Action Research and Teacher Portfolio as Two Strong Teacher-Led Professional Development Designs

Action Research and Teacher Portfolio as Two Strong Teacher-Led Professional Development Designs

Selda Aras (Başkent University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1177-0.ch003
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This chapter aims to describe two effective teacher-led professional development designs: action research and teacher portfolio. Research has shown that many professional development models and practices are ineffective while meeting teachers' professional needs and highlight the critical role of teachers during their professional development activities. Action research and teacher portfolio offers teachers the opportunity to conduct needs assessment, revisit and reflect on their practices, and evaluate their performances. This reflective, authentic, and evidence-based assessment procedure enables teachers search for resources that perfectly meets their professional needs. This chapter examines features of action research and teacher portfolio implementations as two meaningful teacher-led professional development models and offer rich descriptions of these models to inform practitioners and stakeholders.
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The proposed chapter aims to focus on two teacher led professional designs: action research and teacher portfolio. The critical role of professional development on teaching is known well. However, professional development opportunities for teachers are criticized for being centrally mandated, poorly-designed, fragmented, and inadequate to meet teachers’ needs (Darling-Hammond, Eyler, & Gardner, 2017; Creemers, Kyriakides, & Antoniou, 2013; Borko, 2004; Cohen & Hill, 2001). Teachers with same educational backgrounds may need different areas to work toward the development of different skills (Creemers & Kyriakides, 2008; Creemers, Kyriakides, & Antoniou, 2013). “While approaches to professional development formats have changed considerably in recent years, we continue to see one-size-fits-all workshops, offered in contexts removed from schools and students, and focused on various topics that often do not relate to teaching and student learning.” (Patton, Parker, & Tannehill, 2015, p. 27). The mission of this chapter is to present action research and teacher portfolio as two professional development designs that are reflective, authentic, and based on teacher needs and decisions. This chapter aims to create an awareness on the role of teachers themselves during the decision making process of teacher professional development plans and actions. It is important to improve teachers’ skills and knowledge of conducting an action research and preparing teacher portfolio and give necessary support during this process.

Cochran-Smith and Lytle (2009) define action research as a catalyst for teacher professional growth. Teachers becomes change agents thorough action research (Price & Valli, 2005). Teachers become more reflective, critical, and analytical about their own teaching behaviors in the classroom when they experience action research (O’Sullivan, 2002; Levin & Rock, 2003). The skills of inquiry, reflection, problem solving, and action are promoted through action research process. The reflective cycle of action research process enables teachers to be aware of their teaching practices, notice their strengths and weaknesses, and focus on the skills they believe to be improved or changed. The awareness of self and how it contributes to teachers' sense of self-as-teacher puts the teachers on the center of his/her professional development decisions and process. For professional development the decision-making capacity of a teacher is what makes an effective teacher so effective (Patton, et. al., 2015). The systematic and informative process of action research critically contributes to teacher learning. This title of the proposed chapter aims to enlarge action research as a professional development design in terms of the reflective cycle of action research, teacher growth and learning during action research, individual and collaborative action research designs for professional development, and a review of literature on action research as a professional development design.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Professional Development: Specialized training, formal education, or advanced professional learning activities that teachers attend or participate to improve their instructional practices and professional knowledge.

Professional Development Plan: A plan that establishes a teacher’s career development goals and strategies for meeting them.

Teacher Portfolio: A reflective tool that includes a teacher’s achievements, interests and abilities, efforts and progress over time by using multiple and various tools.

Reflection: A process where teachers think over their implementations, revisit their strategies and methods, and think how they might be improved or change their practices for better learning outcomes.

Action Research: A research design that aims to improve and/or modify practices. It is a practitioner research that brings research and practice together and provides the transfer of the research results to the implementation.

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