Leading Inquiry Develop a plan that shows how you would lead a change initiative (digital and collaborative innovation) through its implementation. Consider the various stakeholders involved and your own leadership reflections.


“To suggest that learning is not about inquiry is, in many ways, nonsense. The act of inquiry is critical to our learning and growth.” (Murdoch, 2015, p.g 11) In the context of Frimley School, inquiry is perceived as being important to the school ethos, it is quoted as being something our school provides on our website. But as a teacher I see that it is a place where as a school we are failing. Even in our senior team, where I teach, we are not consistently teaching inquiry based learning. There are cases in which teaches believe they are teaching inquiry however the inquiry is so structured that the students do not understand they are engaging in an inquiry. The information is given to the students and there is no involvement in the gathering, analysis or creation of new ideas. In various classrooms around the school you will see a structured inquiry approach and in others an open or guided inquiry approach (Crombie, 2014). There is not a one size fits all model of inquiry, however, I believe that some students are being, for lack of a better word, ‘ripped off’ by the model or mode of inquiry being used.

Retrieved From: http://leanchange.org/resources/

Implementation Plan


Is that all teachers feel comfortable leading students through an open inquiry.

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Why Is Inquiry Based Learning Important?

My change initiative is to lead inquiry based learning in our senior team. It is my goal that all our teachers feel comfortable to lead students through an open inquiry. Our junior school is starting learning through play and inquiry based learning is the next step up for these students coming through the school. Inquiry based learning is about involving students in their learning, as the old saying goes ‘tell me and I forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll learn’ this and constructivism are the bones on which learning through inquiry was built. Inquiry based learning is a way in which we can lead students into being more self directed learners. Kath Murdoch (2015) acknowledges that we are far more motivated to learn when we are interested or curious about the subject. By allowing students to pursue something they are interested in not only increases motivation it also allows students to self direct their learning pathway. Inquiry based learning also allows students to strengthen their 21st century skills, collaboration, knowledge construction, self-regulation, real world problem solving and innovation, ICT for learning, skilled communication. (ITL, 2012) The Ministry of Education in their New Zealand Education in 2025: Lifelong learners in a connected world draft document state that, ‘everyone is a learner from birth, within a connected, interdependent education system.’ (Ministry of Education, p.g 1, 2015) Allowing students the opportunity to learning through inquiry is preparing students for the future. Teachers are increasingly being asked to create student centred classrooms, learning through inquiry allows teachers to focus their attention on student learning. Teachers employing inquiry based learning are constantly having to ask what is next for this student. This in turn creates a more individualised student program as planning becomes ongoing (Murdoch, 2015).

NEW ZEALAND EDUCATION IN 2025:. 1st ed. Ministry of Education, 2015. Web. 18 Feb. 2017.

How will we measure success in Inquiry Based Learning

  • All teachers will have a shared understanding of what Inquiry Based Learning is and how it can look in their age group.
  • All teachers have an ownership of how they can achieve Inquiry Based Learning in their classroom.
  • All teachers and students are aware of how the use of ICT can enhance Inquiry Based Learning
  • Students are more self directed in their Inquiry Based Learning.
  • Students are more aware of the interconnectedness of different aspects of the curriculum.
Retrevied from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Success_Kid

How will we show progress towards everyone working in Inquiry Based Learning?

  • Teachers - Removal of barriers such as - my students are too young, my students are not self disciplined enough.
  • Teachers - encouraging students to have an outcome and celebrating these outcomes with fellow staff and community.
  • Students - motivation increase during Inquiry Based Learning, students have an outcome for their inquiry and being proud to share their outcome.
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Who is affected (Stakeholders)

  • Students - need the opportunity to learn through inquiry to boost their self directed learning. Learning through inquiry also involves the community - it allows students to learn from other experts in their community. The year 5 and 6 students (2017) will be early adopters of this change initiative as they have experienced learning through inquiry before. Students will also get an opportunity to develop their 21st Century skills.
  • Teachers - in my team will be the early adopters they are ones who have tried various types and models of inquiry based learning. Teachers in the wider school community will be the late adopters who will need a more coaching style of leadership to ensure that their practice changes and improves.
  • Management - promote Frimley School as an inquiry based school, to be able to invite the community to see the outcomes of student inquiry will be enormous. Learning through inquiry also motivates students, with more highly motivated students we hope that behaviour will improve.
  • Caregivers - will see their children develop skills that will enable them to participate in a more increasingly digital and global world.


PLD for all staff around learning through inquiry. Students gaining ownership of inquiry learning. When students are questioning and actively gathering information they are developing agency over their learning and develop responsibility as a learner therefore developing more self directed learners. Staff sharing student success this provides staff opportunities to celebrate success. ICT use in the classroom. The ICT in the the classroom is forced into a different realm, inquiry involves students gathering and critiquing information using a number of digital tools. Also when in the latter stages of inquiry students can use ICT to present their learning in a number of ways using, animation, 3D modelling, movies, surveys and many more (Murdoch, 2015).

