Winks of Research: A webinar series to share school-based projects

The Networked School presents a series of webinars aimed at giving voice to teachers who are involved in participatory research projects. The first event featured an experimentation related to philosophical writing.

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The Networked School presents a series of webinars aimed at giving voice to teachers who are involved in participatory research projects. The first event featured an experimentation related to philosophical writing.

"The goal of the Research at a Glance webinars is really to allow practitioners to present the results of action research in which they have participated. It's an opportunity for professional development, while democratizing research," says Sophie Nadeau-Tremblay, coordinator of the resource teacher team for The Networked School (NSS).

Often, in research-related transfer sessions, it is the researchers who present the results. This time, she really wanted to allow teachers to speak in front of an audience. "And if it would make other teachers want to take part in participatory research, that would be a little extra," she says.

Writing and philosophy

During the first webinarSabrina Réthoré, teacher, and Olivier Blond-Rzewuski, researcher, presented a sequence aimed at developing writing around philosophical debates conducted in class at the 2nd and 3rd cycles of elementary school.

While philosophical practices in schools are often conducted orally, through large group discussions most of the time, the objective of the research was to develop a new practice leading to philosophical writing. Furthermore, since there are already many tasks leading to writing in the classroom, the research team wanted to develop a meaningful context (not to have students write for the sake of writing).

The implemented sequence takes place in 6 steps and can be spread out over two months:

  1. Interpretation of a problematic from a photo montage (ex. friendship, happiness, love, growing up);
  2. The realization of a flow chart with lexical field, followed by a moment of free writing on the chosen theme;
  3. Holding a class debate to share points of view;
  4. The idea storm to document the "essential ideas" to structure one's point of view;
  5. The writing of an essay (argumentative text);
  6. Rewriting as needed.

"Throughout the project, we had to find the balance between spontaneous and directed writing. Writing to think is not so natural. Students are used to writing fictional texts that take shape in their imagination. In this project, they had to write about their experiences, about how they feel," says Sabrina Réthoré. She points out that some were destabilized by the exercise, while others "revealed themselves.

For the project, students wrote their texts by hand, but they could also have done so on the computer. In addition, the project can be experienced by forming teams that can write collaboratively. This leads to a different dynamic and more in-depth discussions.

Upcoming webinars

Three more sessions are planned between now and the end of the school year. Simply register on the ERA website to participate. Anyone who is curious to learn about this participatory research can join the webinar. Materials used or developed during the project will be shared.

  • April 6: The Territories project has integrated Indigenous knowledge into the teaching of science, technology and the social sciences at the 1er and 2e cycles of primary school.
  • April 20: The voices of reading is a pedagogical approach to support reading fluency in the first cycle. 
  • May 25: Writing together provides writing strategies through a digital tool, while working collaboratively with students.

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About the Author

Martine Rioux
After studying public communication, Martine worked as a journalist for various publications, before pursuing her career as an interactive communications consultant at La Capitale, a financial group, then at Québec Numérique, an organization she took over as general manager before making the jump. as political advisor in the office of the Minister for Digital Government Transformation. Today she is the online Editor-in-Chief and Special Projects Manager at l'École branchée. Her dream: that everyone has access to technology and can use it as a tool for learning and opening up to the world.

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