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Teaching as Inquiry – readings and links


We are preparing to close this site soon as this content has now moved to Tāhūrangi.

Tāhūrangi is the new online curriculum hub for Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education.


For schools and teachers wanting to find out more about teaching as inquiry, there is a wide range of information and resources available on TKI and associated sites. Below is a selection of useful links.

Teaching as Inquiry on The New Zealand Curriculum Online

Here you will find ideas, resources, and tools to support your inquiry journey, as well as school stories to help provide inspiration and promote discussion. The resources are presented in a way that will suit you if you are new to the inquiry process, or if you have experienced it before. You can look at what is most relevant to you, revisit for more information, and be challenged by new ideas.


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

This paper by Helen Timperley, Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert 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. 


Elements of Teaching Effectiveness - using an inquiry approach to teaching and learning

The Education Leaders website, in its teaching modules for first time principals, includes a module 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.


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.


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. View past Curriculum Updates.

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


Teaching as Inquiry – a refresher article from the Education Gazette

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."

"Genuine inquiry needs space to take risks, make mistakes and try again – and again." Timperley, Kaser, and Halbert, 2014.