Spiral of inquiry: leaders leading learning

Spiral of inquiry.

This resource promotes the leadership of collaborative, evidence-informed inquiry in ways that keep learners’ progress at the centre. It provides field-tested tools and ideas to support leaders and teachers to apply spirals of inquiry, learning and action with their learners.

What is in this resource

This resource will help you to get started with the spiral of inquiry, learning and action, keep going and check whether you are making a difference.

For each phase of the spiral, it describes:

  •  the inquiry question central to the phase
  •  the essence of the mindset
  •  the number 1 rule –  or most important aspect
  •  leadership challenges
  •  practical tools
  •  stories from the field.

Navigating this resource

There are three ways to navigate through this resource:

  • the left-hand menu
  • the table of contents on the right-hand side of pages
  • links at the end of pages.

The spiral of inquiry, learning and action

Linda Kaser talks about the phases of the spiral and how they work in practice. 

Transcript

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Acknowledgements

This resource was developed by Helen Timperley with the Ministry of Education. It builds on:

  • the work of the Professional Learning and Development (PLD) advisory group
  • the work of the OECD on innovative learning environments
  • the work of Helen Timperley, Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert on the spiral of inquiry, learning and action.

The Professional Learning and Development Advisory Group (NZ)

In 2014 the Professional Learning and Development Advisory Group recommended that the main priority for centrally funded professional learning and development should be leadership of systematic evidence-informed inquiry and the organising framework should be an adapted version of the spiral of inquiry, learning and action.

Report of the Professional Learning and Development Advisory Group – Ministry of Education website

Innovative learning environments (OECD)

The 2015 OECD publication Schooling redesigned: Towards innovative learning systems features the work of Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert in British Columbia on the spiral of inquiry, learning and action as one of the major international learning labs that illustrate what student and professional learning should look like in the future.

Schooling redesigned: Towards innovative learning systems – OECD website

The 2010 OECD publication The nature of learning: Using research to inspire practice explores the nature of learning through the perspectives of cognition, emotion, and biology and identifies seven principles to guide the design of learning environments. The conclusions of the report are summarised in the practitioner guide developed in 2012.

The nature of learning: Practitioner guide – OECD website (PDF)

The spiral of inquiry, learning and action

A framework for transforming learning in schools: Innovation and the spiral of inquiry. Timperley, H. Kaser, L. and Halbert, J. – Extends the cycle of inquiry to the spiral of inquiry and provides a model for long term professional learning in schools. 

Inquiry learning networks and the spiral of inquiry. Kaser, L. and Halbert, J. The Brief, No. 2. AIS NSW. – Overview of the key ideas used in the inquiry learning networks in British Columbia.

The spiral playbook. Kaser, L. and Halbert, J. c21canada.org. – Describes professional inquiry that aims to transform how educators learn and lead – with teams and across networks.

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