Teachers' perceptions of the impact of action research on metacognitive development
Wilson, Catherine Langille
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The purpose of this study was to identify teachers’ perceptions of the impact of action research on metacognitive development. This study was guided by the methodological research design of grounded theory and the theoretical framework of symbolic interactionism. Data were collected from face-to-face interviews with elementary school teachers who had participated in an on-site action research professional development course. Constant comparative analysis was used to generate a conceptual framework explaining teachers’ perceptions of the impact of action research on their metacognitive development. Findings from this study demonstrated that teachers do perceive an increase in their metacognition while participating in action research. The study demonstrated that metacognitive growth occurred in situations which were conducive to adult learning, experiential learning, and reflection. Subsequently, teachers demonstrated increased self-verbalizations regarding self-regulation of their teaching practices. Teachers also experienced effects of increased empowerment and confidence regarding their abilities to act on their ideas and confidence to influence their teaching performance. Several conceptual ideas are discussed based on the findings. The first conceptual idea is that the processes involved in action research promote metacognitive growth. The second conceptual idea from the data is that conducting action research encourages corresponding self-verbalization of self-regulation regarding teaching practices. The third is that self-verbalization of self-regulation promotes teachers’ feelings of empowerment. Such empowerment increases teachers’ confidence to act on their ideas and confidence to influence their teaching performance. Implications for further research are discussed, along with implications for principals, higher education, professional learning, teachers, and policy makers. Principals, as instructional leaders, should promote action research and teacher metacognition as a means of fostering instructional improvement within their schools. Higher education, professional learning, and policy makers have a role in supporting in-service teachers’ conduction of action research.