Participatory Action Research at St Francis Xavier

Teachers at St Francis Xavier have created learning opportunites for their students where they are engaging critically and effectively in a multimodal world. As part of the contemporary literacies they are developing culturally relevant and valued literate practices. Some examples of this are illustrated in the prezi presentation where students have created book trailers using iMovie. As part of their inquiry learning students are expected to create and interact with print, non-print and multimodal texts. These expectations and criteria are outlined for studnets in ther Design Brief and Literacy contracts. This community of learners (teachers and students) are using contemporary tools to take action within their inquiry units of work and articulate their thinking, reflections and learning as part of literature circles. The staff and students at St Francis invite you to offer comments.

Allowing Ourselves to be Seen…

The Ted Talk by Dr Brene Brown on vulnerability has many connection to Collaborative Literacy Learning Communities and our life as educators. In her talk Dr Brown uses terms words such as – vulnerability, connections, compassion, courage, authenticity, worthiness, joy, creativity and belonging. Every time I view this talk it makes me laugh but also recognise the complexitites in our work but recently I have made quite a few links to the 3 powerful ideas underpinning CLLC. As we engage in the 3 powerful ideas we also embrace vulnerability and allow ourselves to be seen. In the CLLC project we encourage you to:

  • Show courage by telling your story
  •  Show compassion by being kind to yourself and believe that we are all worthy and able to contribute
  •  Make connections as a result of authenticity as it gives us purpose

In our professional learning communities we make connections and let ourselves be seen, we develop our sense of worthiness and collaborate with others. As we undertake participatory action research we collect stories and share these stories. Dr Brene Brown also tells us that allowing ourselves to live with such vulnerability also allows us to experience joy, creativity and belonging. Schools presenting their work CLLC work are not only letting themsleves be seen (vulnerable), but are also sharing their experience of joy, their creativity and sense of belonging.

One way to think about our work in CLLCis that it requires us to be involved Head work, Field work, Relational work and Text work (Erica McWilliam, 2009). I ask you to reflect on the school presentations today and consider the type of work they have been involved in.

  • Head work – what they have had to think about…
  • Field work – what they have had do…
  • Relational work – their collaboration, communication, negotiation…
  • Text work – what they have created to share knowledge…

In the CLLC project what work have you been involved in?

Student voice and choice in a personalised learning context – wordle

As a Collaborative Literacy Learning Community how can we continue the conversation around student voice and choice. This wordle represents some of our thoughts & questions around student voice. I encourage you to add a post to this blog about the opportunities you create that involve students.
Wordle: Untitled

Contemporary Literacies – what are our understandings?

Wordle: CLLC 2011

If you click on the image it will bring up a larger image for you to read.
The following Wordle was used on May 16, 2011 as a prompt to initiate discussion amongst the group of teachers exploring Contemporary Literacies as part of the research. In our discussion we also referred to the Contemporary Learning Schema and discussed Contemporary Literacies that involve:

  • Developing culturally relevant and valued literate practices
  • Creating and interacting with print, non-print and multimodal texts
  • Engaging critically and effectively in a multimodal world
  • Communicating appropriately in a range of social contexts

As we shared and challenged our understandings we reflected on some examples of contemporary literacies in actions.  These included a teacher blog where student learning at her school is published. In this blog we see examples of students developing deeper understandings about self, others and the world. These students explore multiple perspectives and influences as they engage in group conversations using voicethread.

We also viewed short video clips of a teacher providing learning opportunities that are explicit and scaffolded. In these clips, the teacher supported students in developing  a metalanguage for identifying language patterns and structures in an information report. We also engaged in a thinking routine ‘colour, symbol & image’ from the Visible Thinking website. We reflected on the use of this thinking routine with the picture book ‘The Island’, by Armin Greder.

What ongoing reflections can you share so that we can continue our conversation about Contemporary Literacies?

What is Participatory Action Research?

This post was first published on March 1, 2011

On 16 feb, 2011 we met with the literacy leaders and revisited our understandings about CLLC and engaging in Participatory Action Research. We had a strong focus on reflection. We explored the Reflective Thinking Pyramid, what makes effective Professional Learning and options for keeping a reflective journal. We also discussed the use of evidence, how we reflect on this evidence and keeping the focus on student learning.

A key part of CLLC is that we build this learning community and engage in reflective thinking. As part of this we will:

  •  question our practices based on increased pedagogical knowledge and skills
  • reflect on our context so that this reflection leads to better teaching
  • through our reflection we are able to defend our practices and articulate their relevance to improved student learning

I look forward to continuing this journey with you.