Jill Forster spoke at the Northern Sydney Region Conference this morning. Although I couldn’t attend the day I did receive a copy of her notes including her paper Quality teaching for gifted learners: An action research approach to professional learning, (Forster J, 2006, Australian Journal of Gifted Education, 15(2), 32-42)
Her emphasis on building learning communities through action research is a fantastic approach. One that elavates teachers and students and helps achieve better outcomes for all students. A lofty ideal and something that we strive for at the Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre. This paper provides some useful reminders of how all teachers can include aspects of action research in their curriculum planning. This means an approach that includes:
Wrapping this around curriculum that encourages metacognitive thinking, student locus of control and designing challenging activities ensures that the efforts of this action learning process have a transferrable value.
She then gives some suggestions for the designing these types of projects including:
- think big, start small
- work in teams to maintain support;
- include procedures for feedback on results; and
- provide continued follow-up support and pressure and integrate programs. (Guskey, 1994 in Gubbins et al, 2002 p.6)
She also raises a couple of key points that I think we are constantly considering in our projects:
- How effectively is sustainability being taken into account?
- What are the benefits to the wider educational community so far?
Very worthwhile read.