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Teacher Inquiry Conferences

The State College Area School District (SCASD)-Pennsylvania State University (PSU)
Professional Development School Teacher Inquiry Conference

April 25, 2020
State College Area High School

Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Inquiry conference has been cancelled.

Inquiring professionals seek data-based change by posing questions or “wonderings,” collecting data to gain insights into their wonderings, analyzing the data along with reading relevant literature, making changes in practice based on new understandings developed during inquiry, evaluating those changes, and sharing findings with others. A PDS culture supports and celebrates the engagement of teachers and other PDS professionals in constructing knowledge through intentional, systematic, inquiry and using that knowledge to continually reform, refine, and change the practice of teaching. Inquiry has been a major focus of the Penn State-State College Area School District Elementary PDS Partnership that has grown and flourished, as evidenced by the impact on teaching and learning visible at the Teacher Inquiry Conferences held each year and by data collected during our program evaluation efforts.

The initial inquiry conference took place on May 1, 1999 at Ferguson Township Elementary School and featured 14 presentations by 13 PDS elementary interns and one mentor teacher. Within a year the conference had grown significantly to feature 33 presentations by 26 interns and 15 mentors. In 2002 the elementary PDS and secondary English PDS joined together for the first joint inquiry conference at Mount Nittany Middle School. Today’s 16th Annual Inquiry Conference features more than 80 presentations by preservice teacher candidates in elementary education, middle level education, secondary English and world languages.  In addition those attending the conference will have an opportunity to attend a “Posters and Pastries” session during which more than 25 posters and roundtable sessions will feature teacher inquiries from veteran teachers from the State College Area School District, elementary and secondary English PDS alumni who are now teaching in a variety of contexts, and professional development associates who serve as faculty in the PDS program.

Our goal is to continue to increase the size, scope and impact of this annual event in order to foster rich, intellectually engaging dialogue about classroom teaching and classroom-based research that can have a dramatic impact on how schools, teachers and teacher education are viewed. We invite you to join us in this effort.

Abstracts and Papers