LO are entered and as a reminder of what I should focus on.

Benefits of practitioner enquiry


Screenshot 2016-01-31 21.29.56.png

Practitioner enquiry is evident in the GTCS Standards and in Scottish Education policy.

Requirements for reform:

  1. Training of teachers as enquiring practitioners
  2. Principles and aims must be shared
  3. PE will be integrated into day-day practice
  4. Changes needed at all levels

Jack in the box


‘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. Menter et al (2011).


The most successful education systems …invest in developing their teachers as reflective, accomplished and enquiring professionals who have the capacity to engage fully with the complexities of education and to be key actors in shaping and leading educational change. (Donaldson, 2011:4)


  1. Sustainable systematic approach which allows teachers to reskill in cycles of professional learning in response to changing circumstance (Menter et al, 2011).
  2. Practitioners become ‘agents of their own professional learning’ directing research to meet context-specific, practice-focused professional learning.
  3. Deep transformative learning, which significantly informs and influences professionals’ understandings, practice and subsequent impact.
  4. Completed in own practice/peer observation/context and/or in collaboration with others in schools/colleges/universities/local authorities  to recognise a range of experiences and perspectives.
  5. Common research question can then be ‘investigated’ through different lenses to enhance knowledge creation and sharing within the group and beyond.
  6. As such evaluation and reflective teaching are fundamental elements of practitioner enquiry if it is to have impact on the practitioners practice and ultimately pupil experience.
  7. For the experienced teacher, regular engagement in practitioner enquiry supports professional growth by challenging or ‘disrupting thinking’ and ‘ingrained habits of mind’.
  8. Creates 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’.
  9. PE may promote levels of critical reflection that are ‘transformative’.


An external stimulus is often needed to challenge assumptions, stimulate ideas and illustrate new teaching approaches. Such a stimulus needs to be high quality and relevant. (Donaldson 2011:96)

Sections of practitioner enquiry

Ten Critical considerations

Issues/contextual interrelated and interdependent factors apply to all schools and researchers that must be considered and planned/accounted for when planning and engaging in practitioner enquiry.

The potential of practitioner enquiry is widely recognised, both nationally and internationally in education policy and research.


Working through Partnership to Develop Professional Enquiry in Schools

University partners might be expected to:
  • negotiate, explore and refine the focus
  • provide subject expertise and/or access to expertise and curriculum knowledge
  • be skilled and knowledgeable and experienced in practitioner enquiry and action research, not just social research more generally
  • have a deep understating of the change process
  • build trust and develop relationships with colleagues in schools
  • offer hands-on support with data gathering, modelling, 1-1 critical conversations and analysis

School partners might be expected to:

  • critically examine practice with the specific aim to improve teaching and learning.
  • designate specific time and space for them to learn the necessary enquiry skills and to engage in the enquiry process for at least one academic year (any less time and it can become superficial, tokenistic and unfulfilling)
  • monitor, track and evaluate progress throughout and beyond 1st year of development
University, School and Local Authority links
HMIe inspection team commended the professional leaning process.



McLaughlin, C. Black-Hawkins, K. and McIntyre, D. (2004) Researching Teachers Researching Schools, Researching Networks: Review of the Literature. University of Cambridge: Routledge

Menter, I Elliott, D Hulme, M. Lewin, J Lowden K. (2011) A Guide to Practitioner research in Education. SAGE publishing




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