An Investigation of the practice and support of Teaching as Inquiry in a New Zealand secondary school

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Sandhu, Manmeet
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Educational Leadership and Management
Unitec Institute of Technology
Howse, Jo
Cardno, Carol
Masters Dissertation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
secondary schools
teaching as inquiry
secondary teachers
professional learning and development (PLD)
Sandhu, M. (2019). An Investigation of the practice and support of Teaching as Inquiry in a New Zealand secondary school (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management).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
Teaching as Inquiry (TAI) is being used in New Zealand secondary schools as a means for the professionally development of teachers and also as a process for teachers to work towards school’s annual goals. TAI is a challenge for senior leaders to implement in schools due to teacher workload, teacher and leader unfamiliarity with the inquiry process and the reluctance to use this practice for professional growth. This issue has become more problematic by linking TAI with the performance appraisal. This has shifted the original focus of TAI to addressing the professional development needs of teachers to using it as a tool for measuring teachers’ effectiveness. This study has investigated the practice and support of TAI in a New Zealand secondary school. A qualitative approach was taken to this study and involved one method. Semistructured interviews were carried out with teachers and senior leaders to investigate their perception of implementation and support provided for TAI. The key findings revealed one of the important aspects that is critical to carry out successful TAI is time. On one hand teachers and senior leadership identify that having regular weekly time provides an opportunity to systematically plan and implement TAI. On the other hand, given this time the expectations of senior leadership for teachers to carry out at least two or three inquiry cycles per year, resulted in inadequate time allocated as each cycle was rushed to ensure completion. This may or may not help teachers to achieve the desired Outcomes in terms of their professional learning, and sustaining the change in their practice. Another factor that has emerged in this study is the significant role of Professional Learning Group facilitator who manages and supports the teachers’ during the TAI cycle. The findings of this study have highlighted that the facilitators require formal training to successfully manage and lead the group so that the outcomes of TAI are effective. These findings indicate that during the TAI cycle, it is important that the senior leadership ensures effective use of time by all the members of the PLG towards professional learning, and arranges ongoing training and support for the PLG facilitators.
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