The Enquiring Practitioner.

To be an enquiring practitioner is to discover through a method which can be justified, therefore, holding more value than reflection. This normally involves working collaboratively with others in your profession, for example. Practitioner Enquiry is similar to reflection in the way that it involves on going learning and development.  However, it involves permanent qualities such as being flexible and willing to change. Part of being an enquiring practitioner involves being aware of the current news regarding your practice and involving yourself in ways to make sure your knowledge and understanding is up-to-date i.e. workshops. Furthermore, it involves being able to critically analyse your own beliefs, values, knowledge, understanding opinions, etc. The main point is that practitioner enquiry should lead to deep transformative learning: knowing what, why and how.

Being an enquiring practitioner is very important in teaching, as it involves being continuously reflective in your methods and constantly evaluating i.e. ‘Is there an easier way for my pupils to understand this?’. Therefore, it has a impact on the pupil’s learning. After Donaldson, teachers being an enquiring professional became the heart of teaching as it involves constantly improving. This is reflected in the GTCS standards for registration – “Committing to life-long enquiry, learning… (professional commitment)”, therefore, challenging past expectations of teachers. In my opinion to be able to be an enquiring practitioner in terms of teaching is essential and will provide rich benefits in the way that we teach today regarding children’s futures as members of society.

The benefits of practitioner enquiry are huge as it challenges and changes the way we think. For example, it can encourage teachers to become not just a better teacher but a good role model for the children to follow. Furthermore, as it involves investigating new, better ways of teaching, teachers will be well informed and up-to-date with current affairs around the world. Hopefully in the future, it will transform education as we see it for the better. Additionally, if children are surrounded by enquiring practitioners as the learn, grow and develop, it should reflect in their personality and enable them to become successful in reflection themselves.

In my opinion, a challenge regarding the practitioner enquiry is older, more experienced teachers may feel challenged by this new way of thinking that is now expected of them. Especially as it goes against the ‘traditional way of teaching’. They may find it hard to get their heads around it as they have been trained a different way and being an enquiring practitioner is a whole new way of thinking in terms of teaching. If enquiry is expected to be embedded deep into practice, this will take some time and a lot of support and expertise will be needed. Some may find it ‘uncomfortable’ as it is considerably different to previous methods. It can be challenging to understand the idea of an enquiring practitioner, however, without a good understanding it will become disengaging and disempowering. Additionally, it can be difficult to question your own methods and ability.

This implies for me, as a student teacher, that how to become an enquiring practitioner should be at the heart of my learning and kept in mind throughout my placement in order to obtain a greater understanding. Personally, I think as a student teacher I have it easier than current teachers as I can embed practitioner enquiry in the basis of my teaching ability from the start whereas it is hard to change your way of thinking and teaching after so many years. As a student teacher I will be able to start involving reflection in my learning so that I can develop a good understanding of practitioner enquiry by the time I leave university, where I will go on to continuously develop my practice as a professional.

3 thoughts on “The Enquiring Practitioner.

  1. Lucy Allan

    Hi Ailsa,
    I found your input on what it means to be an Enquiring Practitioner really interesting. You seem to have a really good understanding on what being an Enquiring Practitioner involves and have clearly put alot of thought into how people should act upon and use this. I agree with your comments on how Practitioner Enquiry may have it’s difficulties and you have highlighted some key points which I had not previously thought about. I think you know how to carry practitioner enquiry on into your own work life as a professional and seem very willing to do that. I found your piece really informative and interesting to read. 🙂

  2. Katie Smith

    Hi Ailsa,
    From your post it is obvious that you have a good understanding of what it means to be an enquiring practitioner. You have really thought about this topic and all of your viewpoints are well developed and explained. I completely agree with all of your points, especially when you discussed the challenges which older teachers may face with this new way of thinking. Your post was slightly too long, however this could not be helped with the level of detail which you involved in your post. Overall, I enjoyed reading your post and found it to be really helpful in developing my own understanding.

  3. Jessica Murray

    Hey Ailsa,
    Your post is incredibly detailed and displays that you have a sound understanding of practitioner enquiry. Not only do you state several important and relevant points but you explain them in great depth which allows the reader to truly understand what it means to be an enquiring practitioner. I think your post is very informative and flows well. I really like how you’ve related the topic of this post back to your own life as becoming an enquiring practitioner does not simply start when you are fully qualified but should be seen in student teachers. I think your post is well written and not only did I enjoy reading it but it enhanced my learning on this topic! 🙂


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