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Practitioner Research in Teacher Education

Theory and Best Practices

Edited By Issa M. Saleh and Myint Swe Khine

Over the past decade there has been increased interest in teachers’ investigation of their own practice in their classrooms. Practitioner research is not a new concept in education and many teachers have attempted to enact and study their own practices with the view of improving teaching effectiveness. However, the findings of many of these studies are often not treated seriously by education scholars and policymakers, and not disseminated to others. In fact, the research process is perceived more as a professional development exercise for teachers to improve upon their own practices. Despite these criticisms, there is growing support for getting teachers to study their practices in the context of their own classrooms. This book has the potential of generating knowledge that not only informs and shapes teachers’ practices and professional development, but also makes the stakeholders aware of critical education issues. Distinct from action research, practitioner research provides the platform for teachers to try out ideas in practice as a means of improvement and of increasing knowledge about curriculum, teaching, and learning, and the ways of transforming them.

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PART III PRACTITIONER RESEARCH: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

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181 CHAPTER 10 Opportunities and Obstacles in Action Research as a Pathway to Developing as a Practitioner Researcher Reyes L. Quezada Heather Lattimer Joi Spencer Abstract: This chapter will illuminate the opportunities and obstacles in the preparation of teachers/educators as practitioner researchers within a Masters Degree Program. It includes faculty and teachers/educators perspec- tives on the development and transition of practitioner action research projects as a way of developing as reflec- tive practitioners. The purpose of utilizing action research in this degree program is to develop the skills to be- come practitioner researchers who are able to more effectively implement pedagogically sound teaching and learning practices in their own classrooms. A discussion includes perspective on the faculty role in teaching teacher/educators how to conduct action research in their own classrooms. The discussion addresses four areas of tension related to engaging graduate students in practitioner action research. These include: (1.) The balance between honoring the sanctity of action research as defined by the field while simultaneously adapting expecta- tions to meet the learning demands of new teachers, (2.) The challenge of supporting novices in asking ques- tions and developing a research agenda that looks at substantive concerns within the classroom, (3.) The obsta- cles posed by the demands of school sites that are not consistently conducive to practitioner-ownership of action research, and (4.) The limitations of practitioner research in addressing the sociocultural concerns that were more typically contained within the traditional research thesis. Suggestions on implications for practice and pol- icy...

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