How will we support people

In school PLD, celebrating the success of those already achieving to teach and show others how they achieve inquiry based learning in their classroom. PLD around the various ICT tools that can enhance inquiry based learning for students. Supporting teachers to take inquiry learning out of the social science and science bracket and into math, reading and writing. Celebrating the successes in school!

Phase One

  • Observe how teachers use inquiry (term 1 2017)
  • Invite teachers to see how we are using inquiry based learning in our classroom
  • Develop effective leadership from my early adopters
  • Assess what is happening and plan for the future
  • Developing a school-wide inquiry based learning model
  • Employ a coaching style of leadership with my early adopters (teachers on my team).

Phase Two

  • Ensure all stakeholders understand inquiry based learning.
  • Gather data that shows the success inquiry based learning can have on ‘tested’ areas of learning i.e math, reading and writing.
  • Build staff confidence through PLD.
  • Employ a democratic style of leadership with the late adopters.


  • Using Kath Murdoch’s ‘The Power of Inquiry’ around inquiry based learning.
  • A school wide inquiry based learning model - ‘cycle’ of inquiry.
  • Various planning tools for students to use.
  • Using ICT to help deepen learning through inquiry.

Phase Three

  • Making sure students are enjoying inquiry based learning.
  • Encouraging teachers to invite community into see students learning.
  • Caregivers: Ensuring that they know what is going on in classrooms. Ensuring understanding that ‘school’ looks different from what they did and that inquiry based teaching has benefits. Share with parents the 21st century skills we are developing through inquiry based learning.


  • Checking data to ensure inquiry based learning is making a difference.
  • Gather feedback from stakeholders about the changes.
  • Prepare to take inquiry based learning to the late adopters with the help from the early adopters.

Reflection on leadership

In my DC2 assignment I engaged with a coaching style of leadership. I showed the students what I expected and allowed them to work through the skills at their own pace. For this change initiative I believe that a coaching style of leadership will serve best during phase one of the implementation plan. As during phase one I will be working with the early adopters these teachers have already tried inquiry based learning in their own way. By employing a coaching style of leadership it will allow for these teachers to develop their skills for the future and in turn become leaders of the change initiative in phase two (Goleman 2002).

Leading change is going to be something new for me. I have in the past mostly taken a followership role. During the last change initiative I was involved in I observed the leadership styles closely. The leader in that case employed a transformational theory of leadership, this was due to many factors, however, the fact that she has not authority over the people she was leading was a main contributing factor to her employing transformational over transactional leadership theory. During this change initiative I am much in the same boat as I have no authority over the people I am leading. I also want to bring about this change through generating the teachers and students interest in Inquiry based learning. I want to lead the teachers to look beyond the idea that Inquiry Based Learning is hard and show them direct results from my own teaching (Stone, Russell and Patterson, 2003). This is why I hope to employ a transformational theory of leadership.

I believe that the management at Frimley School have employed a visionary leadership style around inquiry based learning before and it has not been successful as inquiry learning can be quite overwhelming. Therefore I have chosen to stay away from this style of leadership and employ a more coaching style of leadership in phase one and a more democratic style in phase two. (Goleman 2002) By using a more democratic style of leadership in phase two it will allow the late adopters to have more ownership over the change initiative and avoid them feeling too overwhelmed. A democratic leader builds consensus through participation having the early adopters on board already shows consensus amongst some staff and these early adopters go on to be the team that drives the change amongst the late adopters.


Crombie, Scott (2014, May 26) What is Inquiry-Based Learning? (Video File) Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u84ZsS6niPc

Dewey, John (1897) ‘My pedagogic creed’, The School Journal, Volume LIV, Number 3 (January 16, 1897), pages 77-80.

Goleman, D. (2000). Leadership that Gets Results. Harvard Business Review, 78(2), 78-90.

ITL Research. (2012). 21CLD Learning Activity Rubrics. Retrieved from https://education.microsoft.com/GetTrained/ITL-Research

Kotter, J.P. (1996). Leading Change. Harvard Business Review Press.

Murdoch, Kath. The Power Of Inquiry. 1st ed. Northcote, Vic: Seastar Education, 2015. Print.

NEW ZEALAND EDUCATION IN 2025:. 1st ed. Ministry of Education, 2015. Web. 18 Feb. 2017.

"Resources | Lean Change Management". Leanchange.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.

Stone, A.G., Russell, R.F. & Patterson, K. (2004). Transformational versus servant leadership: a difference in leader focus. The Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 25(4), 349-361


Created with images by Lindy Buckley - "Inquiry Grade 5"

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