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PLT Inquiry Cycle
Learn about the dimensions and see real examples.
Dimension 4
Changing Classroom Practice
Changes in teachers' beliefs and knowledge through professional learning and development must result in changes to teaching practices; in Dimension 4, teachers apply the professional learning from Dimension 3 taking time to see if and how well students respond to changes in practice.
Key Questions
  • How well am I implementing the (new) teaching and learning practices?
  • Are the students responding to the changes in my practice?
  • What do I need to learn to do next?
Sources of Evidence
  • How students respond to new practices (can use student feedback)
  • Research base for criteria for effective practice
  • Specifics of practice that would count as evidence of the criteria
  • Extent to which the specifics are evident in the teacher's practice
  • Teacher reflections using e5
Principles / Guidelines for Using this Evidence

PLTs use processes to ensure:

  • Teaching practices from Dimension 3 make the link between theory and practice; Dimension 4 is an opportunity to put theory into practice
  • Professional learning from Dimension 3 is responsive to student needs and implemented properly
  • Sufficient time is allowed for learning, practising new strategies, experimentation and risk taking; teachers need time to see if and how well students are responding to changes in practice
  • Evidence from practice is used to identify further professional learning needs - to what extent has engaging students in new learning experiences in Dimension 4 achieved the teacher learning goal identified in Dimension 2?
See Dimension 4 in Action
PLT Inquiry Cycle Hypothetical
Key Question(s)
This sections contains the Slides (with notes) and full details of Protocols relating to Dimension 4: Engage students in new learning experiences as used in the Leading to Learn: Learning to Lead Professional Learning day
Source of Evidence
As new practices are implemented in the classroom the question of how students are responding is important to have in mind.
Three major sources of evidence can be used
1. Teachers own observations and reflections. This process can be made more rigorous if the teacher has previously identified the student  responses they are looking for and if their reflection is shared with a colleague. Protocols such as grow or flow can be used in peer coaching.
2. Students can provide a valuable source of feedback if they are involved in understanding the new practice and asked to provide their views on how things have gone.
3. Student work can be used (see Rounds Protocol)) to identify whether or not their is evidence of the new practices being more effective.
4. Observations of classes by colleagues. Such observations might be to stimulate new practices, improve existing practices or evaluate established practices (see Observation Protocols)
Context
Leadership Reflections
Multimedia Files and Attached Docs
Provided structure and guiding questions to a peer coaching conversation
Provides formats for Observation As Learning (implementing new practice) Observation For Learning (improving practice) Observation Of Learning (evaluating practice)
Guide to Socratic questioning procedures that can be used to discuss a question of practice presented by a teacher to the PLT
Protocol to look at student work with a focus of uncovering what it is that students have learned.
References and Links to Resources
Comments
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Improving Students' Number Facts
Key Question(s)
How well am I implementing the new teaching and learning practices?
What do I need to learn and do next?
Source of Evidence
As part of our inquiry process we were committed to gathering evidence and reflecting upon our changed practice.
This was done through survey and interviews/discussions with teachers and through observations of classroom practice.
Context
All teachers participating in the Inquiry Cycle were emailed a set of five questions to which they composed their written responses.  These questions elicited teacher thoughts about how they had made changes to their teaching practice.  Fortnightly PLT meeting time was used to facilitate the inquiry, and developed a rich ongoing dialogue based on implementation of new strategies.
Coaching allowed for structured observation, feedback and discussion around strategy implementation.
Leadership Reflections
The existing coaching process was used to monitor implementation of the new teaching and learning practices.
This de-privatised classroom practice and provided observational data for discussion of changed practice.
Staff feedback rated coaching as a highly valuable way to monitor and support the inquiry process.
In addition, I kept a journal and used the content as source of data through content analysis (see attachment). Important features have been highlighted.
  
Multimedia Files and Attached Docs
As part of our evaluation teachers took part in short interview which were then analysed to identify common themes. the same approach was used in analysing a journal kept by the PLT Leader
One teacher relating some of the most salient learning through the Inquiry Process.
References and Links to Resources
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PLT Inquiry Resources
Key Question(s)
None
Source of Evidence
None
Context
None
Leadership Reflections
None
Multimedia Files and Attached Docs
References and Links to Resources
Comments
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Scaffolding Numeracy in the Middle Years
Key Question(s)
Are the students responding to changes in our practice?
Source of Evidence
Evidence of specific practices
Observation of student learning with new practices
Context
Teaching practices we learned about in Dimension 3 were used here as we made the link between Di Siemon’s theory and our own practice. We decided to implement a range of strategies, such as Make a Whole, Multiplication Toss, Magician's Costume and Target Practice (see attachments and link to DEECD resources). 
Leadership Reflections
Understandings of multiplicative thinking were negotiated in the PLT in the context of opportunities for practice.  We maintained a focus on how students were responding to changes in our practice.
Multimedia Files and Attached Docs
Linking Research to practice
Teacher reflections on links between Di Siemon's research and her own practice
Changes in My Teaching
A teacher shares her thoughts about changes to practice as a result of engaging in an Inquiry
After using the assessment materials to locate students on the Learning and Assessment Framework for Multiplicative Thinking (LAF), we used activities from the Learning Plans on the SNMY website - e.g. Make a Whole Strategy - to target particular groups of students.
Strategies in action
Another of the activities - Magician's Costume - from the SNMY Learning Plans (see link to resources).
References and Links to Resources
Comments
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Year 8 English - A PLT Journey
Key Question(s)
How effective are the Literature Circles strategies as a means of engaging students in their reading?  
How effective were strategies for developing narrative writing?
How well do these strategies meet student learning needs?
Source of Evidence
Teachers had taken part in classroom observation which was used to consider implementation. Teachers also reflected openly on their  experiences.
Context
In the first video segment teachers were discussing how effective the Literature Circles strategies, used during a reading and responding to text unit, had been for student learning . The key issue which seems to emerge is around the applicability for all students and whether it is an effective strategy for explicitly teaching skills.
The second video focuses on Narrative writing and looks at the use of strategies for developing dialogue and characterisation.
Leadership Reflections
The important elements of this meeting were the way that teachers were prepared to be open and honest about their experiences and to share observations. It highlights the professionalism with which they approach their work.
Multimedia Files and Attached Docs
Implementing New Practices
Teachers discuss the issues and concerns with the effectiveness of new practices.
New Practices in Narrative Writing
Teachers discussing how they had taught aspects of Narrative writing including Dialogue and Show, don't Tell
References and Links to Resources
Comments
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How do we improve reading comprehension P-6?
Key Question(s)
How well am I implementing the (new) teaching and learning practices?

