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Bankhead Elementary
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Developing a Hunch

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As a result of the Scanning and Focusing phases, as a staff we have been able to start asking ourselves the questions of "Why is this happening?" And, as importantly, "how, as professional educators are we contributing to it?"  For instance, why can students explain what they are learning in great detail but often struggle with the more in-depth "Why are we learning these topics?"  Also, we realized that mistakes are not always seen as necessary steps to learning and improving by our students.  The question then becomes how do we make mistakes an accepted and meaningful part of every child's learning experience in the school setting and with life lessons.  In analyzing our findings we have reflected on how we can help students become deeper thinkers and engage with school in very impactful and meaningful ways.  If we make learning more explicit and visible can we build strategies to help students engage and take more ownership for their learning?  By focusing on a Growth Mind-Set can we also help students embrace mistakes just like Thomas Edison: an important and necessary part of continual improvement. 

This phase involved deep discussion with our Inquiry Committee as well as with our teaching staff.  We had the opportunity to reflect on our beliefs and assumptions of student learning and discuss how we see our role contributing to positive change.  We had very open and challenging conversations that made us really think how do we see children understanding their learning at different ages.  Can Kindergarten students really understand what they need to improve?  Do we all believe in Growth Mind-sets and can we change a Fixed Mind-Set to a growth with students?

Once we worked through our conversations and beliefs we came to an agreement that we can have a very positive change on students learning with a refreshed approach. 

What was becoming noticeable during the scanning and focusing phases is that an overarching theme was becoming very evident.  This theme we decided as a group was basically making all learning more visible to learners.  Under this umbrella theme we also discovered that a continued focus on our student's social emotional needs was highly valued and strongly advocated by all.  We believe we can best address our social emotional student needs through the lens of a Growth Mind-set.   Secondly, in terms of academics what we also realized is that visible learning will also help us improve student learning.  Specifically, we have groups of teachers dedicated to learning more about authentic reporting (i.e. Fresh Grade Portfolios) and making math more process based, hands-on and explicit.