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Doing teacher research: a qualitative analysis of purposes, processes and experiences
Article from Journal
Educational Action Research vol. 17 no. 04 (Dec. 2009)
African Caribbean Attainment
In this paper we draw upon 14 semi-structured interviews with the participants in a teacher-researcher project on the theme of ‘ensuring African Caribbean attainment’ with the aim of shedding light on the purposes, processes and lived experiences of teacher research in a difficult and contentious intellectual and practical domain. After briefly reviewing the history and policy background of teacher research in England, we introduce the project and the specific purposes and motivations of its various stakeholders. In the second half of the paper we analyse the challenges and the rewards of participating in the project, including the challenges of facilitating teacher research, and we review the key implications of the research for policy and practice. We conclude that, in trying to make teacher research happen in a way that is meaningful and productive for those involved (whether as facilitators or teacher researchers), three things have to be negotiated at once: new roles for academic facilitators, new dimensions of teacher roles, and a viable conception of research that is authentically teacher research. All of these things involve rethinking assumptions about what it means to be a teacher and an academic and what is meant by research. Drawing on the lessons of this project, we suggest that the central challenge of building successful teacher research is the creation of genuine partnerships, characterised by respectful and critical dialogue, between university staff and teacher researchers.
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