Action Research: a strategy for teacher change and school development?

Haggarty, Linda and Postlethwaite, Keith (2003). Action Research: a strategy for teacher change and school development? Oxford Review of Education, 29(4) pp. 423–448.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0305498032000153016

Abstract

This paper is concerned with the reflections of two lecturers from higher education who worked through several cycles of action research with a group of teachers in a school over a period of eight years trying to improve learning in the school. Very many of the factors identified in the literature as being essential for sustained change were in place, and there were successful outcomes associated with each cycle of action. Nevertheless, our reflections on the whole process highlight some complexities of working with teachers in this way. In this paper we examine the difficulty of attending to contextual factors within the project; we identify links between teacher change and perceptions of risk; we explore a confusion which emerged over the role of such a group within the school. In addition, we argue that the deficit approach which characterises action research is unhelpful to some teachers.

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