Engaging in educational research and development through teacher practitioner enquiry: a pragmatic or naïve approach?

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  2. Dr Rachel Lofthouse
Author(s)Lofthouse R
Publication type Article
JournalEducation Today
ISSN (print)0013-1547
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Practitioner enquiry is variously associated with school improvement, teachers’ professional development and educational innovation. It can encourage teachers to reflect on their classroom practice, to gather evidence of students’ learning and engagement and to design pedagogical experiments and test their efficacy. For some teachers it is very much a practical approach to practice review or development; in simple terms it builds on the ‘plan, do, review’ cycle. For others it becomes more of a conceptual stance; becoming more critically reflective and developing a sense of theorised practice. At one extreme it can be ensure that CPD is a bespoke offer putting teachers in the driving seat, encouraging them to engage intelligently with evidence from multiple sources and enabling creative responses to recognised needs. At another extreme it can become part of a managed system of data driven school improvement, or a response to meeting new and emerging agendas of schools as self-improving systems. At its heart practitioner enquiry rests on the proposition that those in practice are able to take informed intentional actions, explore their effects and form judgements of their value. This paper will outline principles of practitioner enquiry and consider how it can support the development of teaching and relate to constructs of professionalism and professional learning, alongside evidence of its challenge to school systems which are often perceived to demand convergence of practice and narrowly constructed conceptions of school improvement.
PublisherThe College of Teachers
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