Teachers as Researchers

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSES2031014

Semester and Year Offered: Winter Semester, 2019

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr Gunjan Sharma (C), Professor AmolPadwad, and Professor BharatiBaveja

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: It is desirable that the participants have work experience as schoolteachers


The notion of teachers as researchers has been in educational discourse at least since early 1980s. It is founded on the view that professionalism of the teacher is based on expertise in seeking to understand the world, including one’s own practice, not only on given knowledge (Stenhouse, 1983). That is, adopting a “research stance” to practice is the essence of teacher professional development and a core value underlying the concept of an autonomous teacher. This research stance becomes much more important in the context of the intensifying culture of performativity in education, as it offers teachers an opportunity to step back and reflect on action. This course adopts this understanding to facilitate teachers for inquiry in their own practice. Towards this end, the course involves engaging the participants in collectively reflecting upon the beliefs and values underlying school practice, identifying and examining issues, and designing systematic approaches of investigating and addressing these issues. In this process, the participants will think through a range of ethical considerations, perspectives and relevant theoretical frames to inform the design and implementation of short research projects. Trying out the projects (with mentorship support) and sharing the results with the colleagues for feedback will be a part of the course assessment.

Expected learning outcomes:

By the end of the course participants will be able to:

  1. Identify inquiry questions for research in practice settings;
  2. Design research project to address questions from practice;
  3. Implement, critically evaluate and report on the research project


Brief description of modules:

Module 1: School Experiences and Practice

This module will focus on collective reflections on school experiences of teachers especially focussing on the issues and challenges that they encounter in their schools or classroom contexts, and/or on ideas that they want to implement in practice. This will provide a context for a discussion on the approaches that individual teachers adopt or suggest adopting to overcome/understand these issues or to implement ideas in practice. The module will culminate in each group member identifying a focus area for research.

Module 2: Introduction to Research

Building on the previous module, this module focuses on introducing the participants to the concept and process of research as they begin to translate the focus area identified by them into research questions and projects. While focussing on action research, they will critically read selected researches on schools and classrooms conducted by teachers/educators, will be introduced to the relevant methods of data-collection, analysis and concepts such as praxis, reflectivity, reflexivity, validity, reliability and triangulation. By the end of this module along with formulating questions for research, the teachers would identify ways of collecting and analysing data for their research focus.

Module 3: Designing Research Study

This module will facilitate teachers to design a research study. They will work closely with their colleagues and faculty mentor(s) to refine research questions, data-collection and analysis strategies. The specific focus here would be to discuss the various ethical and methodological considerations along with the beliefs and values about education underlying the proposed projects.

Module 4: Doing Research and Sharing Findings

The participants will implement their research projects in their own schools and record the findings and their experience (especially the research challenges encountered in the implementation). These findings and experiences will be shared in a closed seminar with the group for feedback. This module will culminate in drawing inferences for practice from this process and reflections on the linkages between practice and research. The participants will identify some actionable points for implementation in their contexts.


  1. Participation (in-class): 15%
  2. Project Proposal: 30%
  3. Report: 30%
  4. Seminar Presentation: 25%


Essential Readings

  • Farooqi, F. (2014). Ek school manager ki diary kekuchpanne – XI: Bachhon se mulakat. ShikshaVimarsha, March-April, 25-37.
  • A Post Graduate Teacher (Anonymised). (2014). Some personal reflections about teaching in government schools. In Varma, V. S., and Sharma, G. (Ed.), Teachers in conversations: Schoolteachers’ narratives, discussions and dialogues, pp. 37-48. New Delhi: Ambedkar University Delhi and Ahvaan Trust.
  • Bhatt, H. (2008). Ek school teacher ki diary kekuchhpanne(pp. 16-17). Bangalore: Azim Premji University.
  • Midha, G. (2018). Tools to guide our action. Teacher Plus:
  • Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conduction and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4th ed.) (pp. 2-42). London: Pearson.
  • Nadig, D., and Gupta, V. (2018). From research in action to action research. Teacher Plus:
  • Zeni, J. (2009). Ethics and the ‘personal’ in action research. In S. E. Noffke& B. Somekh, The SAGE handbook of educational action research (pp. 254-266). London: SAGE Publications Ltd
  • Rebolledo, P., Smith, R., and Bullock, D. (2015). Champion Teachers: Stories of exploratory action research. British Council. (Any 2 Selections)
  • Thapa, R. K. L. (2016). An action research on classroom teaching in English medium. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 4(1), 97-106 (
  • Gomathi, R. Action research on multiplication algorithm in grade 5 (pp. 111-115):
  • Raghavan, N. (2015). Reflective teacher: Case studies of action research. Chennai: Orient Blackswan Private Limited. (Any 2 selections)
  • Open University. Action Research: TESS-India (Teacher Education through School-based Support):
  • Nofke, S. (2009). Revisiting the personal, professional and political dimensions of action research. In Susan E. Noffke& Bridget Somekh (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of educational action research, pp. 6 – 24.
  • Rust, F. O. (2009). Teacher research and the problem of practice. Teachers College Record, 111(8), 1882–1893.
  • Lather, P. (1986). Research as praxis. Harvard Educational Review, 56(3), 257-278.


