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Toward a Model of Collaborative Action Research as a Form of Professional Development for Elementary School Teachers: An Inquiry

Delkeskamp, Rita Mendoza
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara.Education, Joint Program Cal Poly SLO
Degree Supervisor:
Glasman Naftaly S
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Teacher education and Education
staff development
research in action
professional development
action research

ABSTRACT Toward a Model of Collaborative Action Research as a Form of Professional Development for Elementary School Teachers: An Inquiry by Rita Mendoza Delkeskamp Although research suggests that professional development for teachers should be contained within a coherent system, recent research indicates that professional development for teachers continues to be provided through workshops of short duration with little or no follow-up and sustained support (Guskey & Yoon, 2009; Kose, 2007). Instead, teachers should be engaging in the thinking that fosters further change in behaviors and practices and the collaboration that builds a professional culture that focuses on student learning (Collinson, Kozina, Lin, Ling, Matheson, & Newcombe et al., 2009; Loucks-Horsley & Matsumoto, 1999). This study examines how Action Research might be used to provide professional learning opportunities that are systemic, continuous, relevant, and collaborative, as well as opportunities that are tailored to address the different professional growth needs of teachers. By exploring the perspectives of participants who engaged in Action Research, this study addressed the following questions: What are the personal characteristics of teachers interested in participating in Action Research? What school and district conditions could support the participation of teachers in Action Research? How might Action Research be used to provide differentiated professional learning opportunities? Data collected through a survey, interviews, and document reviews are examined and compared with previous studies. The major focus of the study centers on interviews conducted in one California elementary school where the staff engaged in components of collaborative action research during their school's implementation of a comprehensive literacy instructional program. Although the majority of the survey respondents were interested in participating in Action Research, and the interview participants recognized the value of their research process in simultaneously facilitating their professional growth and their instructional program implementation, this study revealed the need to maintain a balance between a unified focus of professional development and differentiated support for teachers. With consideration given to the limited nature of the study and its effect on the subsequent implications, the researcher ends her work with a discussion of the research process as a tool for professional growth, instructional program implementation, and school improvement.

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