Page 202 - Empowering pre-service teachers through inquiry - Lidewij van Katwijk
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                                                 Empowering pre-service teachers through inquiry
For about ten years, pre-service teacher inquiry has been a compulsory component of the primary teacher education programme. However, why it had become compulsory and whether it led to better teachers was not clear. A formal reason for research – or actually inquiry - forming part of the curriculum is linked to the Dublin-descriptors, which have been established at European level. Previous research makes the assumption that pre-service teacher inquiry contributes to lifelong learning. The aim is not to educate researchers, but curious and critical teachers; professionals who can convert their inquiry habit of mind into inquiry based practice. In other words, development of an inquiry stance.
This thesis examines how an inquiry stance is developed in the intended, implemented and attained curriculum of primary teacher education. In contrast to the intuitive expectation that pre-service teacher inquiry is experienced as a burden, findings show that pre-service teachers and teacher educators in the Netherlands and Australia consider it to be a valuable and useful component of the programme. They feel empowered by pre-service teacher inquiry. Results also show a positive correlation between the quality of inquiry and the quality of teaching. The still underdeveloped research culture in primary schools, the formal nature of the pre-service teacher research and the realistic view of the first years of teaching are the main reasons why students do not think they will conduct practitioner research in their future profession. The development of an inquiry habit of mind is the most important aspect of the inquiry stance, but pre-service teachers do not recognize this in the educational activities and assessment.

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