Supporting Professional Learning through Teacher Educator Enquiries: An Ethnographic Insight into Developing Understandings and Changing Identities

Mar. 10, 2010

Source: Professional Development in Education, Vol. 36, Nos. 1–2, (March 2010), pp. 169–195. (Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this paper is to share how pedagogic practice nurturing an Enquiry Design learning community can support teacher educators, enhancing their research understanding and developing their researcher identity through a socially mediated educative process. The framework of the module is designed to support teacher educators’ creativity in thinking and reflecting on their areas of research interest to shape and develop an enquiry. The article provides an ethnographic insight to the nature of seven teacher educators’ research-led learning journeys.

Research questions

The ethnographic approach utilised reflective narratives to explore the following research questions:
1. How does a research design module (at EdD level) support development of researcher identity for teacher educators?
2. How do teacher educators’ perceptions of research change through active involvement on a research design module?
3. What transformative professional learning about research is evidenced from teacher educators through engagement in Enquiry Design?


This study gathered evidence from written, spoken and visual narratives;
firstly, through exploration of visual metaphors at the onset of the research designing process; secondly, through examination of research designs that demonstrate participants’ learning journeys;
and thirdly, through participant reflective narrative that provided an insider perspective on the nature and effectiveness of development activities set within the context of a supportive peer environment.
Triangulation of the analysis will be achieved through the co-authors engaging in reflective discourse about the nature of socially constructed teacher educator identities.


The findings of the study indicate how a social constructivist approach to teaching research design can support teacher enquiries focused on a range of issues including developing the nature of reflectivity, enhancing professional learning, emancipating practice, enhancing constructive collaborative discussions, improving problem-solving pedagogy, making judgements about effectiveness of training and supporting affective accreditation.

Applying interpretative lenses to reflective narratives, including the use of visual metaphors, illuminates the meanings made of and through research endeavours, whilst also revealing the development of researcher identity. Analysis of the metaphors and other textual artefacts uncovered aspects of, and progress in, personal and professional learning related to research.

The article argues that shared meaning-making processes supported teacher educators whilst endeavouring to achieve parallel research goals when embarking on a research learning journey. Development of beliefs about research and researcher identity were transactional rather than transmissional, subjectively complex and dynamic rather than technical, and paid much more attention to the process rather than the ‘end product’.

Updated: Mar. 21, 2010