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ERIC Number: ED557353
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 29
Problems in Making Significant Changes in Teaching Practice through Action Research
Bognar, Branko
Online Submission, Paper presented at the Council of Europe Pestalozzi Programme, "Action Research in the Function of the Professional Development of Teachers," European Workshop, (Zagreb, Croatia, May 17-20, 2010)
There is a growing literature about conducting an action research that could help achieving significant changes in teachers' practices. Although an action research can contribute obtaining improvements, this process is not straight-line and without obstacles. The text elaborates three problems the author faced with while dealing with the action research in his practice. Firstly, he realized that teachers can hardly become the agents of change without the assistance of others. Actually, teachers who got used to working in a traditional school find it hard to make the first step towards professional emancipation without an experienced leader--be it school pedagogues, advisors, experienced teachers, or even university professors. However, their role is not only to teach teachers how to make changes, but also to be actively involved, as practitioners, in the process of change and in their own learning. Second presumption was that the learning communities can encourage teachers to change. However, the author realized that despite the positive influence the learning community can provide imaginary safe haven to those who are not ready for assuming an active role in the process, hoping that there will always be someone else who will take the initiative. In addition, the sequential process of change, which started with the professional development in learning communities, then continued by introducing changes through action research, and finished with the presentations of good-practice examples and publishing the research results, appeared to be insufficient for accomplishing significant changes. Instead, it is much better to start immediately with making changes through action research, and during the process to intensify the education and critical friendship. In this case, learning communities have much more impact. Finally, author inferred that it is not easy for the teachers to assume the role of a critical friend or an action researcher. The process of casting off the old roles and assuming the new ones takes time and patience and has to overcome the resistance within others, but primarily within ourselves. However, it would be wrong to expect that teachers develop all the necessary competences first and then begin with their research. On the contrary, the action research is an excellent opportunity for learning in different ways. In spite of the problems experienced, the new roles for teachers as critical friends and action researchers could be fruitful in making significant changes. This requires the active involvement of different social factors. Although assuming those new professional roles is not easily achievable, it is worth trying.
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Croatia