Voices of Inquiry in Teacher Education

Voices of Inquiry in Teacher Education

Voices of Inquiry in Teacher Education

Voices of Inquiry in Teacher Education


This book is an attempt to show that preservice teacher knowledge is substantive and should be part of the wider database of knowledge about teaching and learning in the field of teacher education. From the perspectives of five prospective teacher interns and a teacher educator, this volume brings the experiences of students conducting research during preservice teacher education to life. Charged to conduct a semester long study in the school, the intern-authors studied classroom scenes and their own work, and wrote case studies depicting their experiences. Their pieces -- in their entirety -- compose the central chapters of the book and serve as examples of preservice teacher research. The surrounding chapters examine the interns' experiences of conducting research during their preservice internship year primarily from the perspective of a teacher educator who studied them and the scene throughout the experience. The teacher educator examines the interns' approaches to research and the processes they employed to conduct and complete their studies, the interns' professional growth as a result of their participation in the study, and the impact the project had on the program.

This book fills the gaps that exist in the present literature on the use of teacher research during preservice by including the inquiry works of preservice teachers as examples of legitimate, important preliminary research in their own rights, and by addressing the complex issues of conducting this type of study during preservice from multiple perspectives, not just that of the university researcher. While some texts include the perspectives of students and even include portions of students' own work, this text takes the step of co-authorship, sharing the academic discourse with intern teachers who have produced experience and knowledge that are informative for the field of education as a whole and specifically for teacher education. The text attempts to combine many voices into one thorough, narrative approach, ultimately urging the reader to consider the possibilities of teacher research for advancing knowledge in the field and for enhancing the professional development of the participants.


You have heard it before. Inquiry should be at the heart of teacher education. Why? Because inquiry is seminal in preparing teachers as artisan-professionals who will respect the knowledge base as a treasure of insight for informing their practice. Inquiry is seminal in preparing teachers who will use intents, contextual indeterminates, and nuances of practice as key factors in deciding how teaching and learning knowledge will be used in practice. But how do we do it? What is the struggle to develop artisan-professionals like? How do teacher educators place inquiry at the center when novice teachers have so many other pressing concerns? How do novice teachers learn to inquire and to benefit from this inquiry while also trying to learn the basics of teaching? Once novice teachers decide to give inquiry a try, what does this struggle look like in practice? How do teacher educators and students alike place inquiry at the center when today's teaching environment seems so inhospitable to the idea?

Tom Poetter and his five co-authors provide some answers to these questions by telling their stories--stories of struggle, insight, and hope. Poetter is a teacher educator working with teacher interns as part of Trinity University's 5-year Teacher Education program. His coauthors are fifth-year students teaching full-time in a professional development school. the medium is stories that weave together a penetrating and expansive journey of challenge, triumph, and defeat. These are stories that teach readers important lessons as to what inquiry is like on the chalk line, how inquiry works, and how it can work better.

Chapters 1 and 2 set the stage by providing an engaging analysis of how inquiry fits into the teacher education picture, a compelling review of related literature, and a vivid picture of how the work described in this book evolved. From the beginning Poetter acquaints readers with storytelling by immersing himself as a person and as a person-professor into the discussion. Getting to share his struggle almost firsthand is an important strength of this book. Championing inquiry in teacher education, one soon discovers, is not an abstraction but a personal journey for teacher . . .

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