Action Research: The Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) and its Implications for Teacher Education

Jim Parsons

Professor, Department of Secondary Education, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta, Canada.

Larry Beauchamp

Professor, Department of Secondary Education, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta, Canada.

Abstract: This paper reviews data from four sets of final reports of action research projects under the aegis of the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI). AISI is an Alberta government program that provides funding to every school division to allow teachers to create site-based, action research projects they believe will engender school improvement where they work. Teachers create and direct the research, design the research methods, collect and analyze data, and report findings in their own words following completion of the project. This paper reviews more than 1800 of these site-based, action research projects to focus specifically upon the growth of teachers and what these findings suggest for teacher education during the 12 years of AISI site-based research projects. The conceptual framework the authors employ is applied. To understand the reports written by teachers, the authors asked and answered three questions: (1) What? {What did we find?}; (2) So What? {What do these findings mean?}; and, (3) Now What? {What should we do after we make sense of the findings?}. This paper focuses on analyzing and sharing findings about question no.3. Because this practical conceptual framework suggests best practices, the paper we offer here is not intended to report specific findings as much as to thoughtfully consider about what our research findings suggest for practical actions within teacher education programs.

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