The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning has what I believe to be a very effective quote in terms of an enquiring practitioner:
“The most successful education systems invest in developing their teachers as reflective, accomplished and enquiring professionals who are able, not simply to teach successfully in relation to current external expectations, but who have the capacity to engage fully with the complexities of education and to be key actors in shaping and leading educational change.” (Teaching Scotland’s Future, Scottish Government, 2011, p4)
So what does this mean?
An enquiring practitioner is someone who not only teaches their class but also continues to teach themselves throughout their career. This involves them looking at their teaching methods and what they are teaching and analysing the effectiveness and any possible areas for developing. This can be done through independent or collaborative enquiry. Each of these methods ensures that they are discovering findings which either support the way they teach or perhaps methods that would conflict their original methods. As a student teacher I believe that collaborative enquiry is hugely beneficial in self-development. Having an ePortfolio that we can share with our peers allows for us to consider other people’s views and question our own. Do I agree? Is this a better way of looking at this? Could I now add to what I have previously written having read this?
There are several benefits that come with this up and coming prospect of being an enquiring practitioner. Children’s learning and development is being significantly improved due to this continuous questioning of teaching methods as they are frequently searching for the most beneficial methods and ideas. Another benefit would be that it brings a collaborative approach to improving the curriculum – teachers can continuously add thoughts and opinions based on what they have found.
I personally believe that the challenges are not so strong however there are some which provoke relevant argument. Being practitioners we have to ensure that we are delivering a child centred learning approach. This involves us looking at each child as an individual and catering for their needs. This would then arise an issue in ‘the enquiring practitioner’ in that what works for some children in a specific school might not have quite the same effect as it would on other children. It also has to be taken in to consideration that not all teachers have gone through their career having to have this ‘enquiring’ mind set and so this new approach will be very challenging to them.
I feel really strongly about becoming an enquiring practitioner and the benefits that come with this. Already while being at university I have engaged widely in reflecting on my newly gained knowledge and enquiring how I can improve my skills. This is something which will be carried through to my last year where I write my dissertation. I feel this skill will then be hugely benefit me when I become a fully registered teacher as I will have gained the experience of ‘enquiring’ my learning and future teaching methods. I will be able to use what I have learned to ensure I become a successful, inspiring and enquiring professional practitioner.
Teaching Scotland’s Future, 2011 [online] available from http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2011/01/13092132/3 accessed on 09/11/2015