#Deepen Teacher Inquiry - Hack No 13

It's Inquiry - But Not As You Know It.

I have a little secret to share with you…..

I was hesitant to use the word Inquiry in the title of my book Deepen Teacher Inquiry because the book is not about "Inquiry" as we know it. It's different. However, it needed a title which would resonate with and be understood by teachers.

Deepen Teacher Inquiry was written to transform the way we approach and carry out reflective practise in schools. In effect, it was written in response to the ineffectiveness of traditional appraisal and the overwhelm teachers are experiencing due to the systems and structures that schools have in place around Teaching as Inquiry. The book is a resource and a tool to aid in transforming the way we do appraisal, to make it learning-centred and growth centred. If appraisal is not approached with this mindset, then it's a waste of teacher’s valuable time. It appears that the Teachers Council may have caught up with this thinking.

Deepen Teacher Inquiry is about connecting with our students thinking processes and what is required to accelerate their learning. It is about design - designing learning strategies and measuring what matters. Teachers are the map makers and the journey takers — the designers and the participants of learning.

Let’s say we rework the title - Deepen Teacher Inquiry - to something like Learning Centred Design Process. The result remains the same - an opportunity to look deeply into student learning and get to action quickly while measuring what matters. After all, that is what this process is.
At its core, it is a human-centred design process, with the language of Teaching as Inquiry and the Spirals of Inquiry (Halbert, J., & Kaser, L.) blended in - I like to use the word smooshed together - to create a new generation of
Ideate | Prototype | Test | Refine.

In practice, we are:
REVIEWING what is happening and what is needed - EXPLORING.
ACTIONING what is important and measuring what matters around our students learning processes - EXTRACTING.
IDENTIFYING what has happened and what happens next - EVALUATING.

This pulls from the Motion Leadership concept created by Michael Fullan (2009). A process of Ready | Fire | Aim. Again, a whole lot of good smooshed together to make great. And that is what designers do.

No compliance practice happening here. The Deepen Teacher Inquiry Process has been labelled pragmatic by one avid supporter, and for that, I am eternally grateful! That is how it should be - dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.

So, while it may appear that appraisal is on its way out, and the role of Inquiry hangs in the balance, it is vital we remain reflective. The Deepen Teacher Inquiry process creates the scaffold for us to be deeply reflective in and of our practice.

As reflective practitioners, Inquiry is a constant process. With the Deepen Teacher Inquiry scaffold, however, we can gain access to tools which enable us to look deeper into the learning of our students. It is about picking one aspect about our students learning that is "keeping us up at night". We can dive down into this and be creative in our design of a solution while being energised by the evidencing of the impacts of our learning design.

See below for comments from two teachers we have worked about the Deepen Teacher Inquiry – or Learning Centred Design - process.

"The Deepen Teacher Inquiry process made me reassess my actions in the classroom. Now, I consider why a change in strategy is necessary, what I am going to do to make the change, why that idea would possibly work and importantly, monitor the process. My eyes have been opened to opportunities around changing how I teach, and I have a far greater understanding of the many different ways in which students learn."

In the recent Teachers Council communique, it was stated;
Right now, nothing has changed. However, it is timely to have another look at your organisation's appraisal process to see if it has become overly compliance-focused.

Are you wondering what now?
I am very happy to have a chat about your current appraisal system or how Inquiry is structured and placed within your schools' learning system.

This is an excellent opportunity to take an amazing process and unlock its potential. As Inquiry moves out of compliance and into something new, choices are opened up around how to build and support reflective practice in your school. The process is open for negotiation and it’s over to schools to pick it up and run with it. When the reflective process is scaffolded in the right way with the right culture wrapped around it, only great things can happen.

Nga Mihi



Measure What Matters Part 2

Inquiry and How it Will Change Your Practice

An Inquiry is your formula for success. Involving deep reflections and responsiveness to student learning needs, gathering and analysis of data with an Inquiry lens will energise you to change your practice. Rather than relying on gut feelings or wondering what impact you may have had, you will KNOW, through measured outcomes, that you have enhanced your students learning.

A rigorous and well-planned Inquiry gathers information and provides feedback from which you are able to draw valid conclusions. The results will energise you to continue making changes to your teaching strategies which will lead to improved learning outcomes across the classroom.