Action-research. The first step in increasing teacher involvement in professional development activities is to develop their expertise. One practice that can be used to build teacher capacity is action-research. Action-research is an activity that helps teachers to establish a habit of self-monitoring in order to reflect on the origins, purposes and results/consequences of their actions in the classroom (Zeichner and Liston, 1987). During action-research teachers are asked to focus their attention on one instructional challenge at a time. This method can be used to effectively bring about change in instructional practices through repeated cycles of planning, observation and reflection both individually and collaboratively (Hine, 2013). Action-research is participatory by nature and therefore helps to increase teacher empowerment by giving teachers the opportunity to make informed decisions about the schools and classrooms they work in using their own talents, experiences and creative ideas. It also helps to close the gap between theory and practice by allowing teachers to compare observations and data from their own classrooms to the education theory they have learned in teacher education programs. A study conducted in both Australia and the United States found that teacher education programs that utilize action-research successfully provide teachers with the technical skills and specialized knowledge required to create positive instructional changes in the classroom (Hine, 2013). Action-research has not been adapted in developing contexts. More research needs to be done to evaluate whether or not action-research is a reasonable strategy for capacity building efforts among teachers in developing contexts.
Hine, G. S. C. (2013). The importance of action research in teacher education programs. Issues in educational research. 23(2), 2013: Special Issue. Retrieved from http://www.iier.org.au/iier23/hine.pdf
Zeichner, K. M. (2003). Teacher research as professional development for P–12 educators in the USA .Educational action research,11(2), 301-326.