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  • 1.
    Nehez, Jaana
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science.
    How to identify actions to improve in the practices of a professional learning community: a study of an action research project2023In: Educational action research, ISSN 0965-0792, E-ISSN 1747-5074, p. 1-19Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article presents an action research project conducted in a Swedish compulsory school. In the project the participants explored ways of identifying actions to improve in the practices of a professional learning community in order to develop teaching. This is important for participants in such communities, since the outcome of developed teaching is challenging to achieve. The exploration is guided by practice theories and is based on three practices: teachers’ peer observations of teaching, teachers’ plan-ning of these observations, and teachers’ and a researcher’s joint conversations based on the observations. By identifying actions in these practices and the relations between them, the findings show that how participating teachers formulated the direction of peer observations influenced the feedback that colleagues gave during observation practices, which in turn influenced both the input to and outcome of the conversations that followed these observa-tions. The study not only shows that this happened, but also how and why it happened, as well as how it can be visualised. Overall, the findings clearly demonstrate what promoted and what pre-vented the teachers’ professional learning and what needed to be improved. © 2023 The Author(s).

  • 2.
    Nehez, Jaana
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science.
    To be, or not to be, that is not the question: External researchers in emancipatory action research2024In: Educational action research, ISSN 0965-0792, E-ISSN 1747-5074, Vol. 32, no 1, p. 90-105Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article nuances an ongoing discussion among researchers about external researchers in emancipatory action research in the educational field. It examines opportunities and challenges for emancipatory action research for participants in top-down and bottom-up initiated action research projects with external researchers. An analysis based on variables for studying critical emancipatory action research highlights four central questions in both projects: whose choice, improvement for what, whose voice and improvement for whom. An external researcher could empower the understanding of the participants involved in terms of what to improve, contribute to all voices being heard, and strengthen improvements in those who were not in position of power in both top-down and bottom-up initiated action research. However, in the top-down initiative, the external researcher could not emancipate the participants in relation to the question whose choice it is to conduct action research, unlike in the bottom-up initiative. The findings indicate that involving external researchers in action research aiming for emancipation or not is not the relevant question. Instead, the question of relevance is what is required from external researchers in order to contribute to emancipation, a central question for all participants, for developing meaningful collaboration between school organisations and universities. © 2022 The Author(s). 

  • 3.
    Wennergren, Ann-Christine
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Research on Education and Learning within the Department of Teacher Education (FULL).
    Teachers as learners – with a little help from a critical friend2016In: Educational action research, ISSN 0965-0792, E-ISSN 1747-5074, Vol. 24, no 2, p. 260-279Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Professional learning is intended to improve teaching, benefit student learning and in the longer term improve achievement of targets in schools. When teachers take responsibility not only for their own learning but also for their colleagues’, it can lead to a shift in attitudes towards collaborative learning. This study presents an example of a professional learning community (PLC) based on teachers’ engagement in systematic inquiries. The aim of the study was to explore crucial factors during the process of critical friendship that could be related to a PLC. The research context was a series of shadowing sessions where teachers were expected to document teaching and provide feedback. The analyses are mainly based on documentation, in the form of shadowing logs produced when teachers study each other in action. Findings indicate that the role of critical friend was hard to internalise and that most of the teachers did not use it to its full potential for learning, according to the Vygotskian concept of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). Three crucial factors for learning in a PLC are addressed: Active choices related to teachers’ and students’ learning during different phases in the inquiry, the complexity of mastering several skills in action research at the same time, and the teachers’ attitudes to professional learning. © 2015 Educational Action Research

  • 4.
    Wennergren, Ann-Christine
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Piteå, Sweden.
    Rönnerman, Karin
    Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.
    The Relation Between Tools used in Action research and the Zone of Proximal Development2006In: Educational action research, ISSN 0965-0792, E-ISSN 1747-5074, Vol. 14, no 4, p. 547-568Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article describes a national school improvement project involving five compulsory schools for hard‐of‐hearing pupils, located in different parts of Sweden. Using action research, the teachers tried to change the communication patterns among the pupils by changing their own classroom practices, In this process the teachers tested and used different tools, such as writing, shadowing and facilitating each other, over a three‐year period. The purpose of this article is to examine how tools used in action research can be used to promote learning in relation to the concept of the zone of proximal development. The theoretical framework of the study is based on action research, as a collaborative way of creating knowledge, and on sociocultural learning theories. The basic assumption is that teachers, by using different tools, also challenge each other’s learning. The results show the importance of internalising tools that become owned by individuals or communities of practise. To be able to assume an active role in the zone of proximal development, and to produce knowledge collaboratively, a meaning‐making process was needed. It was found that this could be realised if the participants had an awareness of how to function as a critical friend among colleagues. Furthermore, the results revealed that, by using different tools, different voices can be heard. Three categories of voices were identified. © 2006 Educational Action Research

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