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George Elliot Secondary
"Non nobis solum" - not for ourselves alone
Our Learning Plan

We use Spiral of Inquiry model (Kaser and Halbert) as a school improvement model.  It is a tool that assists network schools in taking an inquiry-oriented, evidence-based approach to learning and teaching — one that focuses on making the education system more equitable through the provision of high quality learning opportunities for all young people.

The Spiral of Inquiry is about listening to learners and reflecting on our own practices as educators. The spiral image captures the nature of inquiry – a continuous process and not a fixed cycle. The six key stages in the framework help school teams take a disciplined approach to professional inquiry, but inevitably, the true process will be messy and you will move between the stages as needed. The spiral is never complete – new learning always brings about new questions, ways of knowing and new opportunities for our learners.

GESS began its first  scan of what is going on for our learners in September 2017.  

Scanning

  • Scanning invloves:

    • A wide perspective on learning, informed by learning principles (OECD)
    • Finding out what learners think and feel about their learning and
    • what their families and communities perceive about their learning
  • Scanning is NOT:

    • seeking evidence to reinforce the status quo
    • Only looking at aspects of academic learning that are easily mesaured
    • exclusively what the professionals think

Focusing

  • Focusing involves:

    • Using information from the scan to identify an area for concentrated team learning
    • Gathering more information if you need it to understand the situation
    • Building on strengths or positives, as well as clarifying challenges
    • Identifying a common area that the team can work on together
  • Focusing is NOT:

    • The time to introduce completely new areas disconnected from the scanning process
    • About assuming you have it all figured out and don’t need to investigate any further
    • Just about problems or challenges
    • About everyone choosing his/her own area of interest

Developing a Hunch

  • Developing a hunch involves:

    • Getting deeply held beliefs and assumptions out on the table about your own practices
    • Focusing on things your team can do something about
    • Checking your assumptions for accuracy before moving ahead
  • Developing a hunch is NOT:

    • A general brainstorm of all possibilities
    • Being obsessed with the actions of others or with issues over which you have limited influence 
    • Venting about the past, fuming about the present, or finding someone to blame

Learning

  • New Learning is:

    • Tailored to the situation
    • Directly linked to the focus identified earlier in the spiral
    • Exploratory—testing how new approaches could be better than previous practices
    • Sustained and supported over time
  • New Learning is NOT:

    • Pursuing the latest trends 
    • Disconnected from the context
    • Uncritically adopting new ways without understanding the purpose
    • A short-term or quick fix

Taking Action

  • Taking action involves:

    • Learning more deeply about new ways of doing things and then trying them out
    • Evaluating the impact on learners and seeking their feedback
    • Building trust and cultivating a growth mindset
  • Taking action is NOT:

    • Trying something new without considering its value and relevance in your situation
    • Implementing without monitoring the effects on learners
    • Assuming everyone feels OK about the change

Checking

  • Checking involves:

    • Knowing what you want to accomplish for your learners and having specific ways to determine how you are doing—early in the inquiry process
    • Setting high expectations that your actions will make a substantial difference for ALL learners
    • Setting the stage for what comes next
  • Checking is NOT:

    • A routine to follow at the end
    • Seeking some difference for some learners
    • Judging the capacity of learners to succeed
    • Justifying your actions