Doing Teacher Research: A Qualitative Analysis of Purposes, Processes and Experiences

Dec. 10, 2009

Source: Educational Action Research, Volume 17, Issue 4 December 2009 , pages 567 - 583.

In this article the authors draw upon 14 semi-structured interviews with the participants in a teacher-researcher project on the theme of 'ensuring African Caribbean attainment'.
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, the authors introduce the project and the specific purposes and motivations of its various stakeholders.

In the second half of the article the authors analyse the challenges and the rewards of participating in the project, including the challenges of facilitating teacher research.
The authors also review the key implications of the research for policy and practice.

The authors 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, the authors 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.

Updated: Jan. 12, 2010