Practitioner enquiry (PE), 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. It is usually undertaken within the practitioners own practice/ context or in collaboration with others.
Psychological services has linked with the National Network of Educational Psychologists and we are working in partnership to present this at a conference in September. We are also using this approach to support the implementation of other initiatives including Nurture and restorative approaches. Furthermore we are linking with the Professional Learning Academy to support Probationers and newly qualified teachers in taking an enquiry approach.
It is envisaged that practitioner enquiry will become an integral aspect of the day-to-day practice of teachers and other education professionals. For the experienced teacher, regular engagement in practitioner enquiry supports professional growth by challenging or ‘disrupting thinking’ and ‘ingrained habits of mind’. Practitioner enquiry helps to create a space to stop and look again at existing ways of working. It is argued by McLaughlin et al (2004) that teachers who engage in research have ‘better understanding of their practice and ways to improve it’. For some teachers, enquiry may promote levels of critical reflection that are transformative.