To Transform or to Reproduce: Critical Examination of Teacher Inquiry within Early Childhood Teacher Preparation

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The purpose of this research is to examine how and to what extent preservice teachers (PSTs) who engage in teacher inquiry develop a critical reflective stance towards their teaching practices in early childhood classrooms. As we, a team of early childhood teacher educators, incorporated teacher inquiry into our reformed early childhood teacher preparation program and adopted critical reflection as our theoretical framework, we were interested in investigating our PSTs’ engagement and enactment of teacher inquiry. This study analyzed early childhood PSTs’ final teacher inquiry projects to examine their understanding of the inquiry cycle, selection of inquiry topics and rationales, and varying roles inquiry played in their professional learning. The findings suggest that careful and critical considerations should be given to PSTs’ teacher inquiry so that its full potential to transform teaching and learning may be optimized and avoid use as a reproduction tool to reinforce existing school culture and practices.

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Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, v. 38, issue 4, p. 308-325