The newer focus on 1:1 conversations allowed us to find effective solutions to our wicked questions: How can we improve the quality of 1:1 conversation, and How can we improve the consistency of the experience for all of our students? These solutions not only improved the consistency but also had a considerable effect on the quality of the mentoring that we saw. The conversations taking place between mentors and students during the 2017 enquiry were both rich and learning focused.
Over the last four years we have come to recognise the importance and power of 1:1 conversations to improve learning. What we mean by this is clear, focused and need driven conversations with students that push them to progress and improve.
What we want to avoid is teacher driven “helicopter conversations” where the adult in the room buzzes from one group or student to the next asking surface level check in questions that do little but disrupt the flow of learning. A sight we tend to see a lot in this kind of learning environment. Well meaning but ineffective.
So we have become interested in deep level questioning based on need and data that serves the purpose of ensuring deep learning takes place.
Consistency of student experience
Enquiry based learning by its nature is student led. However the role of the teacher probably has the greatest effect on how good and how successful the learning is.
Due to the sheer scale of our enquiries we found that consistency of experience for our students was an issue. The 2015 iteration of the program relied on a single teacher being attached to a group of students for the duration of the process. We found that this led to a range in quality of experience for the students.
Where the relationships were strong and teachers had the required skill-set to mentor effectively then the student learning was impressive. However, barriers such as teaching style, subject knowledge and training meant that some mentors were less well equipped to facilitate the kind of learning we wanted to see.
This let us to this “wicked question”. Over the course of the 2016 and 2017 enquiries we worked hard on addressing some of these needs.
Watch the video below to learn more.
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