UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Teacher discourse in collaborative action research : a case study of professional and curriculum development Arndt, Kerrylou Richardson


The directive for "action" to sustain the quality of human life parallels "action research" in education to improve the quality of learning experiences in schools. The purpose of the study was to provide insight and understanding into the features of a team of intermediate teachers interacting in the development of a school-based curriculum project, the Winter Studies Program, in support of environmental education. The case study is an analysis of teacher discourse. It had the aims of: one, illuminating the dynamic features of dialogue that characterized teacher interactions and the processes of change in curriculum development; two, examining the support system and organizational structures that enabled change; and three, reflecting on collaborative action research as a process for professional development. Within a framework of systematic inquiry, data collection included video and audio recordings of teacher team meetings, fieldnotes, and reflection journals. The findings suggest that teacher discourse is characterized by three dynamic features: commonality of understanding of praxis, narratives of experience, and tension. In the establishment of a Professional Support Group teachers interact collaboratively to develop curriculum and in so doing, develop professionally. A support system, inclusive of organizational structures, creates opportunities for change. The study concludes that action research empowers individuals, through reflective inquiry, to change their praxis or the structures that influence their praxis.

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