Professional learning: Inquiry & action research

Dan Pink in his book Drive pointed out that, “for artists, inventors, school children, and the rest of us, intrinsic motivation–the drive to do something because it is interesting, challenging, and absorbing–is essential for high level creativity.” Which is why it seemed like a good idea to prioritize time for teachers to collaborate in action research teams to explore areas of interest as part of their professional learning this year. 

In addition to being an attribute of the IB learner profile for students, inquiry is a skill and disposition we value and want to practice as adult learners too. We know that getting good at something takes time and effort. So, during our PD days at the beginning of the year we generated ideas to pursue through inquiry. Topics ranged from targeted feedback and wellness to integrating the Sustainable Development Goals and living the UNIS Hanoi vision, mission and values.

In the following weeks, self organized teams used the Question Formulation Technique to launch their inquiry. The process of inquiry is as important as the topic of focus. So to support our ongoing practice of inquiry, all teams are following some sort of inquiry or action research model–and will offer some feedback on the model’s pros and cons at the end of the inquiry. Model 1: Action research template, model 2: design thinking, model 3: Action research/inquiry cycle, model 4: Action research for PE & sports. (Of course, if teams found another model they wanted to follow that was fine too.)

In the same way that we introduce students to different strategies to support their inquiry, teams are using different models to both learn and reflect on what approaches help inquirers find agency and come up with actionable outcomes. 

Related resources:

The Right Questions. October 2014 | Volume 72 | Number 2

Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions: One small change can yield big result by DAN ROTHSTEIN AND LUZ SANTANA. Volume 27, Number 5. September/October 2011.

The Right Question Institute