I am taking one Master’s course this fall. I have been busy learning how to deliver two new curricula, preparing Conference and Professional Development presentations, co-moderating a twitter chat, and cheering for the Blue Bombers and Blue Jays. To focus on more than one course at this time would have been disastrous. That said – I have been very engaged in this program thus far, and I am thoroughly enjoying the readings and discussions related to the Self-Regulated Inquiry & Learning course.

I was asked to set a professional learning goal related to a professional inquiry. I chose to explore the links between collaboration and the development of higher order thinking in an inquiry-based classroom.

I need to do a better job of facilitating the development of higher order thinking through activities and experiences which allow students to collaborate with others. I tend to focus on individual development mainly through individualized tasks and activities. As I make changes to my teaching program, I want to research and implement best practices – so this becomes my professional inquiry task.

Steven Johnson talks about clumsy collaboration when developing great ideas in “Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation.” Higher order ideas can be developed through collaboration – I am curious, too, about the development of higher order thinking through collaboration. Does the development of higher order ideas imply higher order thinking? Not necessarily – but are there links? Likely.

Do we have collaborative learning environments (schools, online discussion boards for course work, blogs, etc) only to access and create new ideas? No – we’re creating better thinkers as well – at least I hope we are. It’s time to research the links and make this a focus on my professional inquiry and development.

What sets this line of inquiry apart, for me, is the application of this question in an inquiry-based classroom. So many of the inquiries I ask my students to undertake are individualized – finding room and purpose for authentic collaboration is going to drive my research. Your thoughts, comments, and suggestions are always welcome!

I’ll be keeping a record of this inquiry through blog posts as well as on the “Professional Inquiry” page of this website.