Our Perspectives

The Centre for Educational Leadership Perspectives are opinion pieces that highlight current and topical educational leadership matters. Our professional experts write candidly about their views and offer a fresh perspective on today’s educational leadership challenges. Occasionally, other faculty members contribute.

Subscribe now to Our Perspectives

Inquiry - Benefit the learners and stop burdening the adults by planning efficiently for 2019

Posted on
Wednesday, August 8, 2018 - 09:16

Are you whirling around in an endless mess of ‘inquiry’ at CoL level or at school level or at both levels?  Do you struggle to get a coherent, clear annual plan that is useful for guiding action?

Last night I had the pleasure of being part of a panel discussing networking and inevitably, the nature of inquiry came up.  I have written about this topic on numerous occasions and it is complicated by the different notions people hold in their heads when the word ‘inquiry’ is used. 

In short, my view is that inquiry is part of the real, everyday business of schools (or networks of schools) and it precedes TAKING DIFFERENT ACTION, and CHECKING that the action made a difference – in the short term.  It is also COLLECTIVE in nature and is part of the natural cycle of problem identification, inquiring into causes of the problems (and that is not a research project; it may entail interviewing some students or parents or teachers as well as examining patterns in quantitative data) and putting in place a range of COHERENT, COLLECTIVE strategies (i.e., taking ACTION) to address the causes of the problem.  Most of all it requires a regular checking system – is what we are doing making any difference?
What it is not is an endless cycle of inquiring, inquiring, inquiring, with little or no improvement – which I think is happening in a lot of cases.  Applying a cycle of ‘inquiring, learning and taking action’ is a mindset and that mindset is captured in your annual plan. 

A good plan captures with clarity the key areas of improvement you need to work on and captures that cycle on paper – in one page per problem/goal preferably!

If you want to learn to create a simple plan for 2019 and clarify your thinking about inquiry, come to our workshop on Tuesday 28 August.  Send your plan for this year in to me for critique before that day and lets simplify the way we work and make it more efficient so it benefits the learners and stops burdening the adults.  Lets keep it simple and make our actions worth doing.