What is Action Research?

National Louis University Center for Practitioner Research 2009 Winter Colloquium
Frances Rust, Visiting Professor and Director of Teacher Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

As keynote speaker for the CFPR's inaugural winter colloquium on action research, Rust spoke of the need for support for teachers via professional preparation that acknowledges and studies 'problems of practice.'

With over 40 years of experience in early childhood education and action research, since 1985, she has directed undergraduate and graduate-level teacher education programs in PK-12 education. She has published widely on topics related to teacher preparation and quality, teacher-driven action research, and school improvement.   Of her many professional organization duties and publication outlets, she currently serves on the editorial board of Voices, an NAEYC sponsored online journal of teacher research in early childhood education.

Rust explored the major issue that confronts researchers and policy-makers in regards to professional preparation and support, which is ‘the problem of practice;’ that is, how to get current knowledge into the hands of practitioners in ways that enable both a most appropriate response to practical problems at the individual level and a refinement or revising of practice across the profession.  The complexity of life in classrooms and in schools makes the problem of practice particularly vexing for those who are engaged in teacher education and teacher professional development.  In this presentation, Rust proposed teacher research as a potential bridge between research and practice.