An Investigation into Teacher Inquiry Methodology in Teacher Education
Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)
Grant recipients: Margaret MacDonald and Cher Hill, Faculty of Education
Timeframe: April 2011 to December 2013
Poster presentation: View a poster (PDF) describing this project from the 2013 Symposium on Teaching and Learning.
Final report: View MacDonald and Hill's final project report (PDF).
From the final report: "Some results from the survey surprised us including the strong emphasis that second year students placed on learning through collaboration with students, parents and colleagues. This finding, indicates an ideological shift in understandings of the role of teacher, supports the importance of relationships within a community of practice, and highlights our need as instructors to provide opportunities for students to meet with members of their learning community to engage in discussion and dialogue." Read more >>
Description: This project examines the teacher inquiry methodology used in the Faculty of Education's "field programs," which are graduate-level education programs for in-service teachers. The objective is to gain a deeper theoretical understanding of the pedagogy used within field programs, to model the teacher inquiry methodology through co-inquiry with seconded faculty associates and mentors, and to disseminate the findings within the faculty, the university, and the broader scholarly community.
Teacher inquiry is a practice that prompts in-service teachers to reflect on the dynamic factors that influence their teaching. It is considered highly effective in generating positive changes in teaching and learning, but few studies exist to confirm this perception, and investigations to date have tended to be small, short-term, and based on the experiences of pre-service teachers.
By contrast, our investigation is a large-scale, longitudinal study that will track the experiences of in-service teachers over six semesters and beyond. We will begin by analyzing the portfolios of 15 teachers participating in the Graduate Diploma in Education program. (These portfolios provide a synthesis of the teacher's field study, discussions, readings, and class activities and can include photos, graphics, and narrative forms of representation.) Through discussion and reflective analysis involving ourselves, teachers in the Graduate Diploma program, and faculty members and associates, we will determine explanatory theories that conceptualize teachers' experiences.
Phase Two of the study will focus on cross-sectional data collection from teachers at the beginning, middle and end of the diploma program, as well as participants representing various grades taught and areas of interest in order to understand the effect of these factors on the results.
We believe that carrying out this research within the field programs will model and reinforce the teacher inquiry methodology for program participants as well as the faculty associates and mentors who help to deliver the program. Ultimately, we hope that this research will raise the standard of the methodology employed within the program.
- What are the ways in which our students (in-service teachers) conceptualize teacher inquiry and engage in inquiry practices during their two-year graduate diploma program?
- How might this differ across diverse program areas and cohorts, as well as during different semesters in the program?
- What are the ways in which students’ work in the program mediates their teaching practices? How might teacher inquiry methodologies move our students towards transformation or restoration of practice?
Knowledge sharing: Presentations of our findings to date were made at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference in Vancouver in April 2012. Results were also presented locally at Faculty of Education Program Area Research Forums. The AERA presentations will also be submitted to peer-reviewed journals that focus on pedagogy and teacher inquiry methodology in teacher education.
Hill, C., & MacDonald, M. (2013, June). Principles and practices of teacher-inquiry: Towards an empirically generated methodology. Paper presented at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) Conference, Victoria, BC.
Hill, C., MacDonald, M., Donovan, L., Howarth, P., & Irvine, M. (2014, May). Using co-inquiry to actualize curriculum and pedagogy. Poster presentation at the Symposium on Teaching and Learning: Provocative Pedagogy, May 14-15, 2014, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.
Hill, C., MacDonald, M., Donovan, L., Howarth, P., & Irvine, M. (2013, May). Using co-inquiry to actualize curriculum and pedagogy. Poster session presented at the Symposium on Teaching and Learning: Embracing Change @SFU, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.
MacDonald, M., & Hill, C. (2012, May). Actualizing co-inquiry as curriculum and pedagogy. Poster session presented at the Symposium on Teaching and Learning: Leading Change @SFU, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.
MacDonald, M., Hill, C., Donovan, L., Howarth, P., & Irvine, M. (2013, June). Actualizing co-Inquiry: Theory and practice. Roundtable paper presented at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) Conference, Victoria, BC.