Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Lytle, S. L., & Cochran-Smith, M. (1994). Inquiry, knowledge, and practice. In S. Hollingsworth & H. Sockett (Eds.), Teacher research and educational reform: Ninety-third yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (pp. 22-51). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

The teacher research movement prompts new questions about how inquiry functions to inform and alter classroom practice and the cultures of teaching. Lytle and Cochran-Smith propose a theoretical framework for teacher research and discuss characteristics of this work, as they have done in other articles. In the first section of this book chapter, oral inquiries and conceptual research are described as two forms of teacher research. Oral inquiries are collaborative, oral, and social; teachers work together to examine educational concepts, texts, student work, and other data, building on one another's insights. In conceptual research, teachers recollect and reflect on their experiences to build a conceptual understanding of teaching, learning, or schooling, and issues around these topics. Lytle and Cochran-Smith review the notions of local knowledge and public knowledge and the relationship of teacher research to both. They then discuss the implications of teacher research for professional development. They say that teacher research takes the view of teaching as an intellectual activity that hinges on "the deliberative ability to reflect on, and make wise decisions about practice." Teaching is assumed to be "complicated and intentional." Treating teaching as an inquiry process is tied to the view of learning as the construction of meaning. An inquiry-based view of teaching suggests that the role of professional development is to provide processes that prompt teachers to construct their questions and begin to develop courses of action that are valid in local contexts. Teachers, thus, become collaborators. Two examples are provide to illustrate these points and a research agenda is proposed.

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