Suggested Readings

  • Cain, T., and Harris, T. (2013). Teachers’ action research in a culture of performativity. Educational Action Research, 21(3), 343-358.
  • Connelly, F. M., and Clandinin, J. D. (Eds). (1999). Shaping a professional identity: Stories of educational practice. London: Althouse Press. (Any 1 Chapter from part 2)
  • Lovenburg, N. (2018). Journey within Afghanistan: Inside Creative’s digital book tracking system. Childhood Education, 94(5), 52–57.
  • doi:10.1080/00094056.2018.1516473
  • Hoyle, E. (1970). Educational innovation and the role of the teacher. Forum, 14(1), 42-44.
  • Hargreaves, D. H. (1996). Teaching as a research-based profession: Possibilities and prospects. Annual lecture, The Teacher Training Agency, United Kingdom. (12 pages)
  • Carr, W., and Kemmis, S. (1986). Becoming critical: Education, knowledge and action research (pp. 7-45). New York: Routledge.
  • Hammersley, M. (1993). On the teacher as researcher. Educational Action Research, 1(3), 425-445.
  • Xerri, D. (2018). Two methodological challenges for teacher-researchers: Reflexivity and trustworthiness. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 91(1), 37-41. DOI:
  • 10.1080/00098655.2017.1371549.
  • Cohen, L., Manion, L, and Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education (6 th ed.) (pp. 5 – 47). London: Routledge.
  • Schon, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action (pp. 27-42). New York: Basic Books.
  • Whitehead, J. (2009). Generating living theory and understanding in action research studies. Action Research, 7(1), 85-99.
  • Rebolledo, P., Smith, R., and Bullock, D. (2015). Champion Teachers: Stories of exploratory action research. British Council.
  • Altrichter, H., Posch, P., and Somekh, B. (2000). Teachers investigate their work (pp. 44 – 117). Oxon: Routledge.
  • Hopkins, D. (2008). A teacher’s guide to classroom research. Berskshire: Open University Press.
  • Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational research (4th ed.). New Delhi: Pearson.
  • Noffke, S. E., and Somekh, B. (Ed.). (2009). The SAGE handbook of educational action research. London: Sage.
  • McNiff, J. (1993). Teaching as learning: An action research approach. London: Routledge.
  • Elliott, J. (1991). Action research for educational change. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
  • Lindblom, C. & Cohen, D. (1979). Usable knowledge. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Lortle, D. (1975). Schoolteacher. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Stenhouse, L. (1983). Authority, education and emancipation. London: Heinemann.
  • Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S. L. (1999). The Teacher Research Movement: A decade loater. Educational Researcher, 28(7), 15–25.
  • Cochran-Smith, M., and Lytle, S. (1993). Inside/Outside: Teacher research and knowledge. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Cohn, M. M., and Kirkpatrick, S. (2001). Negotiating two worlds: Conducting action research within a school-university partnership. In J. Zeni (Ed.), Ethical issues in practitioner research. New York: Teachers College Press. pp. 136–48.
  • Pritchard, I. (2002). Travelers and trolls: Practitioner research and institutional review boards. Educational Researcher, 31(3), 3–13.