Rekindling practitioner inquiry through research

Year: 2018

Author: Jhagroo, Jyoti

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The purpose of this paper is to share a research journey that began with an explicit destination and through the course meandered along a bidirectional pathway through its organic phenomenological research approach. This journey emerged from a study that set out to explore the lived experiences of graduates of an initial teacher education programme as inquiring practitioners. The phenomenological research approach provided the context for the study to be generative. Through the generative nature of the research, the researchers seemed to shift between the research journey and the inquiry journey, consequently, rekindling notions of practitioner inquiry in the participants. A critical discussion of the past-present relationship between the researchers and the participants, the distinct lens that each researcher brought to the study, the past relationships between the participants, the influence of the research on the participants, and the participants’ influence on shaping subsequent data collection phases of the study, ensue as contributing factors to the generative approach. The data collection phases comprised an initial interview, a focus group using the letter-box data collection strategy, a second interview, followed by a second focus group using a conversational mat, and the final phase comprised a telephone conversation between the researchers and each participant. To understand the lived experiences it was necessary to, not only listen carefully to the stories, but to also allow the stories to shape the course of the research. The blurring of the spaces between the researchers and the practitioners in nurturing inquiry begs the question of support required for beginning teachers to engage in systematic and deliberate acts of inquiry of their practice.