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Action Research Communities : Professional Learning, Empowerment, and Improvement Through Collaborative
About this item
Action Research Communities presents a new perspective on two current and proven educational practices: classroom-/school-based action research and professional learning communities. Implementation of one or the other of these practices often results in a variety of possible benefits for the teaching–learning process, for student achievement, and for overall school improvement. While these might seem to be separate, isolated practices, the author has taken the beneficial aspects of each practice and merged them into a cohesive and potentially powerful concept, coined "action research communities."
Each of the two concepts or approaches (action research and professionallearning communities) is presented and discussed in detail. Because they both focus on local-level improvement of educational practice and share several overlapping features, the two concepts are then merged into a single entity—action research communities, or ARCs. These professional learning communities, with action research at their core, hold an immense amount of power and potential when it comes to enhanced professional growth and development for educators, increased student achievement, school improvement, and educator empowerment. ARCs essentially capitalize on all the individualized benefits and strengths of action research and of professional learning communities, and merge them into a single educational concept and practice. ARCs have the potential to help educators everywhere experience:
•a common and collective focus and vision;
• sustained collaborative inquiry;
•individualized, customizable—and meaningful—professional growth; and
•true empowerment that comes with this form of collaborative, inquiry-based, and reflective practice.
Practical guidance for the development and implementation of ARCs is also provided, by focusing on ways in which professional educators (teachers, administrators, support staff, etc.) can implement, sustain, and extend the impact of their respective action research communities. Specific roles for district administrators, building administrators, and teachers are presented and discussed in depth, as are ways that ARCs can be used both to deepen professional learning for educators and to improve student learning.