Study Design

By understanding teacher and administrator perspectives of the process and use of action research, we can increase the use and sustainability of action research as a school improvement model.  According to van Manen (1995), it is crucial for us to examine what reflective practice is as teachers and for teachers, and to think about how we “learn” to be reflective practitioners. “... to suggest that teachers need to be reflective practitioners begs the question that we know what the process of reflection consists in” (p. 33).

The benefits to this study are vast, and include the dissemination of information to other educators so that they may learn from the processes studied at District East.

Using phenomenological (van Manen, 1990) methods, we seek to gain understanding of teachers’ and administrators’ experiences of understanding and implementing action research in their classrooms. We will compare and contrast teacher and administrator perceptions of how teachers are evaluated in current (traditional/non-action research-based) approaches, and within the new (action research-based) suggested model.

Data Collection and Analysis
We will videotape interviews with 20 teachers in three buildings in this small (1,113 students) district (1 early childhood (PK-K, 198); 1 elementary schools (1st thru 5th grade, 534); and, one middle school (6th thru 8th grade, 381 students)). We also will videotape teachers in select classrooms who are implementing action research projects. We will use NVivo 9 software to analyze, organize and choose film clips to create a video about the district and the partnership.