Self-Study of Practice
Self-study is an approach to research which enables teacher educators (and other professionals) to reflect on, and scrutinise practice and assumptions about learning, so as to improve pedagogy and to challenge the status-quo within the profession. Underpinning all of this is the intention to further explore deeper understandings of the why of practice (Feldman, 2002). However, as with notions of reflection and reflective practice, defining the nature of self-study research remains complex and “open to individual interpretation” (Schuck, 2002, p. 327). Self-study is defined in multiple ways: as a process to research teacher educator practice and pre-service teachers’ perspectives from the“inside” (Hamilton & Pinnegar, 1998); as a distinct and unique methodology employed by teacher educators to research practice (Hamilton & Pinnegar, 1998); and as systematic and rigorous inquiry into practice, often instigated by a problem, which then leads to the theorising of practice and a deeper understanding of the why of teaching and learning about teaching and learning (Loughran, 2003; Tidwell & Fitzgerald, 2004). Self-study may involve study of an individual, a program or an institution but common to all studies is a challenging of the status-quo in teacher education through rigorous and systematic inquiry into professional practice. A further requirement of self-study is dissemination of research outcomes to the educational community for critique and appraisal (Loughran, 2004a; Loughran & Northfield, 1996; Schuck, 2002).
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