Teacher research? practitioner enquiry? professional enquiry?
This week’s thoughts are a reflection of a twitter conversation from this week initiated by @anna_d_beck and contributed to by @PCampbell91, @Catriona_O, @kate_wall98, @psychohut, @mrs_leitch.
This was the starter of the conversation:
Personally, I prefer the term practitioner but understand that for others this sounds mechanical or technical and doesn’t capture the professional standpoint.
In research versus enquiry, I feel that research is very weighted and carries connotations of academic research and the rigour that entails. I prefer enquiry but understand that to some is considered a ‘safer’, less critical way of using literature and interrogating practice. I hold to the notion that I am a teacher who does research, not a researcher. I feel there is a distinction to be made and if we all become researchers does that change the status of academic research? For some enquiry is a theme of research and should not be considered ‘the way’ but ‘a way’ of improving practice, which I totally agree with. Perhaps this is linked to the issue that enquiry has been ‘appropriated by policymakers and gatekeepers’ and as such, has it become a product rather than ‘way of being’ due to the pressure of policy.
For me it is more important to be curious and use literature and enquiry to improve your practice, demonstrating an ‘enquiry as stance’. Most people agree that curiosity is a must, in fact it should be considered as a required disposition, but then this should be followed by engagement in a process of enquiry with outcomes. So enquiry can be a ‘tool’ to support critical reflection to support teachers to identify and explain their own practice, underpinned by literature and research. There are stages that teachers need to be supported with, to confidently engage in, and lead, enquiry. The stages would include ‘deep personal [reflection] then collaborative thoughts and action planning on improvements, then research’, this would build capacity and support progression to an enquiring profession as espoused in policy.
An interesting debate, which left me with more questions than when I started, the sign of a good conversation.
P.S. @mrs-leitch also recommended a book, and look what arrived this morning