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Title: Exploring action research on a professional development course in Chile
Author: Rebolledo Cortés, Paula Alejandro
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis presents an exploration of the action research (AR) component of an in-service course as presented to a group of Chilean English language teachers. It aims to investigate how AR was conceptualised, the rationale for its inclusion and how it was ultimately operationalised. Additionally it aims to shed light on what effects AR may have on teachers’ professional development (PD) and how contextual factors may hinder its impact. For this purpose, data was collected from three course designers, nine teachers taking part in the course, and the teacher educator responsible for offering the AR component. This study followed a qualitative research design and a critical paradigmatic orientation. Data was collected over a ten month period using an initial questionnaire to collect factual data and semi-structured interviews and focus groups to obtain more in-depth data. Additionally, document analysis was carried out on the course syllabus and teachers’ written AR reports. The findings showed the conceptualisation of AR underpinning the course involved notions of emancipatory AR, whereas teachers viewed AR as problem-solving. Additionally, the training format exposed a transmission approach to teacher education and provided little support to teachers to carry out AR in the way envisioned by course designers. As a consequence, teachers’ skills in and knowledge of AR remained limited and it did not promote their professional development in any way. While findings support studies which claim the main difficulties associated with AR are time and research support, they also highlight other contextual constraints and the thesis argues the need for major socio-cultural adjustments if AR is to promote PD in Chile. The study demonstrates that the manner in which AR is conceptualised is inconsistent with contextual realities within the education system as a whole thus it cannot meaningfully contribute to or support teachers’ professional development.
Supervisor: Wedell, Simon ; Simon, Borg Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available