The GTCS website clearly states that ‘Practitioner enquiry, as defined by Menter et al (2011), is a ‘finding out’ or an investigation with a rationale and approach that can be explained or defended. The findings can then be shared so it becomes more than reflection or personal enquiry.’. This to me conveys that an enquiring practitioner in terms of teaching is someone who does further research on topics so that it can ultimately impact both their own and children’s learning and development for the better. Following my reading on the GTCS website I feel what follows fits in with my opinion of what an enquiring practitioner is: ‘argued by McLaughlin et al (2004) that teachers who engage in research have ‘better’ understanding of their practice and ways to it.’. This highlights the idea that by doing further research a teacher gets a much better understanding of what they are going on to discuss with their pupils and also how they can build on the way they are teaching the children to maximise their learning.
The idea that teachers can work collaboratively to develop the curriculum is definitely a benefit of practitioner enquiry because together teachers can discuss ideas they have found and think about how they could include this in their practice. Also this gives them the opportunity to listen to each other and develop a deeper understanding of different point of views. GTCS stated ‘Staff are able to work individually and collectively to investigate, question, consider and plan for change and development. This kind of school improvement is evidence-informed and critically justified.’, this demonstrates that teachers have a solid understanding of their research to ensure it will positively impact both them and the children.
However being an enquiring practitioner can have challenges. Due to teachers working collaboratively, this could turn in to a disagreement because they all may have different views which they then have a debate about but in reality they may drift off the real topic resulting in no clear way of how it will positively impact their class. This is why they need to aim to minimise these challenges to avoid a less effective practice.
Being an enquiring practitioner at this stage as a student teacher is something I feel is essential in furthering my learning. After lectures I can go through my notes and find points which I could develop and do further research on. I also need to be more aware that not everything may be a set answer but something I could actually question and find different views on. Not being afraid to speak up and question things is something I feel will positively benefit me both at university and when I go out on placement. This makes it evident that being more aware of being an enquiring practitioner at this early stage will benefit my learning both now as a student teacher and in the future as a qualified teacher.
Reflection is crucial in teaching. If we don’t reflect then how can we progress and change the way in which we teach? Having the ability as a teacher to look back at your lessons and problems within the class to then critically reflect on them is something which will benefit both you and the children’s learning and understanding.
I found Gibbs’ Model of Reflection (1988) really useful to understand what reflection really is, I’d say it’s almost like a cycle which ultimately ends in you knowing what you would do different when the problem/situation happens again. If there is a problem and you ignore it and move on you won’t help yourself at all as the problem will still be there and could occur again, however if there is a problem and you reflect on it deeply you will therefore have a clear understand on your emotions and understanding of the problem in a better sense for the next time.
I feel reflection is something you do in your life all the time without even realising it, when you do something wrong you remember it and the next time it happens you know what you can do differently to get it right. So by reflecting more deeply on placement and when I become a teacher this will allow me to have control of my learning and understanding which will help me move forward in a positive way.
I think a challenge of marrying the personal vs the professional presence on social media is making sure nothing you post online could affect your career. Being a teacher and being so involved with social media is something I see to be quite scary, how one simple mistake online could be taken totally wrong and could have serious consequences for your career. I use a lot of social media and although i am happy and confident i have nothing to hide online, i still need to watch what i do. However i feel that making sure all your personal accounts are totally private is something that will keep your personal life separate from your professional career. One thing i didn’t know you could do was be in control of what you get tagged in on facebook, because although it may be something that someone else is totally fine with having on social media it could again be something that could be taken the wrong way and affect your career.
I think social media is something that can be twisted very quickly and teachers are often all over the papers for something negative they have done online, which sometimes tends to be an innocent mistake which is then published so publically. I feel like the way to avoid this is definitely thinking very carefully before you post anything on social media and if you have any doubt about it affecting your career then simply don’t post it.
Although this all seems so negative i think social media is a great way to further the education of children, and on things like twitter it can be very helpful in keeping parents and pupils up to date with everything happening in the school. As long as we as teachers show children how to be safe online and we make sure we are careful online then social media is definetly a great source in education.
Welcome to your eportfolio. This is where you will document and share your professional thoughts and experiences over the course of your study at the University of Dundee and beyond that when you begin teaching. You have the control over what you want to make public and what you would rather keep on a password protected page.
The eportfolio in the form of this WordPress blog allows you to pull in material from other digital sources:
You can pull in a YouTube video:
You can pull in a Soundcloud audio track:
You can pull in a Flickr page
You can just about pull in anything that you think will add substance and depth to your writing.