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Transformative Inquiry


welcome the awkwardness


TI was uncomfortable at times, confusing, felt too big and fuzzy but it was intriguing, informative, enlightening and a chance to not have to give a definitive answer. A chance to have time - to reflect, to breathe, to get lost in thought and to not have to know.
Former Student
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Preface to Vignettes


The following vignettes will give you a sense of what the TI process has been like for some of our past course participants. One set of our data includes the mentoring sessions of sixteen participants. This set has been closely analyzed, leading to a working model of TI and to the creation of this iBook. Seven of these data sets were used to create these vignettes.

Data were gathered from the summer of 2010 to the fall of 2012. Most of the students in these vignettes were enrolled at a time when the course was offered after the final practicum at the very end of the teacher education program. You might notice the rich experiences that the final practicum offers to the process. Words in italics are direct quotes from the data, which have all been made anonymous.

There are two aspects of the course that should be described at this point in order to explain the context of the vignettes. First, many of the vignettes refer to a required article by curriculum scholar Cynthia Chambers, Research that matters: Finding a path with heart. In this article, Chambers discusses autobiographical inquiry, a journey that most TI participants eventually take. In particular she considers the importance and difficulty of upholding integrity through the practice of ethos, pathos, and logos – character, emotion and reason. She writes that often, logos overshadows pathos and ethos in academic discourse.

I’m reminded that pathos and ethos matter, too; that listening with open ears and an open heart makes good relations between and among others possible. But how do we learn to listen, how can we hear hearts speaking—our own as well as others? Where do we find what matters, the path with heart? (p.8)


It is just such a journey that TI takes us on.

Second, there is a final assignment, called the Guided Inquiry Conversation (GIC) that all students complete. The GICs happen as part of a final podfest – or celebration of the TI journey. Each person has time (typically 20 minutes or so) to share their TI journey and engage the rest of the class in the things that matter to them as educators. This sharing is explicitly not a presentation. Rather, it is time and space to engage others in your topic in useful ways. For example, you may highlight significant features of your TI journey; asking the group to explore an aspect of your topic that you are still struggling with; or engaging the group in experiential learning of your topic. All these are with an eye towards usefulness within your practice.

Note that embedded in each vignette, students’ journeys are mapped on the TI model introduced in Chapter 1. These diagrams should be seen as accompanying the text to help illustrate the process of TI that the students underwent.


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