The importance of action research in teacher education programs
Hine, Gregory S. C.
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Following entry into the workforce, there are limited opportunities for new graduate teachers to engage in critically reflective activities about their educative practice. In an increasingly complex and challenging profession, the need for teachers, administrators and school systems to become involved in professional development activities is ever present. Undertaking a unit in action research methodology provides those professionals working in the education system with a systematic, reflective approach to address areas of need within their respective domains. The University of Notre Dame Australia (Fremantle) offers a core unit in action research methodology as part of its eight (8) unit Master of Education degree. This paper discusses the place of action research within a Master of Education degree, and within the teaching profession. The approaches adopted by two tertiary institutions (one in the United States, and one in Australia) to teach action research to educators are highlighted. More specifically, the professional practice employed by one academic to teach the action research unit within a Master’s degree course is outlined. The author has taught the unit ED6765: Action Research in Education for the past four years consecutively, and believes the skills and knowledge developed as part of undertaking this unit are critically important within teacher education and the teaching profession. Some examples of past action research projects designed and implemented by students are also included.