“When students see tangible actions that they can choose to take to make a difference, they see themselves as competent, capable and active agents of change “(Oxfam 2015).
‘How do we get them to walk the talk? ‘ someone asked in our leadership meeting, sparking, as always, a host of ‘what if’ and ‘how might we’ questions. (A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger)
- What if we chose action as our whole school focus for 2019?
- What if we created a whole school inquiry that was inherently about action?
- How might this provide an opportunity for teachers to delve into the new PYP Principles into Practice?
- How might we explore the interconnection between action and agency?
- How might we link our focus on ‘cultivating action’ to our previous annual teacher inquiries?
- How might action look in the early years?
- What if we redeveloped our Year 6 leadership program to further encourage students to pitch and drive ideas for action? (Thank you Stephanie Thompson!)
- How might an action focus impact school culture?
- How might thinking beyond ourselves empower us to act?
- What if we used the cultural forces as a way to think about cultivating action?
- What if we included parents and how might we get them thinking about action they might take with or in relation to their children?
- How might members of the whole learning community take, encourage, support and acknowledge individual and collective action?
… which brings us to Day 1 of the school year and a massive, whole school workshop for teachers, assistants and leaders, to initiate the process of our inquiry.
We start with time to chat about the holidays first… with the guiding questions ‘What is something you learned in the holidays?’ and ‘Which form of action was sparked as a result?’
Inspired by the beautiful Lead India clip, The Tree, participants record their initial thoughts about action.
Each group is assigned one of the action examples (Participation, Social Justice, Social Entrepreneurship, Advocacy and Lifestyle Choices) to unpack, considering how it might look through the lenses of their various roles and contexts, using the action markers above as prompts. The action section from the new PYP Principles into Practice is a valuable resource, adding a layer to the process.
Regrouping in jigsaw fashion, allows teachers to share their groups’ thinking as well as build an understanding of the bigger picture. What better way to synthesise the ideas and express the essence than through making….
The next stage is to consider how this goal relates to and builds on our whole school inquiries of the past few years, such as encouraging learner agency and starting with the child. Guiding questions: How does this goal connect with our previous goals? How does this goal extend learning and teaching? What challenges or questions do you have?
Then it’s back to the initial thoughts recorded by participants at the start of the session. How has their thinking changed? What new questions do they have? What action will they take?
What action do you plan to take in 2019?