May 7th – ‘Exploratory Action Research for professional development’: Workshop at Instituto no. 97 in La Plata, Argentina

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On 8 May 2017, Paula Rebolledo and Richard Smith facilitated this two-hour workshop with teachers, student-teachers and members of staff associated with the Instituto Superior de Formación Docente Nº 97 de La Plata (Escuela Normal 3).

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The workshop – which was organized with the support of the British Council – justified, described and provided examples of Exploratory Action Research, an approach to teacher development developed with and for Chilean school teachers since 2013 which has shown its feasibility and sustainability in that context and has been spreading to other countries, too (e.g. Argentina, India).

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In a teacher-friendly, jargon-free way, participants were guided to see how they can explore issues of concern to them without very much added burden, and how appropriate new actions can be taken on this basis. Benefits of the approach from a professional development perspective were highlighted, as were ways for sharing (as well as doing) research which differ from academic models.

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Paula and Richard, with organizers Pablo Toledo (British Council) and Patricia Gnuzman and Ruben Mazzei (Instituto no. 97)

Biodata

Paula Rebolledo, a teacher and teacher trainer based in Chile, was mentor and subsequently senior mentor on the British Council / Ministry of Education Champion Teachers Action Research scheme for Chilean school teachers during its first four years (2013–2017). Paula has a PhD from the University of Leeds. She is co-editor with Richard Smith and Deborah Bullock of the British Council book Champion Teachers: Stories of Exploratory Action Research.

Richard Smith (University of Warwick, UK) is an experienced researcher, research mentor and teacher educator, well-known for his work promoting teacher-research in a variety of projects and contexts worldwide, most recently as leader of the ‘teacher-research for difficult circumstances’ initiative and as chair of the International Festival of Teacher-research in ELT steering committee.

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