ONLINE COLLABORATIVE ACTION RESEARCH IN AN EFL CONTEXT: THE EFFECT ON TEACHERS’ REFLECTIVE PRACTICE
Keywords:online collaborative action research, online discussion group, EFL teachers, reflective practice, action research
Technology can be integrated in teacher education and, hence, be used to empower teachers to extend learning beyond their classrooms. Therefore, the present study was an attempt to investigate English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers’ perceptions of action research and explore the impact of their collaborative action research in an online discussion group on their reflective practice. In addition, we were interested to know how online collaborative research action research contributes to their promotion of reflective thinking.The participants of this study were 23 Iranian EFL teachers who were recruited based on convenience sampling. The design of the study was a pre-test post-test design. As such, two questionnaires were given to the participants at the beginning and end of the study. As the next step, the participants took part in online discussion groups for 10 sessions in which they read and watched some essays and videos, wrote about some topics, and shared their ideas and experiences. To consolidate the findings, semi-structured interviews were held with 12 participants. The result of the study indicated that most of the participants of the study had optimistic views regarding action research. In addition, participating in online discussion groups enabled them to think more about their teaching practice and gain higher levels of reflectivity. The results of the qualitative phase indicated that the online courses had effect on the teachers’ practice and reflectivity in different ways. Despite all studies conducted on action research in Iran, contradictory results have been found regarding teachers’ perception of action research. In addition, to the researchers’ knowledge, no study has investigated the use of online collaborative action research on teachers’ reflection. As such, it seemed necessary to conduct a study to explore the role of action research as a framework for improving reflective practice.
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