Descriptive Inquiry—At the Intersection of Philosophy and Practice with Guest Cara Furman, PhD

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This episode features Dr. Cara Furman, Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of Maine at Farmington and member of the Graduate Faculty at University of Maine. Dr. Furman’s scholarship focuses on integrating qualitative data and philosophy at the intersection of teacher development, descriptive inquiry, asset-based inclusive teaching, and progressive literacy practices. At the heart of her work is a form of in-depth, descriptive writing that fosters philosophically-informed teacher inquiry. Such descriptive inquiry allows teachers and educational leaders to care for their ethical selves and to develop practical wisdom.

In the book, Descriptive Inquiry in Teacher Practice: Cultivating Practical Wisdom to Create Democratic Schools, Dr. Furman and her co-author Cecelia Traugh offer an in-depth portrait of Descriptive Inquiry as it was integrated into four urban, public schools. Readers gain insight into the power of this process to foster a more collaborative school culture, address the needs of students more substantively, and engage teachers in practice-embedded learning. Particularly noteworthy is the confidence with which teachers and school leaders were able to resist mandates that would be detrimental to students and to work with outside agencies to adapt mandates to the schools’ mission.

In addition to publishing in an impressive range of journals, Dr. Furman co-hosts Thinking in the Midst, a podcast that brings philosophical thinking to bear on contemporary issues. She is currently working with Tomas Rocha, on her second book, Teachers and Philosophy: Essays From a Contact Zone. This edited collection will explore what it means to think and write from the contact zone that is philosophy and practice.

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Speaking of Education Podcast