Interweaving Pedagogies of Care and Inquiry: Tensions, Dilemmas and Possibilities

Nov. 10, 2010

Source: Studying Teacher Education, Volume 6, Issue 3, November 2010, pages 235 – 244.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The current paper reports a collaborative self-study designed to examine the practices and experiences of a teacher educator and her students with the support of critical dialogue partners.

The authors explore the tensions and possibilities that arise as a teacher educator attempts to foster both a pedagogy of care (Hackenberg, 2005; Noddings, 1984, 2002) and a pedagogy of inquiry (Nicol, 2006; Wells, 1999) in a mathematics methods course. The authors share these tensions and possibilities from the perspective of the teacher educator and her students during the course.

Context of the Self-Study

The context for this study was a mathematics methods course for a teacher education cohort in a 12-month elementary education at a large Canadian university.

Janice was the instructor for the course and was an experienced mathematics teacher educator (TE) and elementary classroom teacher.
Cynthia, a university faculty member, was also an experienced TE with seven years of mathematics classroom teacher experience.
Feda, with two years of classroom teaching experience, was beginning her doctoral program at the time of this study.

At the beginning of this study, Cynthia and Feda were critical dialogue partners for Janice and all three were members of the self-study teacher education collaborative that met monthly to research their teaching.

The authors followed seven preservice teachers into the practicum field experience and one student into her first year of teaching.

Discussion and Conclusion

The results of this study indicate that the process of mathematical caring relations involves the interplay or dance of attention to students' stimulation and depletion.
Most preservice teachers in the course experienced more stimulation than depletion. It is notable that most preservice teachers in the course reported that the course changed their images about mathematics and how it might be taught.

The results also indicate that preservice teachers described the course as a caring place and the teacher educator as key to creating such a place.
Furthermore, results indicate that preservice teachers can experience a significant shift in their level of anxiety about teaching mathematics with a focus on developing mathematically and pedagogically caring relations.

In addition, a critical friend might be in harmony with the teacher-researcher in ways that indicate willingness and attentiveness to the teacher's mathematical and pedagogical realities.

The authors conclude that a mathematics teacher education course permeated with care and peppered with inquiry has the potential to build preservice teachers' confidence and empowerment as the course develops.

Hackenberg, A. (2005) A model of mathematical learning and caring relations. For the Learning of Mathematics 25:1 , pp. 45-51.

Nicol, C. (2006) Designing a pedagogy of inquiry in teacher education: Moving from resistance to listening. Studying Teacher Education 2:1 , pp. 25-41.

Noddings, N. (1984) Caring: A feminine approach. University of California Press , Berkeley, CA

Noddings, N. (2002) Educating moral people: A caring alternative to character education. Teachers College Press , New York.

Wells, G. (1999) Dialogic inquiry: Towards a sociocultural practice and theory of education Cambridge University Press , Cambridge, UK [ crossref].

Updated: Feb. 13, 2011