Spiral of Inquiry

Inquiry is about being open to new learning and taking informed action.
The Spiral of Inquiry is not an initiative – it is a way of professional being.

The Spiral of Inquiry assists network schools in taking an inquiry-oriented, evidence-based approach to learning and teaching — one that focuses on making the education system more equitable through the provision of high quality learning opportunities for all young people.

The Spiral of Inquiry has six key stages: scanning, focusing, developing a hunch, new professional learning, taking action and checking that a big enough difference has been made. At each stage in the spiral, three questions are asked: What is going on for our learners? How do we know? and Why does this matter?

The Spiral of Inquiry is about listening to learners and reflecting on our own practices as educators. The spiral image captures the nature of inquiry – a continuous process and not a fixed cycle. The six key stages in the framework help school teams take a disciplined approach to professional inquiry, but inevitably, the true process will be messy and you will move between the stages as needed. The spiral is never complete – new learning always brings about new questions, ways of knowing and new opportunities for our learners.

These two key resources will help your school get started and stay focused:

The Spirals of Inquiry: for equity and quality (2013) handbook offers specific inquiry tools, research evidence and examples from practice in BC schools. It presents an approachable and yet innovative framework for inquiry that is influencing schools and districts across BC and in other parts of the world. Proceeds from book sales go directly to inquiring schools. For information on how to order, click here.

The Spiral Playbook (2017) is a condensed, plain language version of Spirals of Inquiry and tells of the work of many educators in BC and the Yukon. It is also a fundraiser for the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network. You can obtain copies by contacting Jennifer at the BCPVPA offices. All proceeds go to educator leadership in developing Indigenous world views through small grants to schools.