The community of inquiry: Strengthening the teacher/researcher collaborative relationship

Year: 2012

Author: Mills-Bayne, Martyn

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Working with a practitioner in a collaborative research process is like joining a partner in a complex dance from the moment you meet each other, and where neither of you knows the moves of the dance you are about to engage in. There is an inherent 'serve and return' interaction as each partner puts forward their thoughts about elements of the research, and responds to the thoughts, ideas and teaching practice of the other to develop and refine their shared understanding of the research process and the usable knowledge it aims to produce (Lagemann 2002).

The researcher employed Educational Design Research methodology (McKenney & Reeves 2012), which involves a continual cyclical process whereby current theory and practice are refined through iterative cycles to produce deeper understandings of both elements as they relate to the design tool. The design being engineered in this research is an 'Empathic Pedagogy' (Schertz 2006) that involves the use of a Mother and baby's interactions as a stimulus for young children's dialogue within the Community of Inquiry pedagogical approach (Laverty & Gregory 2007).

This paper describes the relationship between teacher and researcher as both works towards a sense of equilibrium in the collaborative relationship formed throughout the research process. Through this reciprocal relationship the teacher and researcher enter an intersubjective space where shared meaning is created and refinements to the research process are developed through dialogue and professional discourse. In this way the building of a collaborative relationship between teacher and researcher reflects the process that occurs between members of the Community of Inquiry itself.

Key Words:

community of inquiry, collaborative practice, dialogue, educational design research, doctoral research