Where will concentrating our 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 "focused and deep". The authors point out that a common focus generates the momentum to transform schools.
Developing a hunch
How are we 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 we learn more about what we do? Teacher learning must be connected to identified learner needs. External expertise is important here and the school 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 we 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.
Have we made enough of a difference? Checking doesn’t have to be formal, or at a set time. It can go on throughout the spiral. The importance of trust should be a recurring theme throughout the cycle, and it certainly is true of checking.