Action Taken

The Year 10 Geography course allowed for only four class periods, of 55 minutes each, for students to work on this particular inquiry at school.  Given such time constraints, the teacher had little opportunity to take action after the first questionnaire.  Many students noted, at the start of the topic, that they generally found it difficult to find specific, detailed information.  Therefore, a lesson centred around expert search strategies could have proven to be very useful to this group of students, but time did not allow this.  Also, as around a third of students responded that they had no interest in the topic, in the first questionnaire, a learning activity could have been facilitated to create more interest and excitement about the topic, if more time was available.  As most guided inquiry models suggest, tuning in / initiation with the topic at the start of an inquiry is an essential stage in the process, and I will discuss this further in my recommendations post.

Teaching points during this project were, by necessity, brief, and related to assessable criteria with which the teacher felt the students might need assistance and/or which students raised as problematic.  She introduced them to the online bibliography generator, which is available to students through the school “moodle” page, resulting, in the final questionnaire, with at least one student mentioning this tool as something they found easy to do when they research.  She began another lesson with a brief, hands-on activity to introduce the students to creating focus questions, after discovering, through conversation, that students had little or no experience with this vital part of the inquiry process.  By the end of their inquiry, students were required to present a written report on one issue related to the health of the Swan River.  Several students were unsure how to appropriately plan and structure a report, so the teacher presented them with a planning template, which most students found very helpful.

The above examples demonstrate a willingness, by the teacher, to cater to student needs, as they arise in class.  Although this teacher was not able to take significant action, based on results of the first questionnaire, she will be more likely and able to take action in the long term.  After analysing the results of both surveys, the teacher now has the opportunity to share this information with colleagues, and use the information to guide future planning.


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