Inquiry in Tandem

Student and Teacher Learning in Secondary Schools

by Christine Clayton (Author) James Kilbane, Jr. (Author)
©2020 Textbook XVIII, 164 Pages


Inquiry in Tandem explores how engaging in teacher and student inquiry simultaneously impacts teacher practice and student learning in powerful ways. With a focus on secondary schools and all content areas we encourage inquiry because it is good practice. Teachers and students are active doers and thinkers who ask questions, seek information, and develop thoughtful responses. This book presents a model of professional development that fosters this type of deep learning by teachers and students.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Figures
  • Tables
  • Abbreviations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Prologue
  • PART ONE Inquiry as Pedagogy and Professional Development
  • CHAPTER 1 Inquiry for Learning
  • CHAPTER 2 Student Inquiry
  • CHAPTER 3 Teacher Inquiry
  • PART TWO Secondary Teachers and Students as Inquirers
  • Introduction to Part Two
  • CHAPTER 4 Picturing Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning in the Visual Arts Classroom (Lisa DiFilippo)
  • CHAPTER 5 Inquiry and Literacy Across the Content Areas (Jim Nordlinger / Nancy Timpani)
  • CHAPTER 6 Leveraging Student-Directed Learning (Joyce Kong)
  • CHAPTER 7 I Inquire, You Inquire…We All Inquire! (Elena Pousada)
  • Commentary on Part Two
  • PART THREE Reflections on Inquiry in Tandem
  • CHAPTER 8 Facilitating Inquiry for Teachers and Students
  • CHAPTER 9 Learning in Tandem
  • Appendix A—Protocols to Improve Inquiry Designs
  • Appendix B—Design Prompts for Inquiry Learning Experiences
  • Appendix C—Inquiry Plan
  • Appendix D—Sample Student Inquiry and Teacher Inquiry Questions
  • Appendix E—Collaborative Inquiry Group Planning Template
  • Appendix F—Inquiry Results Report
  • Appendix G—Teaching and Learning Conference Presentation
  • About the Authors
  • About the Contributors
  • Index


This book documents a decade of thinking, learning, and writing together. We worked as a team to, first, unfold the design for professional learning that we discuss here and, then, to write about it. In truth, however, our team is much larger than the two of us and we want to acknowledge that here.

We would like to express our gratitude to the many teachers who participated in the professional development over its nine years and the administrators who supported them. Without teachers’ willingness to take risks for their students and share their thinking about it, this book would not be possible. Their commitment to the work served as inspiration to us as we developed the model further and shared it more widely. While we are humbled by the ways we were able to be a part of their professional learning, they should know that they taught us new ways to think about engaging and assessing our own teacher education candidates. The learning was mutual—as it should be.

We also want to offer special acknowledgements to all the teacher leaders and co-facilitators who worked with us over the years to make this work happen in schools. They were true thought partners who helped us develop this program over time. Whatever their roles or prior experience, all took risks by stepping up and leading for inquiry. In particular, we want to call attention to the special contributions made by the teacher leaders who authored their journeys for this book: Lisa, Jim, Nancy, Joyce, and Elena. When we invited them to put on paper some of what we saw in them and their work, we didn’t quite know how it would end up or, even ←xv | xvi→more importantly, when it would end. They took a real risk in saying “yes” as we were embarking on a writing project quite unlike any either of us had done before. Each approached this as the thoughtful teachers we knew them to be, and we learned so much about this work from having them display their thinking in this way. The future of inquiry teaching and learning is bright with such teacher leaders offering us the kind of inspiration and reflection that these teachers do.

Over the years, administrators of the schools with which we partnered also helped to make the work happen and informed the development of this approach. One who stands out is Carol Conklin-Spillane, the former Principal of Sleepy Hollow High School. As a founding principal of the Inquiry Learning Collaborative, Carol is a visionary educational leader who provided input that helped conceptualize our first grant application. Another is Michael Sowiski, a Pace graduate who was involved first as a teacher in the early years of this project and later as an Assistant Principal of Pace High School. Finally, both Emily Hersch and Griselda Reyes, Superintendent and Principal of Mt. Pleasant-Blythedale, were involved early in the grant and they challenged Christine to ensure the model engaged special needs students and their teachers. The partnership that grew out of our association around this work helped us realize an original goal that visualized schools and universities engaging in mutual learning and support.

While the work with teachers and school administrators was rich, we wouldn’t have a book if it weren’t for the influence of two scholar mentors. First, Dr. Gilberto Arriaza gave early feedback on our initial proposal. Christine worked with Gilberto to support teacher inquiry in San Francisco years ago; Gilberto’s deep knowledge of inquiry to promote equity supported our vision for what the outcomes for inquiry should ultimately be. Second, Dr. Nancy Fichtman Dana gave us early encouragement to continue our work into the interplay of student and teacher inquiry. As a discussant at our AERA symposium that featured most of the teacher authors in this book, Nancy first helped us think about writing a book on this work. Nancy, well known for writing about action research with teachers, set an example for us of ways to work with practitioners and also create powerful scholarship about that work. We are deeply indebted to both for mentoring and encouraging us that our work with practitioners had scholarly value.


XVIII, 164
ISBN (Softcover)
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2020 (April)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2020. XVIII, 164 pp., 6 b/w ill., 6 tables

Biographical notes

Christine Clayton (Author) James Kilbane, Jr. (Author)

Christine D. Clayton (Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University) is Associate Professor of Education at Pace University in Pleasantville, New York. She utilized inquiry as a high school history teacher and then engaged in collaborative inquiry with in-service and pre-service teachers through professional development. James F. Kilbane, Jr. (Ph.D., Indiana University) is Clinical Associate Professor of STEM Education at Cleveland State University. He began using inquiry as a middle school teacher. He has deepened his understanding by helping practicing teachers and pre-service teachers inquire for themselves and with their students.


Title: Inquiry in Tandem
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182 pages