Action Research for Educational Change

Action Research for Educational Change

Action Research for Educational Change

Action Research for Educational Change

Synopsis

This book is concerned with action research as a form of teacher professional development. In it, John Elliot traces the historical emergence and current significance of action research in schools. He examines action research as a "cultural innovation" with transformative possibilities for both the professional culture of teachers and teacher educators in academia and explores how action research can be a form of creative resistance to the technical rationality underpinning government policy. He explains the role of action research in the specific contexts of the national curriculum, teacher appraisal and competence-based teacher training.

Excerpt

This book is about action research as a form of teacher professional development. It begins with the emergence of action research in the context of school initiated change in the 1960s (Chapter 1) and goes on to look at the methodological issues of facilitating it as a form of professional learning in schools (Chapter 2). The case studies in Chapter 2 are based on the author's own experience as a facilitator in three projects spanning over a decade and a half from 1967 to 1983. During that period he was located in higher-education institutions which have played a major role in sustaining the teachers-asresearchers movement within the UK. Yet he experienced the tensions between the clashing professional cultures of teachers and academics. Chapters 3,4 and 5 focus on action-research as a cultural innovation' with transformative possibilities for both the professional culture of teachers and teacher educators in academe. They attempt to identify some of the problems of effecting this transformation, and thereby resolving the theory-practice issue (see Chapter 3) which has bedevilled discussions about the role of higher-education institutions in the professional development of teachers. Elliott claims that we are now at a point where policy initiatives are denying the value ofthat role.

The 'resolution' of the theory-practice issue is being shaped by government initiatives which are essentially part of a new technology of surveillance and control over teachers' practices in classrooms and schools. Within this technology the role of the teacher is in danger of being deprofessionalized and reduced to that of a supervised technical operative. The tasks of educators become specialized and hierarchized.

Chapter 4 describes such a development which is destabilizing and eroding the traditional craft culture of teachers. But in doing so it is creating the conditions for the spread of a more reflective culture, which emerges as a form . . .

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