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Title: Agents of change : the perceived impact of engaging in action retsearch on teacher action researchers
Author: Whelan, Alison
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 0820
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2018
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This study focused on a small sample of teacher action researchers (TRs) to explore their perceptions of the impact of engaging in classroom-based action research on their professional identity, agency and the ecology in which they conducted the research. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach was used to conduct a narrative inquiry using interviews with semi-structured questions. Transcripts were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) through the conceptual lens of my own experience. Main findings explored three emerging themes and the participants' perceptions of them. Perceived professional identity is constantly evolving from even before a teacher enters the classroom, and is iterational - strongly influenced by past experiences, rooted in current circumstances, and shaped by future aspirations. Professional identity is also linked to personal identity, but there is no guarantee that any teacher will naturally become a TR, as other factors need to be present for this to be become a dimension of their identity. Successful research project outcomes can heighten sense of agency, and therefore agency is linked to an awareness of the practitioner's ability to effect change. A stronger sense of agency can strengthen the innovative and experimental dimension of professional identity, and vice versa. Most significantly, TRs seem to be most influenced in terms of agency and identity development by a noticeable impact on their immediate ecology and are less influenced or interested in replicability or impact outside their ecology. An unsupportive ecology does not necessarily lead to lower sense of agency or weaker identity as a TR. Even if a practitioner is no longer in an active TR role, professional identity retains aspects of this and has been shaped by past experiences, so it is difficult to extract that dimension of the self. This means that once a TR identity is established, it is difficult to step back into a non-research mindset and teach "off the shelf". Perceived professional identity as a TR is therefore constantly evolving, accumulating past experience to adapt to new educational situations and requirements.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available