#Deepen Teacher Inquiry - Hack No 5b

What Makes An Inquiry?

How do I know its a new Inquiry?

Earlier this week, we looked at how to identify a new Inquiry and tabled Long-Term Inquires vs Multiple Mini Inquiries.


Long - Term Inquiry

Broad Question
Reactive Strategies
Floppy evidencing
Multiple focus points at a time
"I'm doing this, and this, and this in the hopes that it helps..."


Multiple Mini Inquiries

Crisp Question
Proactive Strategies
Sharp evidencing
Single Focus
"I'm doing this - measuring its impact - before I try that..."

I am a firm believer in if you want different results you need to do something different. You cannot just do what you have always done - even if you do it harder or faster. You will always get the same results.

Here is how that idea fits with you Inquiry question.

Making the connection to your Inquiry question

Your question can help focus and ground your Inquiry provided it is specific and to the point. A specific question for a teacher Inquiry consists of what strategy you are going to use and how you are going to measure the impact of that strategy. There is a simple strategy - evidence - process to follow.

For example: 

  • How does the use of SOLO rubrics - strategy -  to develop success criteria in year 12 chemistry - sample - impact on student learning - evidencing -?

  • Will a repeated hands-on activity in groups/or pairs - strategy - improve student understanding and use of art terminology - evidencing - in Level one art - sample - compositional analysis?

  • Does the use of unpacked learning outcomes - strategy - with Year 10 Science students - sample -, have a more significant impact on the results of reflection and review of exam questions - evidencing -?

Designing a specific question for a teacher Inquiry allows you to sharpen your inquiry sword and drill down rather than going wide.

The Exploring: Questioning phase is where teachers explore what they know to identify the learning gaps of their students. They are then able to ideate what’s sticking to dig deeper into what’s happening with the learning. This creates clarity to aid in coming up with a specific, sharp, Inquiry question.

An Inquiry should be about the impact of one strategic change made by the teacher and the outcome of that change on students learning. I have found that without a carefully crafted Inquiry question, there is a likelihood of the Inquiry exploding outwards to epic-sized projects that put teachers into overwhelm.

2.0 Deepen Teacher Inquiry BOOK 2 -maps and models.jpg

As a general rule; whenever you change one of the three things - strategising, evidencing or sample - it can be technically thought of as a new Inquiry. I often find teachers are in a state of overwhelm about their Inquiry. It may have been framed up as a sizable project that runs across many, many months and they don’t know where to start.

So here is one way to unpack teacher Inquiry. Reflection in action and Inquiry is something we do all the time in response to the learning needs of our students.  In the case of an Inquiry, our actions become more deliberate and connected to the learning of our students because we have wondered and questioned with intention and made decisions about strategy and evidence that will enable us to know the impact more deeply than a quick formative assessment ever could.

When you change one of these three things - strategising, evidencing or sample - you are altering one of the main variables, making it a different test than what you began with. At this point, it should be considered a new Inquiry.

Go Well.....