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Teaching as inquiry

Teaching as Inquiry – a refresher

This article from the Education Gazette (March 2016) offers a refreshed look at teaching as inquiry. 

"To inquire effectively, we have to be open-minded, persistent, self-critical, reflective, and empathetic to the positions of others; we have to allow ourselves to be uncertain, to stand back and examine our own practice, and then use what we find as a basis for change."

A framework for transforming learning in schools: Innovation and the spiral of inquiry

by Helen Timperley, Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert

Educational Leaders TKI has been fortunate to receive permission to add the PDF of this paper to their website.

The paper argues for “a sea change in learning settings for young people”. Using a range of examples from New Zealand, Australia and Canada, it makes the case for new approaches to designing learning and teaching, and how we might achieve this. It also provides a model for long term PLD within schools. 

The paper focuses on a rethink of the cycle of inquiry (2007) to the spiral of inquiry. One of the important differences in this new approach is involving learners, their families, and communities in inquiries.

Curriculum Update on Teaching as Inquiry

Curriculum Update 12 on Teaching as Inquiry (August, 2011) summarises findings by the Education Review Office on how Teaching as Inquiry is being implemented in schools.  It outlines effective practices in schools that enable Teaching as Inquiry to flourish. Download the update below. Find all the latest Curriculum Updates here on the NZC site.

PDF icon. NZC Curriculum Update 12 (PDF 525 KB)

Leading inquiry at a teacher level: it’s all about mentorship

The Educational Leaders website gives details of an article from set: research information for teachers. The article is described by NZCER chief researcher Rosemary Hipkins as “a well-grounded, practice-informed look at conditions that support teachers to be learners when they inquire into their practice. The importance of strong leadership is emphasised, with a focus on 'walking the talk;' by being an active inquirer yourself”. Mike Fowler, an experienced senior secondary school leader, explores the conditions necessary for school-wide inquiry to flourish, and explains why mentorship needs to be valued and to operate at a range of levels within the school if effective inquiry is to be initiated and sustained.

Elements of Teaching Effectiveness

The Education Leaders website, in its teaching modules for first time principals, includes Module 2 – Elements of Teaching Effectiveness developed by Dr Graeme Aitken, Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland. In the module, on determining teacher effectiveness, Dr Aitken argues that teacher effectiveness can be determined by evaluating the extent to which teachers employ an inquiry approach, as opposed to evaluating on the basis of a "stylistic" or "outcomes" approach. The presentation provides a strong rationale for promoting a Teaching as Inquiry model in schools. The presentation includes a video and audio presentation, a background paper, a case study, and advice on facilitating a professional learning session.

"... inquiry is about challenging teachers’ thinking in ways that promotes their own learning as well as that of their students. For this to happen, teachers need to examine their taken-for-granted practices critically in the light of evidence about students’ learning (Timperley, Wilson, Barrar and Fung, 2007). They should also explore relevant research literature that can challenge their thinking and offer new teaching possibilities" (ERO, May 2011)