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STRIDES TOWARDS EXCELLENCE


Figure 1.3


Investigative Study Groups


Using Investigative Study Groups to Support Teacher-Directed Collaborative Conversations Another method of engaging teachers in collaborative conversations about their instructional practices to deepen their knowledge of instruction is to implement investigative study groups. This method supports the position that collaboration, observation, experimentation, and reflection are important behaviors for professional growth. For example, teachers may seek opportunities to use their critical thinking skills to address concerns about student underachievement. In these groups, teachers embrace the challenge of disaggregating data, researching potential solutions, finding appropriate instructional resources, and designing a plan of action. Investigative study groups can be used to drive conversations about instruction and they can provide a structured process for implementing teacher-directed collaborative conversations. Examples of investigative study groups include evaluation, research, multimedia, and instructional resources (See Figure 1.3). Teachers participate in groups according to their interests and levels of experience, as each group will function to find solutions to data-driven problems of instructional practice. With the assistance of the instructional resources and integrative technology groups, the research group designs a corrective action plan and presents a proposed solution for implementation in their grade or subject level teams. Because they are the ones driving the discussion and action of the group, teacher engagement at this level is more meaningful than if they were passive receivers of new knowledge.


Spring 2011 Vol. 8 No. 1 Virginia Educational Leadership 33


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