Awareness of Teaching through Action Research: Examples, Benefits, Limitations

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Jerry G. Gebhard, Indiana University of Pennsylvania


In this article I describe three action research projects done by teachers at Teachers College, Columbia University, Tokyo MA TESOL Program. I discuss the benefits of doing action research (how it helps us to make more informed teaching decisions; gain skills at posing and solving teaching problems; expand reflective skills; create a forum to discuss teaching issues and beliefs), as well as its limitations (a focus only on problems; a narrowly defined linear process). I then highlight other avenues to expand awareness, such as "exploring to see what happens" by trying the opposite, exploring "what we actually do" as opposed to "what we think we do," considering "what we believe in relation to what we do," and exploring to "gain emotional clarity."