Teacher research and Inquiry…

This post was published originally in http://arroyo24mylearningjourney.wordpress.com/

(Image from http://bcnpaul1.blogspot.com/2010/05/teacher-led-professional-development.html)

What is meaningful professional development?

Over the past year or so I have been involved in the development of a workshop about teacher research. Is this work, together with a personal interest for action – research and my thoughts regarding professional development, that have helped me understand that teachers should control their own learning process. That meaningful professional development is the one that is based on teachers own interests and tensions and should effect change in the same way that inquiry in the PYP leads to student reflective action. With that in mind, teacher research becomes a powerful professional development tool which leads to significant improvement in student learning. At the same time by researching into their own practices teachers will be able to gain a better understanding of inquiry as a pedagogy which is central to IB philosophy.

But what are the connections between teacher research and inquiry, How are they similar? How are they different? So far I have identified a few along the way…

  • They are both are processes and can be described through cycles. They both involve, questioning, exploring, representing, etc.
  • Action research and inquiry require participants to make connections to what is already known, they both involve exploring previous knowledge.
  • Action research and inquiry involve solving problems, exploring tensions
  • For both, reflection is an important aspect and through reflection we can increase knowledge and understanding.
  • Teacher research and inquiry can be seen as a habit of mind, actually Richard Sagor describes it this way and Kathy Short talks about inquiry as a stance.
  • Inquiry is perhaps a more natural process than teacher research; In teacher research we find the need for researchers to design specific tools and methods for data collection or detailed planning, research is meticulously planned and follows a tight timeline.
  • Teacher research in a school provides opportunities for one to re-engage as a learner and experience problem posing and reflection in a meaningful way.
  • Teacher Research helps us examine current classroom procedures and teaching methodologies.
  • Teacher research also gives us the opportunity to relate to our students in a more personal level, we can show them that even teachers inquire, that we are not the holders of all knowledge

Can you think of some more connections? Differences? What are the benefits of teacher research in a school? What are your thoughts on this?

About arroyo24

PYP teacher, Mother of 3 girls and now a Blogger
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6 Responses to Teacher research and Inquiry…

  1. whatedsaid says:

    It’s interesting how many of us have posted about teachers as inquirers. I believe the best teachers are inquirers themselves. Is it a prerequisite? 🙂

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  2. I always say ‘Best practice what you preach’. How can we expect to develop students as inquirers if we don’t model the practice it ourselves? It is best practice to be inquirers in our own learning.

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  3. Pingback: Inquiry Learning | Love to read, love to learn!

  4. Pingback: Teaching as inquiry…continuing to learn | ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching's Blog

  5. Action research conducted by teachers and school administrators within the context of being agents of change is gaining momentum and recognition for the value it adds to our professional practice. What are the good questions we are asking?

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  6. tashacowdy says:

    I find that more and more, my role as a teacher is to inquire. In particular, your third and fourth bullet points resounded with me ; my teaching is driven by exploring tensions and reflecting on what has been and where to go next. I agree that inquiry is more natural that research. I would like to take one of my inquiries and develop it into a more formal, structured action research. A possible starting point for me is to explore the LAST protocol from Project Zero’s Visible Thinking, as a way of giving more structure to my teacher inquiries.

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