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Base your teaching on inquiry

The New Zealand Curriculum recognises that teaching is a cyclical process (page 35) in which teachers plan strategically, teach, and then modify their teaching to better achieve the desired learning.

Teaching as inquiry diagram from NZC.

Teachers need to be constantly asking themselves:

  • where their students are in their learning
  • how they can help them progress
  • how their teaching impacts on the students’ learning.

Use this information to decide:

  • What should I teach next? (a focusing inquiry)
  • How should I teach it? (a teaching inquiry)
  • What do I base those decisions on? (a learning inquiry)

The programme needs to have enough flexibility to ensure student interests can be accommodated.

Inquiry as a process – a possible approach

Planning – beginning

  • What do I know about each student’s prior knowledge, goals and aspirations, and learning strengths and needs?
  • What is important and worth spending time on?
  • What concepts, big ideas, and academic vocabulary need to be introduced or reinforced?
  • What contexts might help my students discover and explore these big ideas?

Delivery – during

  • How can I teach my next lesson most effectively?
  • What learning tasks and approaches are most likely to help my students to progress?
  • What formative assessment methods can I use to monitor student progress and understanding, for example, quizzes, short answer questions, source interpretation, or word lists?

Is there something I need to change about how I teach?

  • Do I engage students with the context or the material effectively?
  • Do I maintain dialogue with students and encourage dialogue between students throughout the learning process?
  • Do I recognise and accommodate the diverse learning needs of all my students, for example, by incorporating tikanga Māori into my teaching?
  • How can I involve families, community, and whānau in my teaching?

Reflection – after

  • What happened as a result of the teaching?
  • Did my students achieve the specified outcomes?
  • What are the implications for future teaching?

Application – next steps

  • What are the next steps for my students’ learning?
  • What concepts/big ideas need to be reinforced or introduced next?
  • What different contexts might my students need to discover and explore these big ideas?
  • How can I use student feedback to improve or modify planning, delivery, and outcomes for future learning?

Last updated July 22, 2010