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Kaleidoscope of Inquiry Conference

By Padma Sekar, P7 Homeroom Teacher and Learning Leader
Meenu Sharma, P7 Homeroom Teacher
Ranjeeta Rai, P3 Homeroom Teacher
Stonehill International School

A Kaleidoscope Of Inquiry: A Transformative Journey in Bangkok Patana

Attending the Kaleidoscope of Inquiry Conference on April 27th-28th, 2024, in Bangkok Patana School was an enriching and transformative experience for us. This unique professional development opportunity brought together four globally renowned educators who guided us through the expansive potential of inquiry-based learning in various educational contexts. Their diverse backgrounds and experiences, ranging from preschool to senior secondary education and university settings, provided us with unique perspectives on how inquiry can be harnessed for powerful learning.

Designing Powerful Journeys of Inquiry with and for Learners - Kath Murdoch

The first session, "Designing Powerful Journeys of Inquiry with and for Learners," was led by Kath Murdoch, an esteemed expert in inquiry-based learning. Kath introduced us to the 'cycle of inquiry' as a tool to support and scaffold both planning and teaching. This dynamic, collaborative process is not just about forward mapping to meet curriculum requirements but also about responsive planning that caters to students' needs and interests.

Key takeaways from this session included:

- Essential ingredients in the planning process

- Working with real-life contexts to enhance the power of inquiry

- Strategies to improve collaboration within planning teams

- The role of concepts in planning and building curriculum connections

- Engaging student voices in the design process

- Effective documentation strategies

Kath’s insights on using the cycle of inquiry to invite students into the planning process were particularly enlightening. She demonstrated how understanding this process can elevate key competencies and how students can transfer these skills to independent inquiries.

Stonehill International School

The Art of Inquiry Teaching: Powering Up Our Pedagogy

The second session, "The Art of Inquiry Teaching," also led by Kath, delved into the complex nature of teaching through, for, and as inquiry. This workshop highlighted the relationship between our classroom actions and their impact on student learning, emphasising student agency. Kath shared ten essential practices, such as questioning, cultivating curiosity, and releasing responsibility, providing us with strategies to amplify each one. This session left us with practical tools to strengthen our pedagogical approaches.
 

Inquiry Mindset: Exploring Student-Centred Assessment - Trevor Mackenzie

Trevor MacKenzie's sessions were equally impactful. In "Inquiry Mindset: Exploring Student-Centred Assessment," Trevor shared ten student-centred assessment beliefs that inquiry teachers should plan for, cultivate, coach, and model. This session encouraged deep reflection on our assessment practices and provided resources to support these beliefs. Trevor's insights on setting personalised goals to integrate these practices into our classrooms were invaluable.

Stonehill International School

 

Stonehill International School

Questions in Inquiry

Trevor's second session, "Questions in Inquiry," focused on the critical role of questions in learning and lesson design. He introduced us to the Question Continuum, a structure to help students become stronger questioners and deepen their understanding. This approach not only aids in teaching but also fosters a culture of curiosity and inquiry in the classroom.
 

Using Documentation to Make the Inquiry Process Visible - Ann Van Dam

Anne Van Dam’s session on using documentation as a tool for reflecting on the inquiry process was a revelation. By revisiting photos, videos, conversations, and other traces of learning, we can track our steps and reflect on pivotal moments and big questions. This method helps students see learning as a continuous process and understand that their ideas are valued and responded to.

Invitation and Provocations in Inquiry

Anne’s second session, ‘Invitation and Provocations,’ explored the role of invitations and provocations in deepening and expanding students' inquiries. This workshop connected provocations to listening, documenting, and

interpreting students’ ideas, which enhances intentionality in supporting students' learning journeys.

Stonehill International School

Centering Identity and Inquiry in Social Comprehension - Sara K. Ahmed

Sara K. Ahmed’s sessions were deeply reflective and focused on social comprehension and building participatory communities. In "Being the Change," we explored our social identities and how these impact our understanding of the world. Sara guided us through principles of social comprehension, emphasising the importance of candid reflection on our beliefs and biases.
 

Building Spaces of Belonging

In the final session, ‘What Elevates Us to Participatory Communities?’ Sara examined how we gather and build common ground in our educational environments. This session emphasised the importance of creating inclusive and intentional spaces for learning and collaboration, reflecting on traditional practices and ideating new ways to foster a sense of belonging.

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