A collaborative narrative inquiry: Two teacher educators learning about narrative inquiry

  • Gary Barkhuizen
  • Penny Hacker


With its capacity to unharness the power of narrative to promote meaning-making of lived experience, narrative inquiry is developing as a credible approach to research in several areas in the field of language teaching (Johnson, 2006). This article tells the story of two narrative researchers working in language teacher education who engaged in a collaborative narrative inquiry as both participants and inquirers, in order to learn more about narrative inquiry. The ‘bounded’ nature of their inquiry design provided a feasible way for them to explore their focus of research (i.e. their learning about narrative inquiry), and led them, through an iterative and reflexive process of analysing their narrative data, to formulate what they believe are essential ingredients of principled narrative inquiry work. Four narrative inquiry variables became the scaffolding which enabled them to answer their research questions, and are offered here as a heuristic for teaching practitioners, whether they be teachers, teacher educators or researchers, to guide them in narrative inquiries into their own work.


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Author Biographies

Gary Barkhuizen
Gary Barkhuizen works in the Department of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His teaching and research interests are in the areas of sociolinguistics, language teacher education and learner language. He has published in a wide range of international journals, is author of Analysing Learner Language (OUP, 2005, with Rod Ellis) and is Assistant Editor of Language Teaching Research.  (Email:  g.barkhuizen@auckland.ac.nz )  
Penny Hacker
Penny Hacker is Head of the English Language Self-Access Centre at the University of Auckland.  Her postgraduate and doctoral research focused on language teacher learning and language teacher educator learning respectively.  Now she is turning her attention to language learning issues facing EAL students studying in a predominantly English-medium institution. (Email:  p.hacker@auckland.ac.nz)