We all – staff and students – came out of that room buzzing with enthusiasm about how well the students had risen to the challenge, and feeling that they had achieved something special. This was absolutely about the Economics, but it was about so much more than that. I will certainly be recommending Spiderweb discussion as an Express tool to other colleagues. Some of the Economics teachers also suggested they might be considering integrating it (although perhaps in a smaller way) into some of the rest of their teaching over the year, which is the way Alexis Wiggins recommends using it (rather than as a one-off approach).
If I could do anything differently, I would have been more prepared for the start of the inquiry. Getting the articles together was a huge job, and I also had a lot of reading to do before I felt on top of the method. This meant that I only supplied the teachers with the rubric and videos about Spiderweb discussion partway through the inquiry, and some had already done their mini-discussion by then. I think it would have done a lot for student and teacher confidence levels mid-way through if I had had all the materials ready for the start of term. There was a limit to what I could manage in the time available, however, and if we run this inquiry again next year (or if I need to work with another department on Spiderweb discussion) there is now a lot of material already in place.
[Note: links to the resources we produced to support this inquiry to follow shortly]