Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice 13:1 (February 2007), pp. 21-41. DOI: 10.1080/13540600601106047 Copyright © 2007 Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


Teaching and learning continues to be driven by a version of professionalism that construes practice to be a form of applied science. This paper challenges that paradigm. In particular, subjecting and assimilating practical activity to a technical mode of rationality is challenged as not being the most appropriate way to approach teaching, learning, and the process that drives both of these phenomena, inquiry. Middle school science classrooms provide the contexts to explore the situated consequences of embracing the terms of inquiry. Placing inquiry at the core of the thinking and experiences of middle school science educators as a philosophical/theoretical/practical educative process to be worked with, and concomitantly, working as dynamic practice, yields working notions to be necessarily embedded, cultivating, sustaining, and nurturing inquiry in teachers’ practices. As teachers experimented directly with the working notions of seeing, relational knowing, mindful embodiment, and assessment as interrelated and interdependent with inquiry, the teaching/ learning outcomes authorized more and more inquiry in teachers’—and then students’— practices. An operative and active professional model emerges out of these working notions with the lived terms of inquiry identified as participatory in nature, vigilant to the question(s) in which the inquiry originates, organic in form, and always turning back on self, as catalysts in support of inquiry.