This year’s inquiry is going pretty well for a couple of reasons:
(1) I have an undergraduate teaching assistant in the class who took the class last semester. Having her in the room really helps. I don’t have to rush around to every group. I let her run some of the discussions. It provides a sense of “bigger” community than just our class, we are more strongly connected to past classes. She also has perspective on this class, the material, and learning the material that I can’t have.
(2) From just more experience and reflection with this class, I have a better sense of what ideas are truly critical and generative for making progress, and how to get those ideas seeded through activity and discussion. While I’m worried about overly stream-lining certain aspects, I think the balance I have is fine for now. Students hold authority and agency in the classroom, but I’m just better at maintaining both the reality and feeling of progress. I want to keep monitoring this, however, make sure I’m not rushing anything or taking away agency.
(3) We have a facebook page that is been put to pretty awesome use for moon journaling, reading reflections, random posts, etc. This has been useful for a lot of reasons–but it keeps me in touch with our class’ thinking and engagement. It also extends the temporal and spatial boundaries of the class.
(4) Students have weekly readings on topics such as children’s inquiry, nature of science, mindset, etc, which help students ‘digest’ what this class is all about. This also provides some variety to our class and connects our class more obviously to their professional lives.
(5) Overall, I feel like I am structuring student presentations better as to not make them overly repetitive. This has been a facilitation weakness of mine, but the “Five Practices Book” has really helped me rethink my goals, my planning, and my facilitation.
(6) I’m doing better at shutting up during discussion… and to mostly only make contributions to seed connections, facilitate. I could still talk less.
I’m posting a little less this year, because I am posting more regularly to research blog.