Practitioner Inquiry: Shifting the Role from Consumers to Producers of Knowledge
This paper emerges from the preliminary findings of study of a cohort of postgraduate initial teacher education alumni that are now practising teachers. We reflect on the potential of practitioner inquiry in positioning the teachers at the core of the inquiry as the researchers, the potential of practitioner inquiry in steering the teachers to be producer of knowledge rather than consumers of it, and the potential of practitioner inquiry in empowering the practising teachers to direct their own professional learning rather than allow themselves to be passive recipients of generic professional development. Furthermore, we will discuss the reactions of the teachers to an inquiry model specifically adapted to support practitioner inquiries. The assertion being made in this paper is that rather than external theoretical dictation of best practice being imposed on teachers, it is important for practitioners to develop their own understandings of their practice through their own inquiry of what best practice might look like to inform their own teaching and learning context. Essentially, the inward gaze of practitioner inquiry may nurture an informed practice based on actual experiences that is more pertinent to the teaching and learning environment than the interference of any outward ‘expert researcher’ intervention.