Teaching as inquiry : form, purpose and application in New Zealand secondary schools
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Citation:Wood, C. (2015). Teaching as inquiry: Form, purpose and application in New Zealand secondary schools. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management, Unitec Institute of Technology.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/3277
Teaching as Inquiry is described as a component of effective pedagogy and is being used in New Zealand Secondary Schools as a means of professionally developing teachers and also as a process for teacher evaluation. This appears to be a difficult and complex undertaking for both teachers and leaders due to variation among New Zealand Secondary Schools as to their understanding and practice. This study therefore aimed to find out in what form, and for what purpose, New Zealand Secondary Schools implement Teaching as Inquiry, along with finding out the implications of its practice. A qualitative approach was taken to this study and involved two methods. Firstly, documentary analysis was used to gain a contextual background of Teaching as Inquiry in the school policy landscape. Secondly, interviews were carried out with teachers and middle and senior leaders to investigate the perceptions and thoughts of individuals from different levels of the secondary school hierarchy. The key findings revealed that there is variation within and between schools in how the model is interpreted and subsequently implemented. For example, differences occur in its perceived purpose, what it is applied to, how it is applied and to what depth. It is argued by the researcher that this variation is caused by a lack of understanding of the true intentions of the Teaching as Inquiry model. In addition, Teaching as inquiry has become linked to school performance management processes, a move which encounters problems to do with balancing the original intentions of Teaching as Inquiry such as professional freedom and openness with the demands of an outcomes driven appraisal system. It is the belief of the researcher that schools need take a step back and revisit the original intentions of the model and review its purpose within schools. School leaders need to examine how they currently link the Teaching as Inquiry model to appraisal and overall school improvement. This study suggests that schools need to make Teaching as Inquiry a more robust, valued and essential component of school, faculty and individual teacher self-review. This requires leaders to develop and support teachers through policies and processes to become users of the Teaching as Inquiry process in accordance with its original intention.