CGS Professional Development Blog
Inquiry at CGS
On the 18th of February, Ms. Jenelee Jones, Ms. Kim Larson, Ms. Shauna Pascoe, Mr. Richard Shewry and Mr. Oliver Fisher journeyed north to Burman University in Lacombe, Alberta to present on inquiry based learning. At the request of the Burman University Education Department, this team of educators put together a presentation that focused on the pedagogy and practice of CGS teachers as they relate to teaching and learning in an inquiry based school. Specifically, the team provided context for the philosophical beliefs of CGS around inquiry as well as a practical look at what inquiry looks like in the everyday life of the grade 8 students and teachers:
This is a story of our teaching team’s journey toward creating experiences and spaces that empower students to embrace the continuous and connected nature of learning. Our work questions the role of “school” as a self–contained center where students come to acquire knowledge. Within the current structure of the education system, we are challenging the traditional boundaries of learning in order to engage our students in authentic, engaging learning opportunities. Our students are beginning to see the connections between and outside of their school experiences and how they are empowered to be engaged learners in all aspects of their world.
This past November, I had an opportunity to visit William Aberhart High School to observe the teachers and students in the music program. Music is thriving at this school under the leadership of Kevin Willms, Nathan Gingrich, and Monique Oliver. Like many high schools, they offer courses in concert band, jazz and choral, but more recently, they have also added a strings program to their slate of musical offerings. The amount of choice available to students has made for a high enrolment in their program. In addition to this, they also have a strong funding model that allows them to hire clinicians to come in on a weekly basis to work with students, therefore, augmenting the instruction that students receive in music. This, coupled with masterful teaching, results in one of the top music programs in Western Canada.
Along with learning the structure and composition of the music program at William Aberhart High School, I was also able to take away a clearer understanding of what students need to know coming out a junior high/middle school to find success in a high school program. I am happy to report that our school is doing many of the right things in setting up our students for success in music. It was noted from the teachers there that they love having students from CGS come into their music program because our school has strived for the past decade to open as many musical doors for our students as possible. Through our ensembles, classes, tours and performances, all of this has helped students along their musical journey.
For me, the questions that came about from my day were:
1. How do we continue to sustain the things that are working well in our music program?
2. As our school changes, how does the music program continue to stay relevant at the school?
3. What roles can families have in creating a strong music program?
Music Director, Lakeview Campus