Towards Quality Improvement of Action Research

Developing Ethics and Standards

Edited by Ben Boog, Meindert Slager, Julia Preece and Jacques Zeelen

This book offers perspectives and challenges for action research in contemporary society with a particular reflection on ethics and standards. On the one hand the world is becoming smaller and much more open with tremendous opportunities for international exchange and multi-cultural enrichment. On the other hand the divide between the poor and the rich is deepening, international tensions are growing and the sustainability of the environment is under considerable threat on a worldwide basis. These trends are challenging politicians, civil society and social movements to search for problem solving strategies to deal with the risks of exclusion, poverty, social and physical insecurity and environmental deprivation.
The intriguing question is what role action research could play in order to address these challenges? Action research has something to offer because it favours the connection between knowledge production and social change by means of partnerships between researchers, practitioners and a variety of client stakeholders. The focus is on providing the means to improve people’s self determination - to empower them in their roles as professional practitioners or citizens in the diverse social domains in which they live and work. Participatory action research and learning processes enable participants to improve the impact of services and programs in education, health care, urban and regional development, business, agriculture, arts, care of the elderly, leisure and many other spheres of social life.
The approach of action research, which is rooted among others in the work of John Dewey and Kurt Lewin, covers nowadays a landscape of different concepts such as participatory action research, cooperative inquiry and action learning, to mention just a few. In this book scholars from those divergent concepts of action research present and discuss instructive examples of action research practices from developed as well developing countries. Special attention is paid to the vital issue of how this type of research can be conducted in a participatory, responsible, transparent and scientific way.

Towards Scientific Literacy

A Teachers' Guide to the History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science

Derek Hodson

This book is a guide for teachers, student teachers, teacher educators, science education researchers and curriculum developers who wish to get to grips with the vast and complex literature encompassing the history of science, philosophy of science and sociology of science (HPS). A number of books cover essentially the same ground, but what makes this book unique is that it is written from the perspective of science education. The author’s purpose is twofold. First, to identify, clarify and critique elements in the HPS literature that are of key importance in developing students’scientific and technological literacy, as defined in the opening chapter of the book. Second, to enhance teachers’ capacity to build and present curricula that afford a much higher profile to HPS than has been traditional. The significance of the book can be judged from the prominence given to nature of science understanding in much recent international debate and writing in science education and in the plethora of influential reports on science and technology education published around the world that identify HPS knowledge and understanding as central components of 21st century science education.

Transformative Teaching

Promoting Transformation Through Literature, the Arts, and Jungian Psychology

Darrell Dobson

This is a book that supports teachers, teacher educators and educational researchers as they strive for ways to make their work more authentic, more meaningful, and therefore more spiritual. Dobson describes the practices of exemplary teachers, offers a theoretical framework for transformative teaching, and includes useful examples that the reader can readily include in her own teaching and/or research. Dobson offers two innovative methods of teacher reflectivity (Interacting Narratives and Archetypal Reflectivity) and an original methodology of teaching literature and the arts that draws on the insights of depth psychology. Interwoven throughout the book is Dobson’s own story, that of an ‘at-risk’student who was deeply affected by his high school experiences with drama and literature.
The book will be of interest to teachers in all fields but particularly in literature and the arts. It will appeal to teacher educators, educational researchers, those interested in analytical psychology, those interested in narrative approaches to teacher education, and those interested in narrative approaches to educational research. It will be useful in courses that focus on the construction of teachers’ professional knowledge and reflective practices as well as methodology classes in literature, drama, and all the arts. The book will also be of interest in qualitative, arts-based research methodology classes.

Whose Learning is it?

Developing Children as active and responsible learners


Jo Osler and Jill Flack

As this book by Jo Osler and Jill Flack makes clear, professional learning has a critical edge in terms of what it means not only for teachers’ practice but also for students’ learning. These two highly skilled teacher researchers illustrate what is possible when professionals choose to develop and extend their own knowledge in ways that are driven by their concern for the development of their own professional practice in innovative and creative ways.
As one reads through the chapters that comprise the remarkable journey that Jo and Jill have had together and have consolidated through writing this book, it becomes immediately obvious that their knowledge, skills and ability combine in ways that lead to meaningful new insights into teaching and learning. Their work is challenging, thought provoking and ground breaking in the way that it both speaks to the world of teaching and learning and creates a vision for the development of teachers and teaching more generally.

Rethinking Education with ICT

New Directions for Effective Practices

Edited by Nicola Yelland, Greg A. Neal and Eva Dakich

This book brings together a number of academics who have conducted research and written about effective practices and pedagogies that incorporate the use of information and communications technologies (ICT). The book is intended for graduate and undergraduate students in Teacher Education programmes, as well as teachers and those who are interested in contemporary educational issues. The authors in this book have been engaged in rethinking education with ICT. Implicit in this, is the view that we need to reconceptualise our pedagogies and practices in order to make schools relevant to the lives of the young people who inhabit them. The chapters in this book are based on empirically grounded research work. The chapters illustrate the various dimensions of innovative practices with ICT that can extend teachers’ pedagogies and engage learners so that they are able to extend their potential for knowledge building in new and dynamic ways.


