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  • Writer's pictureallisonjolester

Inquiry Mode: The Pedagogical Harry Potter Choosing His Wand!



Hello! Fasten your seatbelts and prep your inquisitive minds as we dive into the mesmerizing world of inquiry modes. Picture yourself as Harry Potter in Ollivanders Wand Shop. Just as every wizard needs a wand that fits their unique magic, every teacher-researcher needs an inquiry mode that resonates with their unique research question.


Choosing the right mode of inquiry is like finding the perfect pair of shoes for a marathon - you want something that fits your stride, supports you on the course, and carries you through to the finish line. So, let's explore a few "fit-for-purpose" modes of inquiry that can add a dash of magic to your teacher research project!


1. Action Research: The Wizard's Practical Magic Think of action research as the "wingardium leviosa" of research methods—it lifts your teaching practice off the ground and allows you to hover, observing your pedagogical magic from new perspectives. It involves identifying a problem, strategizing a solution, implementing it, and then observing and reflecting on the results. It's a cyclical, reflective process, perfect for teachers who want to improve their practice.


2. Case Study: The Wizard's Magnifying Glass A case study lets you examine a specific "case" in your teaching environment—an individual student, a classroom, a program—just like examining a magical artifact under a magnifying glass. This method lets you delve deep into the complexities and nuances of a single situation. It's an excellent choice if you want to explore the depth of a specific phenomenon.


3. Surveys and Questionnaires: The Wizard's Crystal Ball Surveys and questionnaires let you glean insights directly from your students—the recipients of your teaching magic. They can help you understand student perceptions, attitudes, and experiences. It's like using a crystal ball to get a glimpse of how your magic is being received!


4. Observational Research: The Wizard's Invisibility Cloak In observational research, you'll don the metaphorical invisibility cloak to observe and document behaviors, interactions, and events in your educational setting without intervening. This method is excellent for gathering data in its most natural and spontaneous form.


Choosing the perfect mode of inquiry for your project is not a matter of simply picking the shiniest wand off the shelf. It's about matching the inquiry mode to your unique research question, your teaching environment, and your capacity.


Here are a few magical tips for choosing your mode:


1. Align with your Research Question: Your research question is your guiding star. Ensure the method you choose aligns with what you want to explore.


2. Be Mindful of Resources: Consider the time, effort, and support each method requires. Do you have the resources to conduct an in-depth case study? Or would a survey be more manageable?


3. Reflect on Your Comfort Zone: Your comfort and familiarity with a method matter. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be fruitful, but don't choose a method that feels like a monumental struggle.


4. Seek Collaborative Support: Discuss with your peers, mentors, or my personal favorite - online communities of teacher-researchers. Others' experiences and insights can help guide your choice.


Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. Like Harry Potter, you might need to try out a few different 'wands' to find the one that resonates with your magic. But once you do, oh the places you'll go, the insights you'll discover, and the enchanting difference you'll make in your teaching practice!


So, go forth pedagogical Potters, may your inquiry mode be your magic wand.


Till next time, happy researching!

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