We were honoured that the BWDSB program department invited us to run sessions at our Board-wide professional development day on September 30, 2016.  We designed two sessions and invited Bluewater Action Research Network members to help facilitate each session twice in a morning and afternoon session:

1) Intro to self‐study action research; inquiry into your own professional practice facilitated by Liz Campbell & Krystal Damm.  This session is a half day introduction to action research for anyone who has not had any previous experience. This is a hands on interactive workshop that will provide an opportunity to identify and discuss values and concerns, and to identify a possible action research question and/or topic. This workshop will be of interest to anyone who wants to improve their practice.  All welcome. No experience necessary


2) Action Research Journey facilitated by Cathy Griffin and Kelly McDougall.  In this half day session BARN Researchers will be sharing their learning from the Action Research Process:

Kelly McDougall, High School Visual Arts: How do I embed the growth mindset in my lessons so that it is relevant, meaningful and impactful for my students?  

Janice Daize, Elementary LRT: How can I improve my practice so that my contributions to the school environment promote inclusivity and considerations for the academic and social needs of students of the Low German culture within our student population?

Jacqueline Hofmann, Elementary: Will teaching students to read with musicality and rhythm in their voices strengthen their ability to become more fluent readers?

Dorothy Oberle, Junior Class: How can I modify the practices I used with intermediate students to address the social needs of my primary student to improve student achievement? (More specifically: rules of social engagement)

Please see our next posts to read reflections on the two presentations!

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Introduction to Self-Study Action Research Professional Development Reflection

 

On September 30th 2016 Liz Campbell and I had the pleasure of facilitating two half-day PD sessions titled Introduction to Self-Study Action Research at Saugeen District Secondary School in Port Elgin.

 

The agenda for our session was as follows:

 

Introduction to Self-Study Action Research

 

Tentative Agenda:

Guiding Question: What question or questions do you have that you are hoping to have answered in this session?

9:00 – Welcome and Introduction

  • This workshop was made possible through the Teaching Learning and Leadership Program funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education

9:15 – Questions, Concerns and Values

  • Record and reflect

9:30 – Brene Brown and Vulnerability - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o

 

10:00 –Time to Identify Potential Action Plan

 

10:45 – Next Steps and Feedback

Both of our sessions were intimate (5 participants in the morning session and 6 participants in the afternoon). We appreciated the small numbers as it allowed us to spend more time talking to the participants and providing them with resources for the concerns that they currently have in their own individual practice. We also appreciated the diversity of participants within the small groups – ESPs, teachers from both elementary and secondary panels, and teachers at all stages of their careers were a part of the day.

Some of the topics of conversation and concern mentioned at the sessions included: concern for students and how best to support them (in particular students with exceptionalities), the use of technology in schools, the stress and pressure of moving schools especially as a new teacher, how to balance home and school life, and how to continue learning and growing as teachers in all stages of our careers.

 Participants had a chance to look for resources provided by us (a mini-library of books were placed around the room and key articles and a list of online resources were provided to each participant in their welcome package) and some also had the time and space to look for their own resources online. Participants also had the opportunity to bounce ideas for improving their practice with the two of us as facilitators. The passion for the action-research projects they want to take on was evident and many started working on specific implementation plans to improve their practice immediately.

 As always, I was struck by how quickly many of the participants were able to share their personal concerns and to be vulnerable with people they have just met.

 Liz and I asked for written feedback from each group in the following questions:

 

Critical Feedback

 

  1. Did we answer your question(s)?

  2. Did we do what we said we would?

  3. Suggestions for improving this session.

  4. Thoughts, Suggestions, Questions…

  5. Would you be interested in participating in BARN in the future?

 

Almost all of the participants said that they would be interested in participating in BARN in the future and the most common suggest for improvement on the session was to increase the length. There is never enough time for this kind of wonderful professional development.

 To our participants on the PD day I say – ubuntu - each of your voices and presence made the day what it was for me – a powerful and reinvigorating day of learning from one another.

 

Here is the list of online resources that we provided to those that participated in the Introduction to Self-Study Action Research session.

Attachments:

Action Research Journey Reflections: 

vulnerability, courage & passion

When you prepare to stand in front of your colleagues and explain your beliefs about education and learning what stance will you consider adopting? 

Vulnerability: is the state of being open to injury, or appearing as if you are (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/vulnerability)

Passion: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/passion)

Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart...” (― Brené BrownI Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a C...)

BARN is about taking up the challenge of Lather (as cited in MacLure, 1996, p. 5) to risk making public our stories of ruin in the hopes of breaking out of the cycle of certainty found in victory narratives which she has noted to be more common in educational research. In telling a purely smooth story of our journey we risk the authenticity the bumps give.  In describing these bumps, the mistakes we make, the wrong roads we travel before finding a path that works for us, we draw our listeners in.  We allow them to connect to us as ‘real teachers’ and to consider taking risks in their own learning and sharing.

On September 30, 2016, Kelly McDougall and I facilitated the two half-day PD sessions titled, "Action Research Journey" at Grey Highlands Secondary School in Flesherton, Ontario.   We invited Bluewater Action Research Network participants from last year to repeat their presentation from our Symposium in May.  In the morning we had three presenters who spoke for about 20 minutes about their research followed by a Q&A session.  In the afternoon we had two presenters.  

The presenters opened themselves up to potential criticism of their peers.  They spoke from their hearts with passion about what matters to them, what action they took to make a difference, and the bumps and successes along the way.  My only wish if we were to do this again would be to have more time for discussion with the audience and to allow them the opportunity to start planning their own research project.  It was obvious from the discussion following each presentation that educators are hungry for the time and support in changing their practice, in making a difference in the lives of the students they support.

Please see the BARN discussion thread: BARN Symposium 2016: Sharing our Knowledge to see the videos of the presenters.

Kelly McDougall, High School Visual Arts: How do I embed the growth mindset in my lessons so that it is relevant, meaningful and impactful for my students?  

Janice Daize, Elementary LRT: How can I improve my practice so that my contributions to the school environment promote inclusivity and considerations for the academic and social needs of students of the Low German culture within our student population?

Jacqueline Hofmann, Elementary: Will teaching students to read with musicality and rhythm in their voices strengthen their ability to become more fluent readers?

Dorothy Oberle, Junior Class: How can I modify the practices I used with intermediate students to address the social needs of my primary student to improve student achievement? (More specifically: rules of social engagement)

Hi, Cathy, Liz, Krystal, Kelly, Janice, Jacqueline and Dorothy.

I am really moved by the your courage, passion and willingness to be vulnerable in sharing your knowledge with the educators in Bluewater. I do hope that it will be possible for BARN to continue this year.

To share with a wider audience, I am wondering if you might be interested in writing your research in an article for the Educational Journal of Living Theories, EJOLTS (ejolts.net). I would be very pleased to assist this process in any way. I know that most of this work is already done (Kelly's video contains perfect quotes for the article); it would be a matter of organizing the materials.

Please let me know if this idea resonates with you! Keep up the wonderful work!

Love, Jackie

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