Edited by Mordechai Gordon and Thomas V. Brien

This book addresses both the concerns of teacher candidates and their misconceptions about the relation of theory and practice in education. The contributors to this volume share the belief that theories provide teachers with a frame of reference and a language with which to name and critically analyze many of the problems they face daily. The significance of theory is in its ability to define the problems that teachers face, clarify their confusions, and suggest possible solutions to these problems. Once educational theories are viewed as guides to thought and instruments of interpretation rather than as established facts, it becomes clear that they cannot simply be plugged into a particular classroom. Instead, a theory must be applied in more nuanced and contextual ways, taking into account the social-historical context in which it was created as well as the various particulars of each classroom situation. Experienced educators and scholars in the field have been recruited to write essays that speak to the relevance of different theories in philosophy, psychology, sociology, English, history, science, art, technology, and multiculturalism for the practice of teaching.
This book would appeal to teacher educators, teacher candidates, and teachers in general.

Doing Teacher-Research

A Handbook for Perplexed Practioners


Wolff-Michael Roth

There are many teachers who think about doing research in their own classes and schools but who are perplexed by what appears to be involved. This book is intended for these perplexed practitioners, to provide them with an easily understandable narrative about the concrete praxis of doing research in their classrooms or in those of their teacher peers teaching next door or in the same school. The fundamental idea underlying this book is to provide an easily accessible but nevertheless intellectually honest text that allows teachers to increase their agency with respect to better understanding their praxis and the events in their classrooms by means of research.
The author draws on his experience of doing teacher-research while being a high school teacher and department head. Roth uses six concrete research studies that he has conducted alone or with peers to describe the salient parts of any teacher-researcher investigation including: what topic to study; issues of ethics and permissions from students, school, and parents; how and what sources to collect; how to structure resources; how to construct data from the materials; how to derive claims; and how to write a report/research study. Roth chose the case-based approach because cases provide the details necessary for understanding why and how he, as teacher-researcher, has made certain decisions, and what he would do differently today. Using this case-based approach, he allows readers to tie methods choices to situations that they likely are familiar with.


Toward a Zen Mind in Learning and Teaching


Domenico Masciotra, Wolff-Michael Roth and Denise Morel

This book is addressed to all those in the field of education or related fields, including teachers, teacher-trainers, consultants, and researchers, who are interested in exploring the question, “What does it mean to know, to learn and to teach?” Contrary to popular conceptions, an enactive perspective assumes that knowing and learning are not disembodied operations that take place solely in a person’s head. Rather, they are a function of the whole person who is firmly situated in the world and who acts in the world to transform it, just as she is transformed by it. The dynamic and transformational nature of knowing and learning are reflected in the relationship between the person and her world, a relationship that evolves through acting in and with the world rather than abstracting oneself from it. Knowing develops as a function of the person’s availability, that is, her full involvement and presence in the here- and-now. The aim of education is thus to foster the development of this relationship in a never-ending quest for deep interiority with the world.
Drawing on their experiences as teachers, curriculum developers, students, Zen practitioners, karateka, bicyclists, hobby mathematicians, and gardeners, the authors provide many concrete examples of what it means to think about knowing and learning in terms of enaction and how teachers and curriculum developers who take enactivism seriously might go about designing and implementing lessons.

How should I know?

Preservice Teachers' Images of Knowing (by Heart ) in Mathematics and Science


Kathleen T. Nolan

Elementary preservice teachers’school experiences of mathematics and science have shaped their images of knowing, including what counts as knowledge and what it means to know (in) mathematics and science. In this book, preservice teachers’ voices challenge the hegemony of official everyday narratives relating to these images.
The book is written as a parody of a physical science textbook on the topic of light, presenting a kaleidoscope of elementary preservice teachers’ narratives of knowing (in) mathematics and science. These narratives are tied together by the metaphorical thread of the properties of light, but also held apart by the tensions and contradictions with/in such a critical epistemological exploration. Through a postmodern lens, the only grand narrative that could be imag(in)ed for this text is one in which the personal lived experience narratives of the participants mingle and interweave to create a sort of kaleidoscope of narratives. With each turn of a kaleidoscope, light’s reflection engenders new patterns and emergent designs. The narratives of this research text highlight patterns of exclusion, gendered messages, binary oppositions, and the particle nature and shadowy texture of knowing (in) mathematics and science. The presentation format of the book emphasizes the reflexive and polyphonic nature of the research design, illustrated through layers of spoken text with/in performative text with/in metaphorical text.
The metaphor of a kaleidoscope is an empowering possibility for a critical narrative written to both engage and provoke the reader into imag(in)ing a critical journey toward possibilities for a different “knowing by heart” in mathematics and science and for appreciating lived experience narratives with/in teacher education.


Patrick J. Lewis

If story is the basic principle of mind—then what are we doing in elementary schools? In this provocative exploration of narrative, the author writes from the idea that story is integral to the generation of meaning in human experience. Indeed, story plays a significant role in the formation of identity and the development of greater empathic understanding.
The text begins with a discussion of the epistemological and ontological nature of narrative in human understanding and then travels across the narrative landscape of the school setting. Through an examination of the impact of standards and accountability emphasis on curriculum, the author suggests current practice may be undermining student learning and engagement. Further, the author places oracy in temporary opposition to literacy, challenging us to rethink our assumptions about the role of literacy (ies) learning. Without negating the importance of literacy, attention is drawn to what is lost in chasing the assumed inherent good-ness of a text-based literacy and how this might hinder the growth of our children.
The value of narrative in developing teaching practice and promoting significant learning is brought to the foreground of the discussion, which naturally journeys into an exploration of curriculum raising serious questions about developmental approaches to curriculum construction. How we think but not in school will appeal to elementary teachers, early literacy teachers, teacher educators and those interested in narrative.