Refining Social Justice Through Collaborative Inquiry: Key Rewards and Challenges for Teacher Educators
Collaborative inquiry in education allows scholars and educators to abandon hierarchical approaches to research that often disenfranchise research participants: instead, it enables both researchers and the researched to share power, voice and privilege. This paper discusses the key rewards and challenges of the first two years of a teacher education collaborative inquiry project. Findings show that collaborative inquiry prompted teacher education faculty members to better define their social justice commitments, enhance the coherence of their department’s program, and strengthen their community of practice. While the inquiry process was not easy, engaging in collaborative inquiry characterized by critical reflection, critical dialogue, and community building better positioned teacher educators to be thoughtful and influential change agents within their university and in local K-12 schools. This paper overviews the faculty members’ inquiry process and it pinpoints implications for other teacher educators who wish to engage in similar work.