Reclaiming Action Research from Practice to Policy – the Case of Lao PDR

Keophouthong Bounyasone, Faculty of Education, National University of Laos, Vientiane, Lao PDR

Lars Dahlström, Department of Education, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Ngouay Keosada, Faculty of Education, National University of Laos, Vientiane, Lao PDR

Ann-Louise Silfver, Department of Education, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Abstract: Action research offers promising ways of changing educational practice, policy and philosophy at its core. Despite this, action research is too often used as a technical rationality used for evaluating small scale classroom practices. In this article, we discuss a new model for thinking about and doing action research which we argue addresses the full potential of action research for educational change. The model is developed based on experiences from teacher education in the Lao PDR with inspiration from teacher education reform in post-apartheid Namibia. We propose to use action research as the starting point from which to combine cross-cultural dialogue with a critical pedagogy of place as a means to productively tie together global educational discussions and debates with local knowledge and needs. By doing this we find aways to challenge current global and local power relations and promote teachers to be critical inquirers in charge of producing knowledge for local, national and global purposes.

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