Kurt W. Clausen


If you are engaged in a serious conversation about Action Research with someone in the teaching profession, the chances are this person is either a pre-service candidate or an educator who has just emerged from some form of related in-servicing. Of course, this is a terribly broad and perhaps clichéd overstatement. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that this methodology easily finds a home in these two areas of a teacher’s education. In all probability, teacher educators may introduce this practice as a way of counter-balancing people’s past experiences. Ever since the statement “apprenticeship of observation” was made by Lortie (1975), an abundance of research has shown that most students entering teacher education programs do so with a fairly ingrained conception of the role of teachers and the nature of the students they teach (Hollingsworth, 1989; McDiarmid, 1993). These beliefs may vary with people’s histories and circumstances, but there is now little doubt that, for good or ill, they are highly stable and complex, unchangeable even in the face of new experiences or strong outside arguments. Depressingly, Kenneth Zeichner’s work has further shown that most new information or techniques taught during traditional teacher education programs or in-servicing courses quickly “wash out” in the face of past experience (Zeichner & Tabachnik, 1981).

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