Exploring Teachers’ Experiences of Participating in Teacher Inquiry as Professional Learning

Eleanor Gillis, Jennifer Mitton-Kukner


Teacher inquiry is the intentional and methodical reflection on one’s praxis that leads to action, and the resulting adjustments to one’s teaching practice. While scholars identify the importance of supports to be in place to sustain engagement in teacher inquiry, the specifics of the supports have remained somewhat unidentified, and there is little documentation about what teachers experience as they engage in teacher inquiry as part of a school-wide professional learning initiative. This paper explores the experiences of three middle school teachers participating in a year-long, guided teacher inquiry as part of a school’s professional learning plans. It is approached from an ethnographic, emic perspective. The challenges and supports teachers experienced when engaging in the inquiry process, as well as what they felt allowed honest dialogue, emerged as important aspects informing the results of this study. Participants identified that feeling safe influenced their ability to engage in teacher inquiry, and their willingness to address challenges associated with conducting research.

            Keywords: teacher inquiry; teachers as researchers; school-based professional learning


teacher inquiry; professional learning; middle school; ethnography

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