Digital teaching tips & tricks, ideas, examples, and general thoughts and reflections. Follow my Inquiry.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Spark-MIT - Teasing out the problem

We had our first Spark-MIT PLG day today at Spark HQ in Auckland. It was an awesome day sharing and discussing our problems and inquiries within the PLG group.

What was most beneficial however, was not having the chance to share our inquiries and talk about all the "amazing solutions" we think we are going to do this year... But actually being challenged by about what we thought our problem was. Forcing us to really try and understand the root of the problem we have identified, before we even consider possible solutions of how to solve it.

This got me gave me plenty to think about my own inquiry. I had jumped at the idea of fixing boys writing with cool and exciting writing experiences. However after being challenged, I realised I had no real evidence that this would work, nor that this was even the problem.

I was basing this hunch on the experiences in my class last year, where the boys seemingly did not enjoy writing as much as the girls. Yet when I reflect on my own affection to writing, and I can actually relate to the boys. I personally don't enjoy writing much at all, yet I can still write. Being able to get through my Honours degree suggests I can probably write quite well (or well enough), therefore quality writing may not be necessarily tied to how affectively one writes.

Therefore at this stage my inquiry is as follows;

When looking at National standards data our boys are underachieving when compared with our girls.

Evidence so far:
Last year in our school the boys in Year 6 scored 50 points lower on their e-asTTle writing test than the girls in the same cohort, with far fewer high achieving male outliers. The extended literacy programme was made up of majority female learners, with 23 girls and only 6 boys. From the cohort I will be teaching this year, our girls scored better against the national standard than our boys.

What I will be inquiring into:
  • What motivates boys to write.
  • What do boys need from me to support their writing.


  1. Hey Matt, I really like checking up on your blog - yours and Stef's are the only two I regularly check out, because you two inspire me with your reflections :D Love the presentation.

  2. You seem to be very clear about what the problem is. Have you thought about getting student voice? What do your boys say they are having trouble with?

    1. Thanks Juanita. I've actually just created a form for my whole team to complete with their classes. I'm hoping to see some kind of picture from that. Since this post though, I've also had a few conversations about writing with my learners (boys in particular) and have been told they like "peace and quiet"... how true this is we will soon see with my new 10 pairs of earmuffs I just bought on trademe...