The inquiring practitioner: Capacity building for inquiry

Year: 2016

Author: Stringer, Patricia

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The New Zealand Ministry of Education has identified ‘Teaching as Inquiry’ as an effective pedagogical approach in promoting student learning and raising achievement. Higher education institutions offering initial teacher education have had to either adjust or develop courses to incorporate practitioner-based methodologies to prepare their graduates for the new reality of teaching. The recently developed Master of Teaching and Learning (MTL) course offered at a university in Auckland, New Zealand delivers papers based on developing understandings of the theory and practice related to practitioner-based inquiry. The first cohort of the MTL programme, having completed the year-long study in 2015 and who are now employed as teachers in schools, are participants in a research study that explores how beginning teachers’ academic understandings of ‘Teaching as Inquiry’ shapes their practice and, how engagement in practice, facilitates the building of capacity to engage in inquiry over time. The self as an inquiring practitioner is framed within an ecological perspective where context, educational policy, administration requirements and previously held academic understandings intertwine to create internal and external teacher discourses which influence participation in action and reflection on action. Ways of being an inquiring practitioner emerge from engagement in learning in the public arena of teaching. From a capacity building perspective, this paper presents findings that highlight the importance of inquiry, the ability to ask curious questions, use of initiative, critique, action, collaboration and creativity in the development of self as an inquiring practitioner.