomes for students. Practising together changes ‘the practice’ and moves us from collaboration – familiar and well intended but often not very precise to co-labouring – a deeper form of learning together.
Professional learning, Co-planning, Co-teaching, Inquiry as a driver.