The Influence of Practitioner Research on Teacher Candidates' Beliefs

Open Access
Higgins, Mary E
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
September 22, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Bernard Joel Badiali, Dissertation Advisor
  • Rachel Marie Wolkenhauer, Committee Chair
  • Gwendolyn Monica Lloyd, Committee Member
  • Dana Lynn Mitra, Committee Member
  • Dana Lynn Mitra, Outside Member
  • teacher education
  • practitioner inquiry
  • belief development
ABSTRACT This phenomenological study investigates the ways in which practitioner inquiry influences preservice teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning. The study followed five teacher candidates (interns) completing an internship in a K-4 Professional Development School (PDS). This study focused on the interns’ engagement in practitioner inquiry and how their inquiry experiences influenced their belief development. Data was collected during the spring of 2016 and consisted of two rounds of semi-structured interviews, researcher notes, the interns’ teaching platforms, and inquiry reports. A thematic analysis was conducted (Braun & Clarke, 2006) to identify and describe how practitioner inquiry influenced interns’ beliefs about teaching and learning. Results indicate that practitioner inquiry is a means for preservice teacher belief development in the following ways: 1) Inquiry is a means for self-investment in preservice teacher learning to support the authenticity of beliefs. 2) Inquiry is a means for deepening and expanding preservice teachers’ understandings of what is happening in their classrooms to support the complexity of beliefs. 3) Inquiry is a means for learning about students in order to implement student-centered practices that support the enactment of beliefs. 4) Inquiry is a means for developing professionalism to support the empowerment of beliefs.  5) Inquiry is a means for influencing preservice teachers’ teaching stance to support the transferability of beliefs. The results of this study extend understandings about the use of practitioner inquiry in teacher education to support teacher candidate belief development.