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Appraisal and Teaching as Inquiry

In recent years, many schools have focused their professional learning on the Teaching as Inquiry process outlined in The New Zealand Curriculum. The Teaching as Inquiry process provides a deliberate model by which teachers can inquire into their practice and find, measure, and document a pathway for improvement. The model is cyclic and, when used effectively, involves teachers in constantly evaluating their practice based on evidence and seeking improvement.

There is an obvious, yet perhaps overlooked, link between the teaching as inquiry process, which many teachers are using to focus on improvement, and schools’ appraisal processes. The Teaching as Inquiry process provides an ideal vehicle to support the developmental purpose of the teacher appraisal process. Moreover, the process and its documentation can be used to provide evidence of accountability against the Registered Teacher Criteria. This means that the two purposes of appraisal – development and accountability – can be achieved through the teaching as inquiry process when it is carried out with the intent and the thoroughness described in The New Zealand Curriculum.

Through linking appraisal and Teaching as Inquiry, schools can:

  • provide teachers with opportunities to assess and develop their capabilities
  • show that standards are being met
  • allow the summative judgements to be made against the Registered Teacher Criteria.

Useful readings

The documents and links below provide some examples of ways that schools can look at the conjunction between appraisal and Teaching as Inquiry. 

Education Council – Professional Growth Cycle

The Education Council, formerly the New Zealand Teachers Council, ran a two-year project to improve appraisal practices in ECE, schools, and kura aiming to strengthen the relationship between appraisal and professional learning and development for all teachers.

Replacing performance appraisal for teachers, newly developed Professional Growth Cycle focuses on how teachers use and meet the Code Ngā Tikanga Matatika & Standards l Ngā Paerewa in their everyday practice. A Professional Growth Cycle is intended to capitalise on the authentic learning collaborations between teachers that are likely to be in place already.


PPTA Teacher appraisal guidelines – To improve, not just to prove

These guidelines are for use when a school is designing, implementing, or reviewing its teacher appraisal system.


Teacher inquiry, appraisal, and portfolios for staff

Nick Rate, school principal and e-learning guru, shares his school’s approach to teaching as inquiry and its relationship to the school’s performance management process, using digital portfolios.


Leading inquiry at a teacher level

This article by Mike Fowler was published in Set 3, 2012, and talks about the critical role that middle-level leaders in schools have as they work with the Teaching as Inquiry process.