Engaging in collaborative enquiry

We provide workshops, tools and resources with great detail about how to engage in Lesson Study. Lesson Study is one of a number of forms of collaborative enquiry and you will find more information there. The key principles of collaborative enquiry are below. You will notice they align with what research suggests makes effective professional development.

  • Collaborative – small groups of colleagues should work together to address a shared issue. It is not about knowledge being shared or transferred, but all colleagues reflecting, collaborating and improving their practice.
  • Pupil focussed – enquiry should focus on addressing a particular pupil need, or building on a pupil strength, addressing a pedagogical problem, rather than focussed on a new idea or tool with no planned impact.
  • Evaluated – enquiry should include some measures to evaluate your impact and reflect and refine your approach.
  • Sustained – collaborative enquiry should take place over time, with staff focussed on developing one issue over a sustained period of time, rather than trying to solve lots of things at the same time.

Blog, Sarah Coskeran: Making a change – taking new ideas into your classroom context

If you are thinking of setting up (or already running) your own T&L communities, you might find the following articles helpful for guidance and advice:

SecEd article -The potential of Teaching and Learning Communities – reflections and advice from a T&L coordinator

Blog – Upside Down R&D Communities – Stephen Tierney, Headteacher of St Mary’s Catholic College and Network member, shares how his school structures and funds their R&D communities

Creating and sustaining effective professional learning communities – slightly longer research into how schools are using T&L communities conducted by the Universities of Bristol, Bath and London, Institute of Education. Helpful questionnaires in the appendix.

Professional Learning Communities: source materials for school leaders and other leaders of professional learning – 11-page user guide to setting up T&L communities and thinking about your journey