Aboriginal Inquiry: Lifting All Learners

An Impact Assessment of the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN)

5.7 The role of conceptual/big picture thinking

A caution among some who examine inquiry-based learning is that the specificity of the inquiry can focus on the particularity of a case or situation or reinforce folk theories (personal learning theories based in beliefs) about why certain interventions work or fail. In other words, a focus on the singular case may preclude consideration of how larger contexts or ideas might inform teacher and student learning.
Yet an examination of the experiences of the AESN members at Conrad school illustrate they have engaged in a matrix of learning experiences that focus closely on their specific inquiry question supplemented by regional or local discussions with other teachers in the wider district AES Network , but that they also seek out other types of professional learning opportunities related to their inquiry. For example, one teacher described attendance at a provincial conference on literacy development; another described how they were working with professionals in their Aboriginal Education department who supported their learning more about culturally responsive pedagogy; a third member described attending provincial symposiums where big ideas about teaching and learning were discussed. This “to-ing and fro-ing” between the micro context of inquiry and the macro context which informs the inquiry seems an important observation for those organizations who seek to deepen teachers’ professional learning