Are the students responding to the changes in my practice?
Source of Evidence
How students respond to new practices (student feedback)
Evidence of specific practices  (photos and accompanying anecdotes)
Observation of student learning with new practices (crosscheck template example)
Context
In trialling the new teaching practice, teachers maximised the learning environment by using their school-based coach, by team teaching and providing each other with feedback. Teacher observations of student learning (see template) as well as student feedback on the actual process, work samples and photographic evidence was collected.
Leadership Reflections
As a leader, our key question -  What are students' current comprehension abilities and what do we want them to be? - was important for the PLT to have as a focus throughout.

We found that supporting each other every step of the way is crucial when trialling new practices. Teachers needed support to take risks and this support was in the form of coaching conversations, sharing anecdotal evidence, photos, student work samples and PLT discussions.
Multimedia Files and Attached Docs
Teachers used this template to record observations of and anecdotal notes about student learning
Students blogged their feedback to teachers on Ultranet in response to the question - How can we improve our reading sessions?. Teachers used this feedback to change their session structure from whole group to smaller group sizes
References and Links to Resources
Comments
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Primary Writing Inquiry Cycle
Key Question(s)
How well are we implementing the (new) teaching and learning practices?

Are the students responding to the changes in our practice?
Source of Evidence
Drawing on the research (See D3) and teacher observation of students and how they responded to changes in practice.
Context
Having discussed what they were already doing to teach the three areas chosen (cohesion, sentence structure and vocabulary) and researched ‘best practice’ in this area, teachers then identified what they would be doing, what the students would be doing and what classrooms would look like. This attachment also includes the reflective/evaluative comments made by teachers in observing the effects of changes to classroom practice.
The focus on providing feedback that moves learning forward resulted in the development of "Feedback Cards" (See attachment) to guide teachers in the type of feedback they were giving students.
Leadership Reflections
Teachers owned the changes they were making in classroom practices because they had used their own students work and the research as the basis deciding on changes to practice
Multimedia Files and Attached Docs
Excerpt from PLT agreement on classroom implementation showing planned changes to classroom practice
Cards used by teachers to guide teacher feedback to students on sentence structure, punctuation, cohesion and vocabulary
References and Links to Resources
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Leading PLTs
Key Question(s)
None
Source of Evidence
None
Context
None
Leadership Reflections
None
Multimedia Files and Attached Docs
References and Links to Resources
Comments
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Mathematical Language in Secondary Context
Key Question(s)
How did students respond to the strategies used to focus on mathematical language?
Source of Evidence
Teacher observation and informal feedback were they primary sources of evidence.
Context
At this stage in the Inquiry Cycle, teachers were really exploring how to incorporate the new strategies into their teaching.
Word walls created an awareness of the important of  language and put the focus on the particular words relevant to a study.
Spelling test gave students a reminder of the common sense definition and focussed on knowing correct spelling of the term.
A pictionary game and dominoes game were developed around mathematical language.
Students were asked to draw the meaning of a word.
A quiz game was developed.
Student response has been positive and they seemed to like the word focus as something different from "normal maths".
Leadership Reflections
We probably needed to set up a more formal way of reflecting on how classroom implementation was going. We needed to collect information from both teachers and students. Teachers made a genuine effort and put in significant work in developing strategies. Students were generally positive in their response.
Multimedia Files and Attached Docs
Developed to encourage student in to understand language used in maths. A useful strategy that engaged students.
Used in matching activities and in "spelling tests" in Math
Word Wall
Elements of Word walls
References and Links to Resources
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Developing a learning culture in the PLT
Key Question(s)
None
Source of Evidence
None
Context
None
Leadership Reflections
None
Multimedia Files and Attached Docs
References and Links to Resources
Comments
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Leading Planning and Documenting a PLT Inquiry
Key Question(s)
None
Source of Evidence
None
Context
None
Leadership Reflections
None
Multimedia Files and Attached Docs
References and Links to Resources
Comments
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