#Deepen Teacher Inquiry - Hack No 7

What Makes An Inquiry?

The cogs that make a new inquiry

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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 find - often - teachers in overwhelm about their inquiry as it has 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 so all the time in response to the learning needs of our students.  In the case of an inquiry, our actions become more intentioned 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.
So when you change one of these three things - you can think of it as a different inquiry. The reason why it is considered another inquiry is that you are changing one of your main variables when you change the strategy, evidencing or sample, making it a different test than what you started with.


Why Strategising?
 

Strategising is about a specially designed learning or teaching strategy you have designed for a class or set of learners. Often a change in strategy will need a whole new set of measures. If you don’t make new measures when you change strategy, you will not be able to know which strategy has had the most significant impact.
Whenever you make changes to your strategy, that makes it a different inquiry from the initial inquiry.

Example

For one inquiry a teacher decides to use sequencing activities to help students make a connection in their knowledge to build understanding. She then decides that the sequencing activity is not quite achieving the impacts she was hoping for, so she creates a SOLO hexagon activity for the students to use.
This is a subtle change in strategy. However, the difference in tack is a change in the inquiry. It is well worth taking measures on the impact of the initial strategy and drawing conclusions as to its effectiveness and launching a second inquiry into the impact of the hexagon strategy.
If we don’t frame the new strategy up as a different inquiry, we would not be able to tell which of the two strategies had the most significant impact. 


Sample


When you change the sample. The focus group of students for your inquiry, it is a new inquiry. Unless you take measures of the whole class and not just your priority learners, you will need to structure the new sample as a new inquiry. However, if you collect evidence for all learners in a class as part of an inquiry, intending to focus on a critical sample, you can then go into looking at the evidence concerning your sample in comparison to other students in the class. 
Make note the only way you can change sample and keep within the one inquiry is if you make have baseline measures for all students.

Obviously, if you were to change the class - that is a new inquiry even if you evidencing and strategising remains the same.
If this is the case, you can then compare inquiry one outcomes with inquiry two outcomes.

Example
 

One inquiry might be about the impact of strategy A with the priority learners in my Year 10 class. A second inquiry might be about the impact of strategy A with all students in my Year 9 class.
In this case, these are definitely two different inquiries even though the strategy and evidencing are the same. The sample is different.


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.

Go Well.....

Tabitha Leonard