Here are the final questions from one of the classes.
I am very pleased with the summative assessments that both classes wrote using QFT. When I compare it to the inquiry questions that I have written in the past, I am pleasantly surprised that they are even more rigorous than the questions that I would normally pose in a written exam. However, my true delight was walking around the room hearing the buzz of “What do you mean by that..” or “There are too many close-ended questions.” The sound of QFT music to my ears. I also observed students taking full ownership of the questions. In this task students crafted the questions they wanted to investigate for the exam around the provocation..
Here are the final questions from one of the classes.
Yesterday, I gave a formative assessment using the QFT. In this assessment, the students used the QFT to determine their own research questions for a group project about monarchies. In this task students were provided a choice of monarchies: absolute and constitutional monarchies. Students were provided a provocation then I released them to using the QFT protocol in their groups. While I monitored their pacing through the six steps popping in and out on the templates of each group, I provided very little coaching - only when queried for clarification and to query the class about the purpose of close ended questions when I heard a student admonishing another about only adding close ended questions to the document.
Overall, the QFT buzz in the room was great! I loved hearing students chatting away about questions and hearing comments like “No, that is not an open-ended question” or other sharing “I think we have all open ended questions.”
At the end of the formative assessment, I requested that students complete a survey about the QFT process as well as the research process. The time between completing the QFT protocol was approximately a week. This is interesting for the survey results, as students had to recall the experience of completing the QFT while the completion of their projects were freshly completed and more likely to be more memorable to discuss.
There were 28 participants present for the survey.
When analysing student responses I used my definition for student agency and counted the following:
Here are the survey results of the student reflection survey.
The total number of instances cannot be utilised to calculate the percentage of students that believe learning or student agency was impacted by the QFT strategy as some students scored points in all questions and others did not. The data simply shows the number of instances that QFT appeared in reflections about student learning with QFT and evidence of taking ownership in the task when given an opportunity to define and prioritise their own research questions using the QFT process. I will be able to tell more about student perception of agency at the end of the unit with the student surveys.
- - This is the first time I have completed an action research in a classroom, using an application that my students and I are learning together. As we explore the Questions Formulation Technique (QFT) as a strategy to improve student agency and skills in a blended learning environment, I wanted to have a learning environment that would enable me to observe if students were transferring the use of the QFT strategy to other learning engagements with our units of study.
In Parlay, teachers can can create questions around an area of inquiry, for students to reflect on in advance prior to a conversation. Teachers can quickly assess and provide feedback immediately or shortly after a debate with corresponding criteria levels about the performance on an assignment as well as the communication skills of a student during a live or blog discussion. See images below.
Therefore, taking the time to explain the importance of voice in our discussions and the tools available to supporting their own reflection about how they behave during a discussion was important for students to understand the value of learning a new tool that seems similar to Google Classroom.
I was also transparent with the students about learning the tool with them and how we all add to share our discoveries as we went along. This went a long way with my scholars who were initially not very open to learning a new tool while trying to learn new content. While there was a huge learning curve the first day, I was very pleased that everyone was patient and helpful to each other.
This week we had our first classroom discussions using Parlay. While It did not go off without a hitch, once we got going almost all of the students were enthusiastic about discussing in in this new application we are learning together.
I have two MYP Individuals & Societies classes. According to the data, in my R class 12 out of 17 students were engaged in a Parlay conversation. However, in my K section 14 out of 16 students engaged in a conversation. In this first session for both groups, students commented on the ideas of their peers, however, there were not as many queries in general. Hopefully, I will see more transference of the QFT components as they become more comfortable with the application and the QFT protocol.
While the process went slower in one class than the other, the initial reflections were promising.Two days ago I launched the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) with both of my MYP Individuals & Societies classes. o ask their own inquiry questions. QFT is a step by step rigorous process in which students engage in writing their own inquiry and learning how to use their own inquiry questions. I would like to emphasise the second part of the process - learning how to use their own inquiry questions. This is the magic dust in this protocol. Student think deeply about when they need specific types of questions, such as open-ended and close-ended questions. The QFT process enables students to uncover the differences and when each question type is useful. I have used the strategy sporadically and through a few lessons I have seen the aha moments unfold in the eyes and through student conversations. However, this is the first time I am using it for an entire unit of inquiry and rolling it out in a blended learning environment. However, for the first class...I started slow.
When I introduced QFT to my two classes I provided a mini lesson which was approximately 10 minutes. Then I shared a template that had the 8 steps and a protocol. I currently have a K class with 19 students and a R class with 18 students. In both classes I have students working from home. had students working at home on Zoom and students in person in class. I have a K class with 19 students and a R class with 18 students. In both classes students were placed into 4 groups. I released the students into their Google Classroom groups with the QFT template that I crafted for the provocation below.
I walked the students through each of the first four steps, then I took notes as I circulated the room. While circulating I heard students asking each other questions to confirm their understanding with questions like What is open-ended questions? Is this a closed-ended question? When I popped into Google documents students were using the chat to include the students at home. I sighed with relief.
As a quick reflection at the end, I sent students a Google form with the following questions:
For the first question: What did you learn? there were 12 students who made references to the inquiry process. The promising responses were: learning how to create inquiry questions from pictures, writing open-ended questions and planning inquiry. I will have to see how it unfolds over the coming weeks.
Prior to starting my action research at ISP, I started to investigate peer instruction and peer learning to better understand the cognitive science behind the practice that I had embraced with a surface understanding and only my perusal of educator articles, and PD workshops and those ever famous teachers on break shop talk. In my classes the level of engagement is always high when students are working in groups, however, I had not reviewed the cognitive science to know why. As a lover of the craft of teaching, this is essential to making targeted changes that are measurable. In my literature review about peer learning, I stumbled across the article: Why does peer instruction benefit student learning? In this article ,the authors examine peer confidence in answers as well as whether the coherence of an answer is better constructed and revealed through peer instruction than when a student responds alone. In their research, Tullis and Goldstone affirm a few conclusions that have prompted me to rethink how I organize peer collaboration for inquires.