Collaborative Action Research for Preparing Teachers as Reflective Practitioners

  • Hu Qing-li
  • Myriam N. Torres
  • Feng Shi-Ji
Original Paper


The study focuses on using collaborative action research projects to promote reflective practice of pre-service teachers during the internship. Research groups were composed by school tutors and pre-service teachers, assisted by the teacher educator. Twelve pre-service teachers and six school tutors were organized in three groups, two tutors and four pre-service teachers per group. Each group worked with a topic coming from problems found in the internship experience. Pre-service teachers conducted classroom observation of their tutors and classmates as well as classroom teaching by themselves. They also wrote reflective diaries of these observations and their own teaching, and participated in a learning community which was a nurturing collaborative atmosphere that provided time, space and collegial peers to share experiences and solve problems. By examining the research experience, there are some important results: a) Collaborative action research helped pre-service teachers to study and develop reflective practice abilities while participating in a learning community which somewhat filled the gaps left by the lack of some tutors’ good role modeling; b) The role of the teacher educator for improving relationships between school tutors and pre-service teachers seemed crucial in both the preventive role and remedial role; c) There is still room for improvement, especially concerning tutors’ modeling and scaffolding high quality reflective teaching practices; d) Therefore, the training of competent internship tutors is significant, and relevant incentive policies should be formulated to motivate middle school teachers to act as internship tutors.


Collaborative action research Reflective practice Teacher action research Pre-service teacher education programs Intervention mechanisms 



The research for this article was supported by Humanities and Social Science Research Fund setting by Chinese Ministry of Education (Grant Nos. 15XJA880001).


  1. Bossio D, Loch B, Schier M, Mazzolini A (2014) A roadmap for forming successful interdisciplinary education research collaborations: a reflective approach. High Educ Res Dev 33(2):198–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Burnaford GE, Fischer J, Hobson D (Eds.) (2001) Teachers doing research: practical possibilities (2nd ed.). L. Erlbaum Associates, MahwahGoogle Scholar
  3. Capobianco BM, Feldman A (2010) Repositioning teacher action research in science teacher education. J Sci Teach Educ 21(8):909–915CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carr W, Kemmis S (1986) Becoming critical: education knowledge and action research. Routledge Farmer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Castro Garcés AY, Martínez Granada L (2016) The role of collaborative action research in Teachers' professional development. Issues in Teach Prof Dev 18(1):39–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chigeza P, Halbert K (2014) Navigating E-Learning and Blended Learning for Pre-Service Teachers: Redesigning for Engagement, Access and Efficiency. Aust J Teach Educ 39(11):133–146Google Scholar
  7. Cochran-Smith M, Lytle S (1993) Inside/outside: teacher research and knowledge. Teachers College Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Elliot J (1991) Action research for educational change. SUNY, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Fogarty R (1994) The mindful school: how to teach for metacognitive reflection. Corwin, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  10. Goodnough K (2010) Teacher learning and collaborative action research: generating a “knowledge-of-practice” in the context of science education. J Sci Teach Educ 21(8):917–935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Handal G, Lauvas P (1987) Promoting reflective teaching. Open University, Milton KeynesGoogle Scholar
  12. Haney A (1997) The role of mentorship in the workplace. In: Taylor MC (ed) Workplace education. Culture Concepts, Toronto, Ontario, pp 211–228Google Scholar
  13. Hobson LD, Harris D, Buckner-Manley K, Smith P (2012) The importance of mentoring novice and pre-service teachers: findings from a HBCU student teaching program. J Educ Found 26(3–4):67Google Scholar
  14. Kaufman J, Birmaher B, Brent D, Rao UMA, Flynn C, Moreci P, Ryan N (1997) Schedule for affective disorders and schizophrenia for school-age children-present and lifetime version (K-SADS-PL): initial reliability and validity data. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 36(7):980–988CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Masters J (2013) Scaffolding pre-service teachers representing their learning journeys with ePortfolios. J Learn Des 6(1):1–9Google Scholar
  16. Pine, GJ (2009) Teacher action research: building knowledge democracies. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  17. Poetter TS, Pierson J, Caivano C, Stanley S, Hughes S, Anderson HD (1997) Voices of inquiry in teacher education. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, MahwahGoogle Scholar
  18. Sherab K (2013) Strategies for encouraging behavioral and cognitive engagement of pre-service student-teachers in Bhutan: an action research case study. Educ Act Res 21(2):164–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Valli L (1992) Reflective teacher education: cases and critiques. SUNY, AlbanyGoogle Scholar
  20. Vygotsky LS, Cole M (1978) Mind in society: the development of higher psychological processes. Harvard University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. Zeichner K (1993) Action research: personal renewal and social reconstruction. Educ Act Res 1(2):199–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Zeichner K (1996) Teachers as reflective practitioners and the democratization of school reform. In Zeichner K, Melnick S, Gomez ML (eds) Currents of reform in preservice teacher education. Teachers College Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Zheng D, Shi L (2003) The development and enlightenment of overseas educational practice. Higher Normal Research 15(5):69–74Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography and TourismShaanxi Normal UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Curriculum & Instruction DepartmentNew Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationGuangxi Normal UniversityGuilinChina

Personalised recommendations