Carr & Kemmis

Action Research: “If you want it done right, do it yourself.”

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‘If you want it done right, do it yourself’ is a seeming generalised way of introducing the subject of Action Research, this may succinctly give an idea of what it is, although as this piece of writing on action research continues I will delve a little deeper into how this research process relates to what the teacher can do to enhance a holistic experience within their classroom. This ‘teacher can do’ approach is echoed by British educational thinker Lawrence Stenhouse who said ‘curriculum research and development ought to belong to the teacher’ (Stenhouse, 1975 p. 142). Stenhouse proposed that the teacher’s work should not be studied; they themselves should be the ones studying it.

Additionally, Wilfred Carr, a Professor of Philosophy of Education, and Stephen Kemiss, Professor of Education, stress ‘since only the practitioner has access to commitment and practical theories which inform praxis, only the practitioner can study praxis. When teaching is looked at from an outside perspective, it can be seen to be difficult. Action Research as a study of praxis must thus be research into one’s own practice (Carr & Kemmis (1986: 191). The focus here is on a world of teaching that is constantly changing and the social situations that teachers find themselves in with their teaching where they can make a social and organisational change. The teacher can then be the one who is in charge of the situation for change whilst with the participation of others, namely the stakeholders, striving for everyone’s well-being in education.

Moreover, Action Research is learning by consulting and daily problem solving and what the teacher can do to improve on the situations that surface through their teaching. Thus, within this daily practice, the teacher has to identify a problem, they have experienced, then imagine how they may change this, thus putting a plan of action together to overcome it. Once this plan has been instigated, it is to evaluate how the plan effectively succeeded or not. Action Research does not stop there as the focus is on cyclical research, so in this process, once the evaluation’s results have been collated, the process can start again where the class is modified on the back of the results. This may well end up as an ongoing process as shown in Stephen Kemmis’ diagram. In short, Action Research can be explained as – identifying the problem, then resolving it, then seeing how successful it was, then if you are not satisfied, do it again.