Sunday, April 23, 2017

Week 21 - Planning your Teacher Inquiry Project

Steps and stages for developing your inquiry projectTopic areaThe first thing you need to do is to clearly establish your topic area. This would ideally be the topic, or a subset of the topic, that you focused on in your literature review.
You will need to create the research question(s) that will guide your inquiry project. Think about what it is that you want to find out about. Try to be as specific as you can.
You need to assess the relevance of your project and justify your decision for focusing on this topic. This should include:
How the literature on your topic supports your area of focus
Why your topic is particularly relevant to your school setting
How your topic will support your community

Culturally responsive projectsIt is important that you think about how you can ensure that your inquiry project will be culturally responsive to all learners. The Ministry of Education (2009) has created a resource on Improving Outcomes for Maori and Pasifika Students through Inquiry that may be helpful. The document is available on the portal as well as from the Ministry website, which also provides other useful information.

Define your community or communitiesYou need to clearly identify the community or communities that you will be engaging with in your inquiry. Communities could include students, other teachers and school staff, and/or whanau. You will need to discuss the nature and scope of this community (i.e. who are the community members) and why you have chosen to engage with them.
For your assessment you need to discuss at which stages of the inquiry project you will be engaging with your community and why. Here are some of the planning stages when you could engage with your community:
designing the focus of your inquiry
gaining initial feedback on the design of your inquiry
the methods you will be using to collect data
the data collection process
the analysis of your data
the presentation of your findings
Data collection methods

You need to think about what data you will need to collect in order to answer your research questions (next week focuses on data collection in more detail). This data can be either qualitative or quantitative, or a mixture of both.
Here are some things to think about with regard to data collection:
What baseline data do you need to collect? Baseline data is data collected at the start of an inquiry project that allows you establish the current situation and will enable a point of comparison for data you collect throughout your inquiry.
What data would you need to collect throughout your inquiry project? Do you need feedback from students? Do you need student achievement data? Think carefully about the best way to collect this data. It might be in the form of tests, surveys, focus groups, interviews, classroom observation, student portfolios of achievement.
What summative data would you need to collect? This is data collected at the end of your inquiry project that will enable you to see what has worked and what has not worked.
For each data collection method you need to explain why you have chosen it, the data it will provide for you and why this data will be important.
You need to think about how and why you will be including your community in your data collection.

Seeking initial feedback

As part of your assessment you need to get initial feedback on your inquiry plan. This feedback could take a variety of forms. You may want to show your plan to your mentor/principal/HOD etc and ask them to provide feedback on it. You could engage with your community (students/teachers/whanau) and ask for their feedback on what you are proposing. While the way in which you collect this feedback is entirely up to you, for this type of feedback, it often is most helpful if it involves face-to-face discussions.

Responding to feedback
For your assessment you will need to document the feedback you received as well as discuss how you will respond to the feedback. It might involve the modification of some aspects of your inquiry project, for example slightly modified research questions or a different data collection method. You need to show evidence that you have reflected on the feedback you received.

Impact of findings
You will need to assess the potential impact of the findings from your inquiry project. While you will not know yet what the findings will show you, you do need to think about some of the ways in which they might impact on you, your community, your school etc.

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