Expert Details

Michele Tanaka

Contact Information

Michele Tanaka
Assistant Professor,
Phone Number:
Languages: English
Curriculum and Instruction
Faculty of Education
Elementary Teacher Education

Research Information

Research Description

-Transformative Inquiry
-Pre-service teacher development
-Cross-cultural understanding
-Indigenous learning and teaching
-Holistic education
-Transformative learning
-Mindfulness in education
-Generous listening

Expertise Profile

Teachers in today's schools have so much more to deal with than just lesson plans and marking; they have to attend to the holistic lives of their students.

Education professor Michele Tanaka helps future teachers address the complexities of students' circumstances by teaching "Transformative Inquiry"--a way of mindfully understanding the social, environmental, and personal struggles of each learner. The approach uses Indigenous ideas about relationships to help students and teachers grow through collaboration rather than through competition.

Transformative Inquiry has teachers seek answers to three basic questions: "How can we fix the environmental messes we have created, how do we get along with each other, and how do we care for our souls?"

Dr. Tanaka teaches through practice. She begins her Transformative Inquiry course by having future teachers participate in a "mindfulness walk," where they contemplate their teaching values, and then sit in a circle and share their ideas. The group can then discuss their practicum experiences and professional situations in a non-judgemental manner. Over time, students become increasingly comfortable sharing with and supporting each other.

"One of the things we do is practise different types of listening," says Dr. Tanaka. "The heart of the program is discovering how to learn together, but it's also very personal because you have to know your own beliefs first."

Research Keywords

International Involvement

Countries lived/worked in