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Developing a Personalised Inquiry Model for our Cluster

Year level 1 to 12

Cluster type

We are a year 2 ICTPD cluster comprising 3 remote schools, Twizel Area School, Aoraki Mt Cook Primary School and Tekapo Primary School. We are also a very diverse cluster in that not only are we geographically remote from other towns and each other but also very different in nature. Twizel Area School serves a student population ranging from New Entrant to Year 13, has 14 teaching staff members and nearly 200 students whereas Tekapo School and Aoraki Mt Cook School are both sole-charge primary schools with a Principal and part-time teacher, pupil numbers being 27 and 7 students respectively.


The cluster decided to focus for this year on developing an adapted Inquiry Model.. Our schools’ development of an Inquiry model also varies widely with Aoraki Mt Cook who have developed their own model and are now in the process of reviewing and refining this. Twizel area School and Tekapo School although using an Inquiry-based learning approach within classrooms have yet to specifically adapt their own model.
Aoraki Mount Cook School Inquiry Model can be viewed in PDF form.


Research model used and Intentions

Our Year 1 ICTPD cluster learning involved an inspirational 1 day workshop with Tony Ryan and post-conference PD sessions discussing the work of Lane Clark and Kath Murdoch. An informative recent PD session with e-Time has introduced staff to the SOLO taxonomy which TAS senior school staff are particularly interested in. Our 2011 Action Plan developed by the Cluster Leadership team identified our need to research, adapt and trial an adapted Inquiry Model within our schools.
As a cluster we will share our best existing inquiry practices, research current best-practise inquiry models in use in New Zealand and adapt/develop our own inquiry model suited to our specific school needs. We will adopt and trial this within our planning and curriculum delivery, ensuring that it is explicitly communicated to our students. We will then evaluate and reflect on its effectiveness to engage students and facilitate their learning.



Cluster staff will initially meet to share existing practice. We will undertake an initial staff/student questionaire assessing understanding of Inquiry process and language of inquiry. Aoraki Mt Cook School will share their Inquiry Model. PLC’s will be formed and staff groups will use ICTPD staff meeting time /release time to research a range of Inquiry Models including Lane Clark, Pam Hook and SOLO taxonomy, and the work of Kath Murdoch. Guest Speakers via Skype will be sought. Visits will be arranged for cluster leadership team to schools using various inquiry models. PLC’s will present their model through use of slideshows, video etc. Each School will refine its own model. Planning will be adapted to reflect the chosen Inquiry model. Release time will be available for staff to visit other classrooms to see the model in use.
Towards the end of term 4 we will complete a post staff/student questionnaire assessing understanding of Inquiry process and language of inquiry. We shall use statistical analysis to look for a shift in perception and increased awareness, understanding and use of the process.
See our Action Plan on Google Docs.


Impact on students/teachers/whanau

We are hoping for a shift in perception and understanding by staff and students relating to the Key Competencies and the Inquiry Process. We want to see staff planning reflecting the Inquiry process and classroom practice demonstrating and reinforcing this. Students should be able to articulate the language of Inquiry, understand and describe the stages of the Inquiry process and apply them to their own learning journeys.
Evidence should be present in teachers planning with reference to Inquiry Model processes, classrooms should have Inquiry language and a process diagram on display. Students work should clearly show the stages of the inquiry process and students should be able to explain the process and be familiar with the language of inquiry itself. Web 2.0 tools should be embedded in class blogs or wikis showcasing reflections and inquiry processes.