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Inquiry Symphony Take One

Intial Inquiry Question

How do we motivate juniors in an Early College Initiative (ECI) high school to take academic risk?

What Guided Our Steps

While attending the TCICP 2015 inquiry-to-action-team and having numerous discussions with colleagues, I recognized our students and parents may have developed a mindset that contributed to a history of struggling academically. We used a mindset questionnaire prepared by the NYC Department of Education to evaluate our students' mindsets. From there, we planned to initiate plan of action that would address our students' concerns. 
I was also introduced to Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential and had a conviction that shifted my own mindset and prompted reflection on how I played a role in shaping my students' mindsets towards the future.

What Worked and What Didn't: Working the Choreography 

All 17 students in the junior class was asked to complete the questionnaire. My co-teacher was the one who found the test and facilitated the process during class time as a Do Now activityWhile completing the questionnaire, our students found it difficult to understand what the questions were asking. They vocalized this concern, but we insisted they proceed. After analysing their responses, we recognized how their concern had skewed the results. We discussed a plan to get more reliable responses from them.
Regardless, our introduction on mindsets was worthwhile. Students were vocal about how their academic lifestyle had been influenced by home and past experiences. It was then we had to wholeheartedly acknowledge and adapt a working knowledge on how mindset theory could explain the culture of academic fear in our classroom.