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Navigating by Questions . Rose Asera , Ph.D Rethinking Pre-college Math Summer Institute Aug 22, 2012 . Why inquiry? . Move into a situation with questions: starting with questions will take you places that starting with answers won’t.

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navigating by questions

Navigating by Questions

Rose Asera, Ph.D

Rethinking Pre-college Math

Summer Institute Aug 22, 2012

why inquiry
Why inquiry?

Move into a situation with questions: starting with questions will take you places that starting with answers won’t.

Formal inquiry: an organized form of professional development that involves forming questions, gathering and analyzing data, and acting on and sharing results

Informal inquiry: nurturing your intellectual

curiosity and asking questions. Inquiry

becomes a habit of mind.

how would you describe the culture of
How would you describe the culture of:
  • Your college ?
  • Your department ?
  • Your classroom ?

What do you pay attention to in order to describe these cultures ?

  • Culture is the connective tissue between formal changes (policy, structure, content) and individual experiences
  • Can someone ‘change’ culture? (Can someone ‘culture’ change?)
  • What are the levers of culture change?
    • How are the characteristics of the culture a resource to you? an obstacle to you?
  • What is the relationship of culture change to changing policy/ structure/ individuals?
  • What are the characteristics of a culture of inquiry?
culture of your department
culture of your Department
  • What have you done that has shifted the culture in your department?
  • How is the departmental culture communicated to new people or part-time faculty? to students?
  • What do you do to establish the culture in your classroom?
  • Has changing instruction changed the way you see students and learning?
questions about students and student learning
Questions about students and student learning
  • What works /for whom /under what conditions ?
  • What do you know about your students’ lives, aspirations, & challenges? What strengths do students bring to the classroom?
  • How does knowing your students affect your teaching?
  • What does learning look like?
  • How do students view mathematics?
  • What is the relationship between the data patterns and your observations in the classroom?
mapping your department campus
Mapping your department & campus

Besides colleagues in your department, whose work is affected by changes you are making in developmental math?

  • Who are your allies? Do you have connections across campus boundaries and silos? Why is this important?
  • Who needs to be involved in the changes? Who needs to be aware and informed?
resources beginning with c
Resources beginning with ‘C’
  • Community & colleagues
  • Collaboration & conversation
  • Students as Co-inquirers
inquiring minds
Inquiring Minds
what s faculty inquiry
What’s Faculty inquiry?
  • Taking your teaching sensibility--
    • Intuition
    • Hunches
    • Observations
    • Puzzles
    • Dilemmas
    • Questions

Seriously and systematically pursuing evidence to gain more insight into student learning

& Sharing it

what does inquiry look like
What does inquiry look like?

Who are my students?

  • Katie Hern’s students at Chabot College

what does this look like mathematics
What does this look like: mathematics

What are we teaching?

  • Jay Cho & Friends at Pasadena City College

what does it look like
What does it look like?
  • How do we know they are learning?
  • Laura Graff and friends at College of the Desert

the cycle of inquiry
The cycle of inquiry

The cycle of inquiry:

An outcome of inquiry is more inquiry ….

shaping the question
Shaping the Question
  • What is?
  • What’s the problem?
  • What works? How?
  • What’s possible?
  • Why?
gathering data evidence
Gathering Data & Evidence
  • Campus data– trends, patterns, big pictures
  • Classroom observations
  • Examples of student work
  • Results of a common assessment
  • Think-alouds
  • Student surveys, interviews and focus groups
  • Looking outward as well as inward: evidence from other educational settings (research literature, cases, etc)
analyzing data
Analyzing data
  • Finding patterns
    • Quantitative analysis- when are statistics useful?
    • Qualitative analysis – beyond anecdotes - what are the patterns of response?
    • Finding outliers: when are outliers worthy of attention?
action in the classroom
Action in the Classroom
  • How does what you have learned affect the situation?
  • What actions do your data indicate?
  • Are there changes that can be made?
  • How is inquiry part of implementation? Of ongoing improvement?
why make your work public
Why make your work public?
  • To reflect and reconstruct the process
  • To critically reexamine data
  • To tell the story
  • To make public and invite conversation
  • To share ongoing questions
  • For others to build on
why collaborative inquiry
Why Collaborative Inquiry?
  • To gain different perspectives on the problem
  • In isolation (classroom/office/campus) you can’t see the dimensions or magnitude of the problem
  • You understand more about your context by seeing other contexts
  • The problems we are addressing are bigger than any one person “I never think it’s my problem alone”
students as co inquirers
Students as co-inquirers


  • bring a new perspective to data gathering and analysis
  • have access to informal aspects of other students’ lives
  • can translate across cultures
  • may have tech savvy
outcomes of inquiry
Outcomes of Inquiry
  • Increased local knowledge of teaching and learning & common language
  • Greater understanding of students and their learning process
  • Shared responsibility for student learning
  • Integration of professional learning in work responsibilities
  • Analysis to action
  • More inquiry
  • Inquiry becomes a habit or mindset
a cautionary note
A cautionary note
  • It doesn’t all work
  • Finding things that don’t work is part of inquiry
  • Sharing mistakes is part of learning and is very valuable (and not always easy)
faculty inquiry is part of the inquiry family
Faculty Inquiry is Part of the Inquiry Family
  • Teacher as Researcher
  • Faculty Learning Communities
  • Reflective Inquiry
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  • Faculty Inquiry Groups
  • Formative Evaluation
fig resources
FIG resources


Faculty Inquiry Network