Inquiry-Driven Learning

Not only does inquiry drive instructional improvement, but it also allows teachers to experience what we are asking them to lead: learning driven by curiosity.

Our founder, Dr. Anna Richert, often spoke of the uncertainty and complexity inherent in teaching and learning. Because of this, teachers need time and support to understand the impact of their instructional decisions. Often times, traditional teacher learning ends with getting teachers to implement a strategy or a program. At Mills Teacher Scholars we support our teachers and leaders to ask questions about the results of their implementation: Are these instructional strategies supporting our students’ learning?

We engage and support teachers in a process of inquiry that takes a deep dive on a high leverage instructional routine. For many teachers, this routine (reading circles, math talks, guided reading, math reasoning activities, problem solving tasks) remains their focus throughout the year as they refine their instruction to better fit their students’ needs.

Phase 1: Understanding inquiry process and deciding on area of inquiry that aligns with goals

  • Engaging in collaborative adult learning conversations
  • Narrowing inquiry focus
  • Identifying focal students
  • Identifying routine data source to make student thinking and learning visible

Phase 2: Tracking focal student learning over time

  • Strengthening data analysis skills
  • Developing indicators of success for routine data source
  • Refining indicators and instruction as understanding deepens

Phase 3: Synthesizing and Sharing learning

  • Synthesizing and sharing learning with colleagues
  • Considering patterns of understanding and exploring school-wide implications

To learn more about how Mills Teacher Scholars can support your school or district to build a strong adult learning culture, please contact us at teacherscholars@mills.edu.