Using Action Research in Education
In 2009 as part of my work at the University of Tasmania, I became involved in the award winning Partnership for Teaching Excellence between the Tasmanian Department of Education and the University. I enjoyed working with in particular Ruth Radford, as we joined efforts in making this program work effectively and promote excellent teaching practice. In the final semester we asked students to complete an action research project in their classroom. This was an article written to capture some of their experiences and their successes.
Changing the Gaze
Sharonexplained to me that she was doing her research based on a comment from a colleague teacher whilst observing students at play, the teacher said: “I just can’t gel with that kid”, pointing to a particular child. The concern for Sharon about this particular comment was immediate, and instantly started the questioning process, “What would make a professional educator say such a thing about a student in their care, and what could be done to eradicate such sentiments?” And so began for Sharon her action research journey.
Sharon was one of 20 preservice teachers undertaking their teacher education as part of a new initiative, the Partnership for Teaching Excellence between the Tasmanian Department of Education and the University of Tasmania, Australia. The partnership, piloted in 2009 and continuing through to 2012, is a school district-based teacher residency program. The aims of the partnership are to increase the retention of teachers in high needs schools, to grant extended practice opportunities for pre-service teachers and to assist them in becoming effective and reflective practitioners. The program draws on new trends of combining a school district-based residency, which places teaching practice at the center of teacher preparation, and the development of the preservice teacher as researcher through an action research project (Cochran-Smith & Power, 2010).