Inquiry Learning

At Panama Road School we take learning seriously!

We keep the learning as clear and achievable as possible, as well as challenging and fun.

We are all aware that the world that we live in is changing so rapidly. Learning is no longer just about learning facts; it is about learning how to learn.

"Learning how to learn" requires the learner the think about the strengths and weaknesses of their own thinking when they are learning and to make thoughtful decisions on what to do next.

Students throughout the school use SOLO levels, rubrics and frameworks to answer the following questions:

* What am I learning?

* How is it going?

* What do I do next?

SOLO is a model of learning (Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes) which provides a simple, reliable and robust model for three levels of understanding - surface, deep and conceptual (Biggs and Collis 1982). This provides students with a framework and explains their level of knowledge.

At the prestructural level of understanding (Whakarangaranga), the student needs help to start. The next two levels, uni-structural and multi-structural are associated with bringing in information (surface understanding). At the uni-structural level (Rangaranga Takitahi), one aspect of the task is picked up, and student understanding is disconnected and limited. The jump to the multi-structural level is quantitative. At the multistuctural level (Rangaranga Maha), several aspects of the task are known but their relationships to each other and the whole are missed. The progression to relational and extended abstract outcomes is qualitative. At the relational level (Whanaungatanga), the aspects are linked and integrated, and contribute to a deeper and more coherent understanding of the whole. At the extended abstract level (Waitara Whanui), the new understanding at the relational level is re-thought at another conceptual level, looked at in a new way, and used as the basis for prediction, generalisation, reflection, or creation of new understanding (Hook and Mills 2011).

Our year is divided into four terms. We start the first six weeks of each year with our Ako unit.

The concept of 'Ako' means both to teach and to learn. It recognises the knowledge that both teachers and learners bring to learning interactions, and it acknowledges the way that new knowledge and understandings can grow out of shared learning experiences. At the beginning of the year, during our Ako unit, we take time to build relationships with students and their families and set up the routines needed for the year together. The more we get to know each other, the more we can help and support one another to be the best we can be.

After our Ako unit, we start preparing for our next Inquiry of learning. Students start doing this by finding out what they already know about the topic and then start to ask questions that they are interested in finding out the answers for.

This part of the inquiry lasts for the last few weeks of the term, so students are able to go on holiday already thinking about their next inquiry.

Once they return for the beginning of the next term, they are ready to launch into learning and applying their new knowledge. After another 7 weeks of learning, we share our new learning with our families and wider community at our Celebration of Learning.