Developing Professional Practice through Action Research: Theory-Generative Approaches in Practitioner Research

Mary McAteer

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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    Key theoretical approaches in this chapter: Action research and reflective practice Carr (2005) discusses the practice of theorising practice as one akin to the Aristotelian concept of practical philosophy. His discussion of the tensions between practical relevance and academic rigour reveals a pair of polar opposites, each discussion being conceived and articulated separately, and aimed at two separate audiences, which, he claims, gives an impression of the pair having irreconcilable aims and purposes. In reflecting on his own professional life and practice, he highlights the need for context-dependant practical concerns in theorising. Bridges (2003) discusses the centrality not only of philosophy, but of philosophising in action research, and recounts the extent to which Elliott’s (1991) model of action research requires an exploration of personal philosophy, and also enquiry into the consequences of practice. He reminds us that it is easy to both see and represent action research contrasting with, or oppositional to philosophical approaches to practice, and directs us back to such a philosophising and theorising articulation. Action research is therefore considered in this chapter as that process which serves to consider, reflect on and analyse practice. Carr (2005) suggests that it is the most appropriate way to understand the role of educational theory in the professional development of teachers in that it simultaneously changes and theorises the changes in practice. Key Texts Bridges, D. (2003) A Philosopher in the Classroom, Educational Action Research, 11 (2), 181-196 Carr, W. and Kemmis, S. (1986) Becoming Critical: Education, Knowledge and Action Research, London, The Falmer Press. Elliott, J. (1991) Action research for educational change, Milton Keynes, Open University Press.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationApplying Theory to Educational Research: An Introductory Approach with Case Studies
    EditorsJ. Adams, M. Cochrane, L. Dunne
    Place of PublicationOxford
    Number of pages252
    ISBN (Print)978-0-470-97235-9
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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