Can busy classroom teachers really do action research: an action research study in an EAL [English as Additional Language] tertiary setting
MetadataShow full metadata
Recent literature in general and language teacher education has promoted the benefits of empowering teachers to be in control of their professional development and curriculum development through reflection on practice and classroom based action research. The ‘teacher as researcher’ and ‘teacher as reflective practitioner’ movements are strongly influential in teacher education practice at present (Zeichner, 2001). Edge (2001) argues that action research augments the traditional notion of teachers as professionals who take theory and realize it in practice to include the notion of teachers as professionals who generate theory from practice. But how realistic for busy classroom teachers working in New Zealand conditions is classroom action research? Is this activity useful for such teachers and under what conditions is it possible? This paper describes an action research project carried out to investigate these questions. The participants in the study were a group of EAL classroom teachers at an Auckland tertiary institution, themselves undertaking classroom based action research into the teaching of casual conversation. Significant benefits are reported for teaching and research skill development, but there are also constraints. Recommendations are made with respect to the optimum design and resourcing of such teacher action research projects.