Making research (more) real for future teachers: a classroom-based research model for initial teacher education

Stephen Darwin, Malba Barahona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Action research is characteristically used to provide research experience for late-stage, pre-service teachers as a means of breaching the perceived divide between theoretical knowledge and contexts of practice. However, aside from the considerable methodological challenges of enacting action research itself, pre-service teachers also enter schools as ‘outsiders’, therefore often simultaneously struggling to make sense of both their research mission and school context. This anxiety is amplified by the characteristic relationship of action research outcomes to summative, programme-level assessment of prospective teacher capability. Following research that confirmed negative experiences of a group of late-stage, EFL pre-service teachers using action research-based projects in two Chilean universities, potential alternative methods of encouraging research practice was investigated and piloted. Based on the outcomes of this research, a new classroom-based model was designed to provide a more useful and ultimately productive research experience for pre-service teachers, particularly those in the challenging environment of EFL teaching. This model stresses the need for pre-service teachers to be offered more research autonomy, to be less ‘problem’ focussed and to be more actively supported in the planning and enactment of achievable research to ensure the learning outcomes sought for this type of research-based inquiry were achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-761
Number of pages17
JournalEducational Action Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Classroom-based research
  • action research
  • teacher education


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