Re: [xmca] Action Research: Generalisable learning

From: Ana Paula B. R. Cortez <apbrcortez who-is-at>
Date: Wed Aug 08 2007 - 18:02:48 PDT

Very interesting, indeed! I personally find this kind of research fascinating, not only because there's an opportunity to look at the school environment being part of it, but also as "an outsider", from a different perspective. I tend to analyse collected data as if the person teaching those lessons were another one, but myself. It's a way of solving teaching-learning practice problems, reflecting upon approaches and methodologies and, above all, finding ways to transform realities. In my opinion, it's a great chance of coming up with alternatives to overcome social barriers (now quoting Kincheloe, 1993. A formação do professor como compromisso político - mapeando o pós-moderno. Porto Alegre: Artes Médicas - sorry, I only have the reference in Portuguese).
  Besides, I include students in the analysis as well: I show them video taped classes for us to debate so that they also get to know a bit about the theory and they can criticize what they see (isn't that our intention to educate students to become critical citizens? So why not actively including them in the study?). In this way, the multiplicity of voices generating conflict and discussion enriches the analysis and expand the activity itself. I mean, in my case, teaching EFL in a Brazilian bilingual school, this is the ultimate opportunity to transform the language as a tool for a result into a tool and result (as defined by Newman and Holzman, 1993. Vygotsky - Revolutionary Scientist).
Mike Cole <> escreveu:
  This is an ongoing discussion the the action research list that ought to be
of interest to several of us.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jack Whitehead
Date: Aug 7, 2007 3:28 AM
Subject: Re: [arlist-l] Generalisable learning
To: Action research list

[ Converted to plain text. -- B. ]

On 6 Aug 2007, at 23:35, David Tripp (by way of Bob Dick) wrote:

However, as the purpose of action research is improved practice,
when- and where-ever improved practice is achieved and others get
to know about it, they tend to try it too, and so the practice is
generalised as it moves from "it happened once here" to "it
happens, here, there and everywhere!" and that's so much more
relevant and important in terms of the method than categorical
generalisation of other kinds of research.

I do like the idea that practice is generalised as it moves is the way David
describes above. You can follow this kind of generalisation from Chapter 6
Kevin Eames' narrative of his action research in one school from 1991:


This chapter deals with another aspect of my practice as an action
researcher, and moves beyond my own classroom to my work with colleagues at
Wootton Bassett School. In contrast to the two preceding chapters, the focus
has shifted back to my own practice, although at the time of writing, in the
autumn of 1991, I had been seconded to work with the advisory service of
Wiltshire LEA. The account I give here, therefore, is not concerned with the
current advisory work in which I was involved, but with events which had
taken place some time before.


into Jacqueline Delong's action research between 1996-2002 into her work as
a Superintendent of Schools in Ontario, generating a culture of inquiry in
support of teacher action research in a whole school board in her narrative
of her"



and into Moira Laidlaw's action research between 2000-2006 in China's
Experimental Centre for Educational Action Research in Foreign Language's
Teachers, hosted by Ningxia Teachers University, at:

When David describes ' the purpose of action research is improved practice',
I'm not sure if knowledge-creation is included in what is meant by 'improved
practice'. I tend to make a distinction between the questions I ask in
researching to improve my educational influences with my students in
questions such as, 'How do I improve my practice?' and the educational
knowledge I generate as I explain my educational influences in my own
learning, in the learning of others and in the learning of the social
formations in which I live and work. I stress the importance in action
research of both improving my practice and of enhancing the educational
knowledge-base through my contributions to educational theory. In my
understandings of generalisability in action research I use the idea that
practice is generalised as it moves in the way David describes, I also use
an idea of generalisability when I see that ideas generated in one context
by an action research are being acknowledged as !
of use in the narrative of another action research who is working and
researching in a different context.

Love Jack.

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Received on Wed Aug 8 18:04 PDT 2007

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