Harnessing action research: the
power of network learning
Christopher Day and Mark Hadfield
Contexts clearly matter for teachers' work and for how that work is
experienced. One's teaching, and what one believes is possible and
desirable in one's teaching all vary according to the context in which
the teaching is done.
(McLaughlin and Talbert 1993)
In England schoolteachers and head teachers are faced with a myriad of challenges in coping with the pressures of managing the dynamic and diverse institution which is their school within an imposed, centralized, standards driven change agenda, which has been characterized by increased workloads, intensification, diversification and surveillance. It could be argued that many of the national policies and initiatives over the last 15 years have directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously, undermined the traditional autonomy of teachers. Alongside this, morale has declined among many, and recruitment and retention have become key issues for schools. As part of governments' drive to ensure the effective and efficient implementation of new school and classroom focused initiatives, they have been inundated also with demands to attend professional development courses, which focus on the implementation of imposed initiatives, but have little time or energy for reflection on their practice and reflection on the impact that imposed change is making on pupils' motivation, learning and achievement.