I think it would be fair to say that I come here today as a passionate advocate of Action Research. It has provided me with the means whereby, over the years, I have researched and developed my practice as a teacher, first in inner city primary schools and, more recently, in higher education.
My own very positive experiences of engaging in action research as a way of developing my own teaching led me, in turn, to explore ways of supporting students in using an action research approach to their own professional development (e.g. Green 1997). Over the years, this involvement has developed along two distinct routes.
In the initial teacher education course for primary students we have developed a final year module where students use an action research approach to developing some aspect of their practice. They undertake this in the term after final teaching practice, when they are free from the anxieties of assessment, and go back the same classroom in order to develop an aspect of their practice which they regarded as ‘problematic’ during that final teaching practice.
In addition, I have spent several years teaching the dissertation modules of the part-time, In-Service ‘M.A. in Action Research’ which has been taken by practising teachers in primary and secondary schools as well as lecturers in further and higher education. Again, the focus is on the development of personal practice whether in a classroom context or in a staff development role.