ACTION RESEARCH NETWORK OF THE AMERICAS

2024 HYBRID ANNUAL CONFERENCE

PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH IN COMMUNITY: TRANSFORMATIVE POSSIBILITIES WITH DR. JULIO CAMMAROTA AS KEYNOTE

EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

JUNE 7 & 8, 2024

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ARNA Spotlight

Each month ARNA Spotlight will have a focus on the ARNA homepage. The Spotlight will highlight individuals and groups in our organization so our community can become more deeply acquainted with the energetic and valued action research involvement of each of us.

For the March Spotlight we invited one of the newest ARNA Action Research Communities (ARCs) – the International ARC to respond to the prompt:

How did you became interested in action research and what are some of the activities you do that continue to 'spark' your interest in this type of research?

LKHASUREN

Lkhasuren Batmunkh

Mongolian National University of Education

I am interested in action research because it is all about solving problems to bring about change. During the action research method, the researcher does not merely observe and interpret information but he is also an active participant in the process. This focus on action allows me to intervene faster and better and bring about a process-oriented change; e.g., I continue to believe education has to be practical, useful and sustainable in any context. By using action research methodology, we can implement interdisciplinary learning and teaching for a better future. For example, based on my experience as a content editor of an English language textbook for Grade 11 students in Mongolia, aged 16-17, I dissatisfied with its content of the discussion of nature. There were a variety of environmental issues presented in detail but there was no discussion for how to prevent these problems or what can be done to tackle existing ones. Specifically, using action research methodology, steps for tree planting and tips on saving water could have been included. As a result, one text of the1983-1985 famine in Ethiopia was replaced with a text of environmental protection in the textbook.

Mongolian National University of Education

Dr. Josephine Bleach

National College of Ireland

I have always been interested in action research. In 2008, I joined Early Learning Initiative (ELI), community-based educational initiative in the National College of Ireland, a third level learning, teaching and research institution in Dublin’s inner city. The prevailing preference of policy makers and funders was independent scientific evaluations, which are not appropriate for bottom-up collaborative change. In June 2009, we created our learning community and annual action research cycle through which we, as a community of learners, investigate and evaluate our practice and projects. Regular community action research (CAR) events and dissemination opportunities build capacity and support engagement. CAR has supported transformative change at local and national level, while giving a genuine voice to participants as co-constructors. While assessments provide evidence on how children and young people are doing in terms of educational outcomes and aspirations, CAR also provides data on potential innovations.

National College of Ireland

Dr. Lesley Wood

North-West University, South Africa

I became interested in action research when I first entered academia and Jean McNiff came to my then institution and helped us to understand and implement action research in our own projects and with our postgraduate students. I have since then only conducted action research of various genres as I realised we needed to do more than just describe and explain problems, we had to work for positive change in education and other areas. Jack Whitehead was also very influential in my development and he introduced me to Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt with whom I have been working since 2012. I slowly shifted over from self-study forms of AR to community-based research because I began to work in the field of HIV education. Ortrun introduced me to participatory action learning and action research which suited my focus at my current institution where I was asked to set up a research entity for community-based educational research. The outcomes of this type of research really make a difference on educational, practical and political levels and I therefore continue to practice and promote it on many platforms, currently as a Research Chair in Early Childhood Development.

North-West University, South Africa

Dr. Jadambaa Badrakh

Mongolian National University of Education

Mongolian National University of Education

Dr. Noluvo Rangana

Nelson Mandela University, South Africa

My passion lies in community engagement and research. Through conducting research with diverse members of different communities, I have come to appreciate the immense value of Action Research in addressing societal challenges. What I find most admirable about Action Research is its capacity to empower all involved while recognizing every individual as a source of knowledge. In my PhD research, I utilized Action Research, which led to the development of a new framework proposing a novel genre of Participatory Action Learning and Action Research. This framework is tailored to the African context, aiming to guide engagement with various stakeholders through Action Research. Crucially, it offers a methodological contribution for the application of Action Research, specifically within the African context.

Nelson Mandela University, South Africa

Dr. Donald Peppion

New Mexico State University

Paulo Freire in the 1980s awakened us in Blackfeet Community College (a U.S. tribal college) when he wrote about the oppressed instituting change from within. In other words, communities and people through dialogue can identify or name their problem or situation and identify ways to bring about change. Thus, as Native Americans we could use our own knowledge, culture, and language to improve our quality of life after centuries of failed genocide by migrant Europeans. When Piikani (Blackfeet) spiritual leader George Kicking Woman stated “… our ways are different …,” I experienced an epiphany of our worldview being obverse to the dominating society. In trying to do research to investigate our language and culture after failed generations of genocidal actions including imprisoning children in boarding and mission schools, the literature and history of Native Americans is biased untrue, and non-existent. Through education, research and publication, my vision and purpose are to the raise the consciousness of all people about Native Americans with a goal of improving their quality of life.

New Mexico State University

Dr. Juland Salayo

University of the Philippines

My journey with research began 8 years ago, right after I completed my master's degree in Educational Management from one of the top state universities in the Philippines. At that time, my interest was primarily in quantitative research, a preference shaped by the Prevalent research orientation in the country. However, when I transitioned to the public basic school system, I was introduced to a new approach- action research (AR). The government, recognizing the importance of AR, invested significantly in research training, considering it a form of motivation for teachers. This was evident in our promotion, faculty awards, and professional development programs. After spending three years in the public school system, I moved to the tertiary level and was appointed as the Coordinator of the Research Department. One of my key responsibilities was to promote AR among the faculty, particularly in the basic education department. However, I encountered resistance, with many teachers needing to appreciate the significance of AR due to the nature of the university. Last year, I joined the national/premier state university of the Philippines, furthering my involvement in AR. Before this, I had been conducting trainings, seminars, and workshops on AR for basic school teachers nationwide. I was also frequently invited to assess and evaluate AR written by both teachers and parents. However, despite my extensive experience, I found myself unable to influence the direction of AR due to the differing views on its goals, even within the education agency. One of the critical issues I observed was the overreliance on experimental research as the sole method of conducting AR. While experimental research can be a valuable component of AR, it should not be the only approach. Additionally, the institutional orientation towards quantitative research meant that the authentic needs of the study's identified problems were often overlooked. Furthermore, many issues, such as national and international reading assessments, teacher salaries, and perceptions of scholastic practices, were too complex to be addressed through AR alone. Despite these challenges, I remain committed to addressing the misalignments and malpractices of AR in basic education, a task that has its challenges. Despite the numerous limitations and challenges, I am motivated to continue my work on AR in the Philippines. As a government teacher, I often feel helpless due to needing more resources and budget. These scarcities pose significant barriers to strengthening AR in the country. However, these challenges fuel my determination to push forward and make a difference in AR.

University of the Philippines

Click on each award to read the response

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