Planning successful user-centred change

Calendar superimposed over photo of books on library shelves.

When you need to make changes in your school library, a systematic approach will help make those changes as successful as possible.

Be systematic

Using a systematic approach can help you:

  • understand what's going on for your library users
  • consider the consequences of proposed changes
  • make decisions based on sound evidence
  • know what actions are needed to achieve your goals.

Using inquiry to develop your library

Teaching as inquiry has been used in New Zealand schools for more than 10 years. It asks educators to reflect on what they do, and use that reflection to change their practice for the benefit of students.

Library staff can also use an approach like this to:

  • reflect on the library's role in supporting teaching and learning
  • examine their own practice
  • look for ways to make improvements.

Teaching as inquiry

The spiral of inquiry

The spiral of inquiry is a framework for innovation in education, developed by Helen Timperley (NZ), Linda Kaser, and Judy Halbert (Canada), that builds on the teaching as inquiry model. Its aim is to transform learning in schools, and this is as relevant in the library as it is in the classroom.

The spiral of inquiry:

  • is a collaborative process
  • involves learners, their families and communities at every step
  • starts with a deep understanding of learning and the experiences of learners
  • focuses on improving the experiences of learners through real changes in practice.

A framework for transforming learning in schools: Innovation and the spiral of inquiry

The spiral playbook — a concise introduction to Kaser and Halbert's evidence-based model of collaborative inquiry.

The Spiral Playbook: leading with an inquiring mindset.
The Spiral Playbook. C21 Canada. All rights reserved.

Library development based on the spiral of inquiry

Library development based on the spiral of inquiry moves through 6 key steps:

  • Scanning: what's going on for our learners?
  • Focusing: where will we focus most of our attention?
  • Developing a hunch: how are we contributing to the situation?
  • New professional learning: where and how will we learn more about what we do?
  • Taking action: what will we do differently?
  • Checking: have we made a difference?

You’ll need to gather evidence at each step so that you can answer the essential questions ‘what’s going on for students?’ and ‘how do we know?’

Gathering your own evidence

Find out more

Using spirals of inquiry to transform practice and raise literacy levels for boys — "Fendalton Open Air School collected and analysed a range of data to enhance their writing programme and engage learners".

School evaluation indicators — Education Review Office's measures designed to "focus schools and ERO evaluators on the things that matter most in improving student outcomes".

Sustaining improvements in student achievement: Myth or reality? — M Lai, S McNaughton, and S Hsiao — New Zealand Council for Educational Research.