Student-centred inquiry professional learning communities using exploratory talk




Belshaw, Scott

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This project focuses on the development of exploratory talk in an inquiry context for teachers. The project provides a professional development informational session, which can lead to a collaborative professional learning community that concentrates on support for teachers interested in the implementation of exploratory talk and inquiry into a classroom setting. The initial professional development session will address the importance of exploratory talk and inquiry where the participants can discuss and derive modes to incorporate an alternative to the conventional paradigm of the classroom. Exploratory talk is the participation in critical and constructive thinking amongst peers to create critical, yet constructive conversations to drive and further learning (Mercer, 2008). Student-centred inquiry focuses on the development and learning of the student through questioning and research via active participation; individual facilitation with authentic exploration and applying, planning and evaluating their acquired knowledge (Marshall & Horton, 2011). The review of literature addresses a lack of professional development opportunities relating to exploratory talk. Halbert and Kaser’s (2013) research explores the professional learning through collaborative inquiry, as well as the benefits of utilizing theories and modes to implement these principles. The professional development workshop will delve into comparisons between conventional pedagogical approaches and the research supporting new paradigms and will provide an opportunity for teachers to become learners who will metacognitively consider the benefits of the implementation of both exploratory talk and inquiry. By the end of the professional development session, approximately an hour and twenty minutes, teachers will have experimented with inquiry process while using exploratory talk and will have an opportunity to create resources that support them in moving forward with inquiry practice in the classroom. After the information session, the interested teachers will form a collaborative professional learning community for those who are interested in pursuing exploratory talk and inquiry further where we can discuss successes and challenges where the participants provide support for each other as we move forward with the implementation of these philosophies. Finally, the reflection piece of the project will discuss my delivery of the professional development information session and my metacognitive experiences developing the PLC sessions. I will attempt to consider the encouraging and favorable aspects of the experience as well as examine the limitations of the process, through a brief participant survey and my personal reflection, in order to change the exercises for future informational opportunities based on feedback. As a result of my own learning in this process, I hope to facilitate future meetings where the professional learning group can come together and discuss the experiences with exploratory talk and student-centred inquiry.



Professional Learning Community, Student Centred Inquiry