The locally-focussed PLD process is based on the the spiral of inquiry. One of the key tenets of the current model of PLD is that schools, kura and Kāhui Ako undertake self-review to identify their own needs before applying for PLD. If you are unfamiliar with the spiral of inquiry model, you can find more information here.
The steps in the spiral of inquiry:
What’s going on for learners? Emphasis is placed on teacher observations of students, in all circumstances. There may be some difficult questions to ask, such as: Is it all right for some learners to experience challenging and engaging learning in one classroom while in the room next door the students are not? Scanning is not done overnight, can last many months, and may turn up surprises.
Where will concentrating your energies make the most difference? Focusing well will lead to informed actions, and usually means selecting no more than one or two areas so that the inquiry is "focussed and deep". A common focus generates the momentum to transform schools.
Developing a hunch
How are you as a school contributing to the situation? "Hunch" is an important word – hunches may not be totally accurate, but it is essential to get them all on the table because they guide the focusing. Sometimes they might be well-established routines of the school or the classroom, and be relevant to your own school. Hunches need testing.
How and where will you learn more about what you do? Teacher learning must be connected to identified learner needs. External expertise is important here and the school, kura or Kāhui Ako must make clear to externals what makes a difference to learners. We all need to know why new ways of doing things are better than what we did before.
What can your school, kura or Kāhui Ako do differently to make enough of a difference? "Genuine inquiry needs space to take risks, make mistakes, and try again – and again". Changing things can also feel risky for some learners who then resist change, and in turn bring concerned parents. We need to build understanding for all, right from the outset.
Checking is important to make sure actions have made enough of a difference. Checking doesn’t have to be formal, or at a set time. It can go on throughout the spiral.