In this conceptual paper we explore the idea that neo-liberalism has created a ‘directed profession’ (Bottery and Wright, 2000), with consequences for action research. There are dominant discourses of compliance and performativity, which have diminished teachers’ capacity to ask research questions that are disruptive of existing orthodoxies and restricted curriculum and pedagogical models. The paper explores the implications of this for teachers as they reflect on practice and wish to make meaningful change to learning and teaching. It has been written from the perspective of four teacher educators who have first-hand experience of developing inquiry based projects with teachers. First we consider how action research has been appropriated by policy-makers and is in many cases a long way from emancipatory traditions. We explore the importance of dialogue in generating ‘cognitive conflict’ and ‘values-practice dissonance’ (Pedder and Opfer, 2013) among action researchers. Finally, we discuss a ‘dialogic framework’ as a protocol that can help to generate critical perspectives among teachers. We highlight the ‘incubation phase’ of action research, and suggest that such a protocol has a role in the early stages of thinking about a focus for action research projects. It may help to reclaim action research from bending to the pressures of accountability and performativity in what it sets out to change.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
JournalLondon Review of Education
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2020

    Research areas

  • Action research, education

ID: 3987409