We have consistently conducted this inquiry for two academic years now. For a couple of reasons, this year’s has been a memorable one for my teaching Assistant and I. Inquiry based teaching and learning has always taught us the need to reflect on our learning journey from time to time in order to improve and grow. Comparatively, when I reflect on my previous inquiries and the current one, I have seen a noticeable improvement. There has been a marked improvement in our current method of inquiry in comparison with the old; planning, lesson delivery, instructional strategies etc.
‘Technology has the tendency to change the way people access information and connect with each other’ is the central idea of my memorable unit.
We live in a world where almost everything we do, be it work, studies, entertainment, recreation etc. takes place on one form of a screen or another i.e. some type of tablet or smart phone; searching for information, playing games and connecting with family and friends around the world etc. has become seamless courtesy of the wonders of technology. The use of modern technology in education is the future. Therefore we must urge and guide our learners to fully embrace it but that can only happen when we as facilitators are open about the use of it too. This gives me a greater motivation to effectively integrate the use of technology in my teaching and learning. One of my plans this year is to try and integrate technology in my lessons as much as I can. We commenced the use of Seesaw and there was no better time to make it an integral part of our lessons. Also, our learners were assigned email addresses by the school which automatically qualified them to access Google Classroom. We explored how to send emails, use Google docs, Google forms and use Google classroom effectively. Google Docs has made our online collaboration easier and convenient and Google Classroom has extended our classroom as we chat, question, assign work, share links etc.
Over the long break, I extensively browsed Alice Keeler’s website and I was able to identify a couple of templates and add-on resources that would be useful in class. I found more than I would ever need but the one thing that particularly caught my attention was her rubric tab – we used it to instantly assess the learners’ work, giving feedback and we later e-mailed their rubrics to their school-created mails.
Also, If there was one thing that made the unit of inquiry memorable, was the fact that the learners were, and have become, digitally-responsible citizens and they embarked on a one-on-one school campaign to educate other learners about the opportunities and dangers of using social media as well as making posters to be distributed around the school as part of our reflection and taking action.
And the icing on the cake; at the end of every unit, we embark a Unit-U turn (a session where the entire PYP team visits each other’s class and the teacher goes through the whole inquiry as facilitated by him or her). That’s a great way of peer assessing our colleagues as well as reflecting on our inquiry process — something we constantly try to incorporate in our learners. Using the simple majority rule, our class was adjudged the best by virtue of our method of inquiry. We were hugely humbled by the award but we have, at the same time, taken it as a challenge to maintain even higher teaching and learning standards. Our PYPC presented with a certificate and were given a treat as well.
This is my 3rd year as a homeroom teacher at Al-Rayan International School. Truth be told, I have been blessed to work with a great team of colleagues who continue to inspire and guide me in my career led by my PYP coordinator, primary head and our principal. It would not have been the same without you; your feedback, helping hand, suggestions etc. were hugely beneficial.