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Talk as action in 'collaborative action research': making and taking apart teacher/researcher relationships

Frankham, Jo and Howes, Andrew (2006) Talk as action in 'collaborative action research': making and taking apart teacher/researcher relationships. British educational research journal, 32 (4). pp. 617-632. ISSN 0141-1926

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Abstract

This article considers the role of university researchers in a project aimed at developing inclusive practices in schools through collaborative action research. It tells the story of how these researchers became part of the action in one school—Beechbank Primary—through visits, the collection and reporting of data, and through the development of a relationship (particularly with the head teacher) that facilitated learning and change to take place. One of the issues highlighted is that it is in the process of setting up an action research project that many disturbances are evident and, perhaps, inevitable. We argue that it is in working with these disturbances that one might begin to establish the basis of a collaborative relationship, rather than implying that collaboration may result in such things. The approach taken in the section 'Beechbank Story' is a conscious departure from the investigations conducted as a consequence of audit mechanisms, where only particular measurable outcomes, designated in advance, constitute evidence of 'progress'. We focus instead on process and hope to illustrate the small shifts and changes, documented ethnographically, which we argue are essential if change is to take place in the culture of a school.

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