Publication Details

Booth, E. O. (2005). Inducting pre-service teachers into reflective inquiry and research methods: Contested curriculum and pedagogical spaces. In P. Christie (Eds.), Questioning "best practice" in Education: Benefits and Disadvantages, Debates and Dilemmas (pp. 27-39). Armidale NSW: Centre for Research on Education in Context, University of new England.


The location of research methods within the pre-service teacher education curriculum has been a contentious debate within the writer's Faculty of Education for many years. Concurrently the scope and sequence of the major concepts and skills to be taught in inquiry and research methods and the related pedagogy has also been contentious. This paper attempts to chart some of the dimensions and contentions within these spaces, and links this critique to a discussion about changes in the structure and implementation of new four year Bachelor of Primary Education at the University of Wollongong. A self-study methodology is utilised in conjunction with the views of collegial staff and case study data from a cohort of students who have recently completed the subject. The data and analysis presented is interwoven around two central tensions; what knowledge pre-service teachers need to know and how these dispositions, knowledge and skills are best learnt. The tensions have both a macro dimension within the wider pre- service primary curriculum and a micro perspective in the way an inquiry and research subject can be structured and taught. There has emerged a clear disjunction between the students' initial perceptions and value of the subject against staff assumptions about how important the content and processes are for the students' professional development. In conclusion the paper charts a number of considerations for the enhancement of teaching and learning about inquiry and research in pre-service teacher education. The purpose of this paper is to support a professional critique of teaching inquiry and research methods and the development of a statement of enhanced best practice.

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