Action Research in Teacher Education by Ken Zeichner

In this chapter I revisit one of the major themes I addressed in the keynote talk that I gave at the 1992 CARN conference in Worcester in the UK. In my 1992 talk, “Personal transformation and social reconstruction through action research”(Zeichner, 1993), I explored the idea of what it means for action research conducted by primary and secondary school teachers to contribute to greater social, cultural, political and economic justice in a society, and I criticized both what I saw as an uncritical glorification of action research because of the alleged personal and social benefits that were often implied to be inevitably associated with doing it, and criticisms of teachers by academics for not directly seeking to change the structures of schooling and focusing their efforts mainly within their classrooms. I argued that while educational action research does not necessarily promote a more humane and just school or society and can (and has been) used to legitimate ideas and practices that are harmful to individuals and societies, that it is possible for teachers to do “socially critical” action research (Tripp, 1990) at multiple levels – in their classrooms, in their schools, and in the society at large.

Action Research in Teacher Education as a Force for Greater Social Justice

This text was also presented as a keynote address in the annual meeting of the Collaborative Action Research Network, Umea University, Sweden, November 2007.



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