Tools for inquiry and the role of feedback in teacher learning

Vivienne Baumfield, Elaine Hall, Steve Higgins, Kate Wall

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper investigates how the use of tools designed to elicit, record and analyse the development of students’ awareness of their own learning processes supports teacher inquiry and subsequent professional learning. Data is drawn from the Learning to Learn (L2L) Phase 3 Evaluation, a three year collaborative action research project. Participants are drawn from 25 schools in England and represent a range of school contexts (Higgins et al. 2006). The project was designed to enable teachers to increase their students’ awareness of their own learning within a broad dispositionallyfocused pedagogical framework. The data set consists of over 60 case studies reporting the impact of action research on student learning and teachers’ own professional development; 30 semistructured teacher interviews from each annual action research cycle; annual cross-project analysis and a three-year overview conducted by the University partner and a teacher questionnaire completed towards the end of the last year of the project. In addition, informal channels of communication (email and personal contacts with teachers), whilst limitations as a reliable source of evidence are acknowledged, they have been included in the process of interpretation. Analysis focuses on the role of feedback in teachers’ learning through three dimensions: from the students as part of the pedagogical encounter; from colleagues within the context of the action research projects; from the university researchers in their capacity as ‘critical friends’. Links between the tools used, the source and content of the feedback, teacher characteristics and appraisal of their own learning are mapped from a ‘second order perspective’ derived from the diverse data sources. The resulting taxonomy contributes to our understanding of what is transmitted, negotiated and constructed through the feedback loops and interactions and the extent to which participation in the project has enabled the teachers to develop a language for learning.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventEuropean Association for Research into Learning and Instruction (EARLI) Conference - Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 28 Aug 20071 Sept 2007


ConferenceEuropean Association for Research into Learning and Instruction (EARLI) Conference


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