The Inquiry Cycle
Understanding How It Works
  1. An inquiry cycle may operate on a whole school (macro), team or individual teacher (micro) level over either the short term or the long term.
  2. Professional learning takes place in each dimension (not just dimension 3).
  3. The effectiveness of the cycle depends on leaders adopting an inquiry approach (educational, cultural and symbolic leadership) and supporting teachers in the conduct of their inquiries (technical and human leadership) – see DOE (2007) The Developmental Learning Framework for School Leaders.
  4. Learning takes time; allow for developing understanding, risk-taking, trial and error and refinement.
  5. The dimensions are inextricably linked:
    • student learning needs are the focus and reference point throughout an inquiry
    • each dimension leads to the next; while there may be some overlap or shift in focus back to previous dimensions, what is important is that the full cycle is completed
    • specifically observe the difference an inquiry has made by making links between student learning needs (D1) and the impact on student learning of changed actions (D5) and between teacher learning needs (D2) and changed or changing classroom practice (D4).