The Power of Learning from Inquiry

Teacher Research as a Professional Development Tool in Multilingual Schools

Aida A Nevárez-La Torre, TESOL Program, Fordham University

A volume in the series: Adult Education Special Topics: Theory, Research and Practice in LifeLong Learning. Editor(s): Kathleen P. King, University of Central Florida.

Published 2010

The power of teacher inquiry is revealed when educators examine their practices with the purpose of making necessary changes to improve the learning opportunities of their multilingual students, and working conditions in schools. Dr. Nevárez-La Torre, proposes a model for conducting classroom inquiry that teachers may follow to pursue important questions about their practice and multilingual students’ learning process.

There are eight chapters in this book divided into three sections. The first section introduces the idea for the book a model for using teacher inquiry as a tool for professional development. The second section includes the analyses of the trajectory followed by three teachers into using teacher inquiry to grow as professionals in ESL and bilingual classrooms. The third section of the book situates professional development using teacher inquiry within a broader theoretical framework and examines some key implications of this work for the education of in-service and pre-service teachers.

"Nevárez-La Torre’s book makes a notable contribution to our understanding of professional development for teachers of ELLs. Her work represents a much needed account of the ways in which teacher inquiry can transform educators’ practices, motivations, and views of themselves and their multilingual students. Of particular significance to researchers and teacher educators are the detailed and contextualized descriptions of the processes of change that the teachers experience as well as the analyses of the catalysts for this change." Daniella Molle University of Wisconsin – Madison

"The value of teacher inquiry is strongly supported by the literature. This volume contributes in new and important ways to this literature. It not only advocates for bringing bilingual teachers to the general discussion about children’s education, but it highlights the benefits of this participation. The background and experiences of bilingual teachers are essential to inform collaborative inquiry projects in urban settings where so many of the students are bilingual." Maria Estela Brisk Lynch School of Education, Boston College

"This book examines teacher inquiry as a staff development process and tool in classrooms and schools with multilingual students. The message throughout the text is that teachers that use reflection and inquiry are prepared to teach and make significant differences in students’ learning environment, linguistic and academic achievement. Nevárez-LaTorre’s book offers not only the foundation of teacher growth but also an intricate and comprehensive understanding of the complexity of teacher reflection, inquiry and action. It is scholarly presented, although using a simple and straightforward language style, making this text of great value for pre-service, inservice teachers and schools." Angela Carrasquillo Fordham University Graduate School of Education