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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Collaborative inquiry : teacher professional development as situated, responsive co-construction of practice and learning Schnellert, Leyton M.

Abstract

The research reported here grappled with the challenge of designing and facilitating teacher professional development that bridges theory and practice so as to enhance teacher practice and learning and student learning outcomes. A case study design was employed to study a community of inquiry (CoI) located within a Southern Arctic school district within which classroom teachers and special education teachers worked as partners to improve their writing instruction and increase access to learning and outcomes for students in inclusive classrooms. This research addressed three questions: (1) what practices did educators engage in as co-teachers within a CoI to consider, explore, and construct more inclusive writing instruction?; (2) how and why did collaborative, action-oriented inquiry cycles help teachers to develop understandings and practices that addressed, nurtured and supported diverse students’ literacy learning?; and (3) what conditions and qualities within professional development activities supported teacher learning and development of practice?. Findings suggested that teachers can make situated changes to practice that increase diverse students’ access to curriculum and learning when they: (1) set, enact, monitor and adapt context-specific goals for both students and themselves; (2) work collaboratively and problem-solve with others while trying to make shifts in practice; and (3) draw in resources as supports that can be adapted within their inquiries. In addition, co-teaching was found to be an approach that not only increased student access to curriculum and learning but had significant potential to support teacher learning and sustained shifts in practice. Implications for teachers’ learning, changes to practice, collaboration and professional development are discussed.

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