Teaching as inquiry : perspectives, practices and perceptions of success in New Zealand primary schools
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Citation:Clarke, C. (2017). Teaching as inquiry: Perspectives, practices and perceptions of success in New Zealand primary schools (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4683
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4683
RESEARCH QUESTIONS: 1. What are leaders’ and teachers’ perspectives of teaching as inquiry? 2. How is teaching as inquiry practised in New Zealand primary schools? 3. What are leaders’ and teachers’ perceptions of successful teaching as inquiry practice? ABSTRACT: Teaching as inquiry has been included in the New Zealand Curriculum as a model of effective pedagogy for more than ten years, however, its introduction to primary schools has been gradual. The implementation of teaching as inquiry has not been straightforward as it requires a pedagogical shift in the mindset of educators. This study, therefore, is aimed to explore leaders’ and teachers’ perspectives of teaching as inquiry, investigate its practice in primary schools and examine leaders’ and teachers’ perceptions of successful teaching as inquiry practice. In seeking to understand the ideas and experiences from educators around teaching as inquiry I adopted an interpretive epistemological approach for my research. Using the qualitative method of focus group interviews allowed me to collect a substantial amount of detailed subjective data. A total of six focus group interviews were conducted with groups of leaders and groups of teachers at three Auckland primary schools. The key findings from this study revealed that the school context largely determined the extent to which teaching as inquiry was understood, embraced and practised by educators. The findings also exposed that different teaching as inquiry frameworks were adopted, that it is linked performance appraisal systems and that its practice is continuing to develop in schools including a more recent shift towards collaborative inquiry. This study highlights that in some contexts teaching as inquiry practice is narrowed and superficial due to various pressures and constraints, and does not contribute to improved student learning outcomes in a significant way. While they are not specifically referred to in the New Zealand Curriculum, it is the belief of the researcher that schools should engage with the underpinning core attitudes of open-mindedness, fallibility and persistence. This would reconnect educators with the purpose of teaching as inquiry, allow them to improve their understandings, and develop an organisational learning culture with authentic and relevant practices that serve leaders, teachers and learners within their educational context.