Solving Design Problems: The Cycle of Inquiry

The habit of inquiry is critical to school design teams as they analyze how various structures and practices affect student learning and school functioning. Whether in devising new designs or assessing current designs, they must:

  • Identify a problem area to investigate. (For example, “Fifty percent of our high school students are reading below grade level.”)
  • Study the problem to determine its roots. (What experiences do these students encounter in school? Who teaches them, and how, and in what settings?)
  • Develop strategies of instructional leadership to address the problem. (For example, “What would happen if we set out to match each student’s reading material to that student’s most pressing interest?”)
  • Collect and analyze data produced from trying the strategies.
  • Retool the strategies to address the problem more effectively.