chapter  38
Exploratory practice
Integrating research into regular pedagogic activities
WithInés K. Miller, Maria Isabel Azevedo Cunha
Pages 13

Within the horizon of language Teacher Development, Exploratory Practice is a viable form of Practitioner Research, aligned with contemporary critical Applied Linguistics and in theoretical dialogue with other modes of Practitioner Research, such as Reflective Practice and Action Research. Exploratory Practice is a principled inquiry-based framework for pedagogy or research that prioritizes: integration when working to understand local puzzles, inclusivity among involved practitioners, as well as ethics and criticality. Integration constitutes the backbone of Exploratory Practice, since its principles propose an inextricable involvement of exploratory practitioners (teachers, students and other professionals) as they work for understanding their teaching and learning experience while it goes on. Thus, co-practitioners work collegially to understand their learning/educational/professional environments by integrating an investigative perspective into regular pedagogic and professional activities. In this chapter, we present and discuss a typical workshop or course, in which teachers are encouraged to raise puzzles about their teaching and learning practices, discuss their narratives about their classroom lives, adapt their regular activities so as to explore what goes on in their workplaces, and share their understandings in the form of multimodal posters. Based on our long-term experience in the development of Exploratory Practice, we perceive that teachers and students find it challenging to believe in themselves as practitioners of learning and as developing learners. They tend to accept society’s mistrust in students’ and teachers’ capabilities to act autonomously and do not appear to feel confident about their language competencies or their capacity to reflect critically upon pedagogic matters.