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Teaching as inquiry

Teaching as inquiry (TAI) is a process that encourages teachers to change their practice in order to enhance success for students. It involves inquiry into the impact of teaching and the teaching–learning relationship. TAI is "not a ‘project’, an ‘initiative’ or an ‘innovation’ but a professional way of being." (Timperley et.al, pg. 22)

This section provides ideas, resources, and tools to support your inquiry journeys, as well as school stories to inspire and promote discussion.

Evaluating change

For this phase of the inquiry, ask yourself:

  • Did my intervention improve student achievement?
  • What else happened that I didn’t expect?
  • Does the result give me the confidence to make the change permanent?

Ways to evaluate

At the end of your inquiry, it is vital to evaluate your change, and reflect on its effectiveness. This reflection and evaluative data gathering needs to be completed as close to the inquiry as possible, to get the most accurate results.

As you will find from your evaluation, there is no guarantee that your changed practice has solved everything. Sometimes what you have tried may need to be given more time, or may need more adjustment. It is crucial for your students that when you go through the process of teaching as inquiry you allow yourself to learn from what is happening in the classroom, and not just take those results that confirm existing thinking. 

As you evaluate, you could:

  • repeat original data gathering to compare results
  • look for patterns, wonderings and "wow" moments in reflective journals or logs
  • compare your data with research data
  • ask a colleague to observe your students in class.

Evaluation tool

TAI evaluation tool.

from: Celebrating transformational shifts in teacher practice and student achievement in literacy

Where to now?

The inquiry process doesn't need to stop because change has occurred, or the school year has ended. Time to look at another aspect of student engagement, collect evidence about achievement, and inquire again. 

Move into a new phase of inquiry by:

  • identifying new questions, concerns and issues to explore
  • suggesting possible new outcomes for student learning
  • writing an action plan for your next inquiry
  • reflecting on the process with your students.

Published on: 18 Dec 2020


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