Thursday, 6 September 2012

When a unit doesn't go so well...

In over 10 years of teaching through inquiry in PYP schools and at my current school in a team of inquiry trained teachers, I have never had such a lack of questions/wonderings....

I am asking myself...

  • Is it because we have so many other things we need to do at the start of the year and the inquiry took second place which meant there was not quality time?
  • Is it because we have so few suitable resources?
  • Is it because my class is low on inquiry skills because this is so new to them?
  • Is it because I am expecting too much?
  • Is it because I have not scaffolded enough?
  • Is it because we allocated 3 weeks and it's not long enough?
  • Is it because the unit has too difficult a concept?
  • Is it because half my team is at another campus and we last met to discuss and plan this unit last April?
  • Is it because changes cannot be made with out both campus teams deciding together so we end up not discussing them because it's too hard?
  • Is it because I still feel a bit fuzzy through lack of in depth planning meetings?
  • Is it because that April planning meeting had too many people? And some people weren't actually teaching the unit?
  • Is it because in my heart of hearts I suspected almost all of these problems would emerge and I am feeling frustrated with myself that I did not speak up more at the planning stage.... didn't like to put a damper on the excitement.... And what does that say about our large cross-campus team and the essential agreements of being clear, honest, speaking your mind, etc., etc.................)

I am asking myself these questions as I reflect on how things are going with 1 day to go. I will also be taking my questions to my next team meeting (just our campus). From chats in staffroom or in corridor, I know I am not alone in feeling that the unit has not gone as well as we'd liked.

The next unit is waiting in the wings. I know from 4 years of this study that it will be engaging and challenging and all the things a UOI should be.

I wish I felt better about this new unit...... I hope that we will make the time necessary to talk about what worked and what didn't and what to recommend for next year while it is all still fresh!


  1. Hi Lindy

    Great questions to raise about this experience for your team. We don't do enough of this kind of analysis. I look forward to hearing more. Large planning teams do pose challenges for connecting inquiries to the immediate needs and responses of students - and this is the aspect we can never predict until we are IN the unit!

  2. Kath that's very true! Even when a unit goes well, we don't spend quality time looking at what went well and why it went well. Always trying to get the next one started!