Looking in the Mirror of Inquiry: Knowledge in Our Students and in Ourselves

Lane Glisson, Shane McConnell, Mahatapa Palit, Jason Schneiderman, Cynthia Wiseman, Lyle Yorks


At a large, urban community college located in the Northeastern
United States, a group of faculty interested in helping students assume agency in their own learning used the methodology of Collaborative Inquiry (CI) as a way to examine the factors that help or hinder this process. Unexpected was the epistemological shift they underwent as a result of the CI process. The group had hoped to find ways to make students less passive, starting with the question “How do we make students into makers of knowledge?” The CI methodology, however, required the faculty to examine themselves and their own relationship with the process of knowledge-making. Through the inquiry process, which required participants to question their own assumptions, they realized that, even though they considered themselves makers of knowledge within their respective fields, they had approached this knowledge-making
process quite passively. The group members thus found themselves involved in a Collaborative Inquiry process that they hadn’t initially fully understood but which required that they become active makers of knowledge. As a result, members rejected many of the assumptions implicit in the original question and began to approach the challenge of teaching and learning more actively, more respectfully, and with more humility. This article offers a narrative of this group’s process, the conclusions they reached, a set of reflections, and considerations that others using the CI process for professional development oriented inquiries may find useful.

collaborative inquiry, second
person inquiry, action research, experiential learning,
transformative learning

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.2.1.7

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Teaching & Learning Inquiry is the official journal of the
International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL)