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Action research: philosophy in the classroom?. Professor David Bridges. Action research: philosophy in the classroom?.

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action research philosophy in the classroom2
Action research: philosophy in the classroom?
  • ‘Philosophical reflection… itself modifies conceptions of ends in ways which change one’s understanding of what constitutes good data about practice. So one cannot improve the methodology of action research independently of philosophical reflection’ (Elliott 1991: 51-52)
action research philosophy in the classroom3
Action research: philosophy in the classroom?
  • Philosophy of action research

-- epistemology

-- social philosophy

-- ethics

  • Philosophy in action research

-- reflecting on educational ends and principles

-- reflecting with what? Theory/practice revisited

epistemology of action research pragmatism 1
Epistemology of action research:pragmatism 1
  • ‘A problem situation exists whenever we find our established habits of conduct inadequate to attain a desired end – and the effect of a problem situation upon us is the production of doubt’

Murphey 1961: 160-161)

epistemology of action research pragmatism 2
Epistemology of action research:pragmatism 2
  • ‘The individual is forced to confront issues which are not easily reconciled by current thinking…The only way to bring stability back into the situation through activity is to reconstruct thinking about activity so that it meets the needs of the situation’ (Glassman 2001:10)
epistemology of action research pragmatism 3
Epistemology of action research:pragmatism 3
  • ‘There is a problem in immediate activity that is beyond the reach of our current thinking. The problem causes doubt and the child is forced to work through this doubt, and reconstruct thinking, in order to be able to continue with the activity. The completion of the activity, achievement of the aim, potentially creates a new problem to be solved’ (Glassman 2001: 10)
epistemology of action research pragmatism 4
Epistemology of action research:pragmatism 4
  • ‘When we experience something we act upon it, we do something with it: then we suffer or undergo the consequences. We do something to the thing and then it does something to us in return… The connexion of these two phases of experience measure the fruitfulness or value of the experience… When an activity is continued into the undergoing of consequences, when the change made by action is reflected back into a change made in us, the mere flux is loaded with significance’ (Dewey 1916:163)
social philosophy of action research who determines
Social philosophy of action research: who determines…
  • the definition of th educational aims and principles which will shape classroom practice
  • the identification of the problem to be addressed
  • the conduct of the enquiry
  • the assessment of its outcomes in terms of their implications for practice
  • the implementation of change in the light of this assessment
the domestication of action research
The domestication of action research?
  • ‘The evidence suggests that most of them (teachers) use some form of action research to accommodate themselves to, and make efficient, the operations of the organisation in which they work. This means that their work is circumscribed by the market values embedded in the Education Reform Order’

Hutchinson and Whitehouse (1999: 141)

the ethics of action research
The ethics of action research
  • A set of principles governing the way in which action research itself is conducted
  • Ethically grounded resistance to ‘outsider’ research: ‘Teacher research is, at one level, a means of countering the hegemony of academic research which teachers are often distanced by’ (Rudduck, 1987: 5)
  • Itself an ethical obligation: ‘A teacher is responsible for more than the purity of his intentions. He is also responsible for the effects of his behaviour on students’ (Elliott, 1975: 115)
philosophy in action research
Philosophy in action research
  • Action research requires one to think about educational ends, values and principles as well as to observe the effects of doing this or that (and this can be done well or badly)
  • Action research is not just about solving problems but also about generating problems and asking challenging questions
  • All of this requires one to have something to think with (‘big ideas’?) and some meta-understanding of the inter-relationship between eg principled requirements and evidence of the outcomes of practice
david bridges on action research
David Bridges on Action Research…
  • Bridges D (2003) ‘Fiction written under oath’? Essays in philosophy and educational research, Dordrecht and London, Kluwer
  • Bridges D (2003) ‘A philosopher in the classroom’, Educational Action Research, vol 11 no 2 pp181-196
  • Bridges D (2001) ‘Professionalism, authenticity and action research’, Educational Action Research, vol 9 no 3, pp 451-464