Hine, G., & Lavery, S. D. (2014). The importance of action research in teacher education programs : Three testimonies. Teaching and Learning Forum 2014: Transformative, Innovative and Engaging.
This paper explores the experiences of three teacher-researchers, 'Simone', 'Damian' and 'Michael', who undertook an Action Research project in their respective schools as part of their postgraduate studies. As Head of Professional Learning, Simone conducted a research project designed to investigate how to improve a Peer Observation Program at her secondary school. Damian, also a Head of Professional Learning, explored ways to improve the profile of the existing Professional Development program at his secondary school, with a particular emphasis on overhauling the Staff Mentor Program. Michael, a Head of Junior School, investigated ways to reduce the number of playground incidents resulting from primary students not adhering to playground policy rules. The paper initially outlines the construct of Action Research in the light of its applicability to educational research. Particular reference is made to the benefits of Action Research for those in the teaching profession as well as to several challenges associated with Action Research. What then follows is the design of the methodology that was used to examine the experiences of Simone, Damian and Michael. The research used a qualitative paradigm, specifically that of interpretivism, and employed a symbolic interactionist perspective to examine each participant's project as an individual case study. Data collection took the form of three 40 minute semi-structured interviews. The findings fall under three major themes: Action Research as a valuable methodology, the impact of the Action Research on the school community, and challenges encountered when conducting the Action Research. The findings are then discussed in the light of the literature.
action research, teacher education