“Collaborative inquiry involves two components – collaboration (working together) and inquiry (a search for deep understanding) …
Collaboration is why you would want to bring people together. However, not all collaboration is equal, and working together for the sake of working together is not enough to move improvement forward.”
– Katz, Dack and Earl, 2009
Collaborative inquiry was the essence of the April 3 Learning Forward BC Network dinner that focused on the professional learning standard of Learning Communities. Participants were asked to think of a ‘yes/no’ question regarding collaboration. Upbeat energy was palatable when they were asked to find two others to pose their question to, and then inquire as to why their partner answered yes or no. Four teams – from Sea to Sky, Sunshine Coast, Surrey, and West Vancouver – shared their stories of collaborative professional learning practices where team members had a collective responsibility and were committed to ongoing learning. The stories sparked conversations that had the potential to go longer and deeper. Many participants made plans to visit each other and to share expertise.
The network session was a powerful way to bring closure for departing board members Nancy Hinds and Jean Adshead. Their passion for professional learning and contributions to Learning Forward BC throughout their tenures on the board will be missed. Nancy’s thoughtful questions and facilitation skills, and Jean’s computer savvy, minute taking, and Newsletter production were greatly valued assets on the board.
At our May 3 AGM we welcomed five new Board members. On behalf of the Learning Forward Board, I am pleased to welcome Wanda Mitchell [Burnaby School District], Karen Steffensen [Surrey School District], Kirsten Deasey [Sunshine Coast School District], Pius Ryan [North Vancouver School District] and Jessica Antosz [Qualicum School District ] to the team.
With our new board members we are in a stronger position than ever to build on our successes as we address the mission of Learning Forward BC: to provide opportunities for all educators to engage in quality professional learning that focuses on improving student engagement, learning, and achievement, in the province of British Columbia.
We look forward to working with BC educators to enhance their network of quality professional learning practices. Our work is framed by the Learning Forward Standards for Professional Learning – a set of characteristics that serve as indicators that guide the learning, facilitation, implementation, and evaluation of professional learning. Our October 16 Network dinner will focus on the standards.