Collaborative Action Research and Project Work: Promising Practices for Developing Collaborative Inquiry among Early Childhood Preservice Teachers

May. 16, 2007

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 23, Issue 4, May 2007, P. 418-431 

Excerpts from case studies of two preservice teaching teams exemplify a new approach for merging research and practice within an introductory early childhood methods course. Through participation in cycles of collaborative action research focused on the joint task of implementing long-term projects, preservice teachers evidenced change in the ways they participated in and developed an inquiry-oriented teaching stance.

In particular, changes included (1) an increased awareness of the value and need to share responsibility with teammates for making curriculum decisions, (2) early attempts to self-regulate teaching behaviors through reflection-in-action, and (3) an appreciation for and use of documentation in making visible and public the relationship between teacher thinking, practice, and children's learning.

While changes in level of reflectivity and practice are noted and valued, the ways in which preservice teachers’ participation begins to change may be as valuable an indicator of preservice teacher development as the possession of new knowledge and skills.

Updated: May. 12, 2008