Engaging school teachers and school principals in an action research in-service development as a means of pedagogical self-awareness
SourceEducational Action Research
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The European Commission has determined the following priorities to increase the quality of teacher training programmes in the European Union: ensuring that all teachers have access to the knowledge, attitudes and pedagogic skills they require to be effective; ensuring that provision for teachers’ education and professional development is coordinated, coherent and adequately resourced; promoting a culture of reflective practice and research among teachers; promoting the status and recognition of the teaching profession; and supporting the professionalization of teaching. In this context, the RELEASE project pursued the adaptation of the teachers’ in-service training programme in Cyprus to the teachers’ and schools’ needs. The project also aimed at the enhancement of the school principals’ pedagogic role in supporting teachers’ professional development, the promotion of teachers’ development at school and the acquisition of self-regulated learning skills. The present paper draws on the benefits of the action research procedure for teachers’ development and the changes revealed in the teachers’ discourse throughout the project as illustrated in their oral and written reflections. The discourse analysis of the teachers’ speech in different stages of the project indicates a movement from remoteness and distance to collaboration, participation, openness and exchange, and a movement from low trust in their own choices to reflection and self-confidence to make justified selections and act in alternative ways. The discussion of the project’s results attempts to distinguish the effective key components of this project, providing empirical evidence/support for the reflective paradigm of teacher development.