About the Conference
The initiative of organising a conference on Action Research is motivated by a series of workshops presented by Erin Watters (English Language Fellow in Constantine, Algeria) to the students of English at the English department at the Ecole Normale Supérieure ‘Assia Djebar’, Constantine (ENSC), as part of the English Language Fellowship programme sponsored by the US Embassy Algiers. The conference aims at bringing together research findings and teaching practices in the foreign language classes. This objective is a major concern for the mission of the ENS Constantine, which is devoted to higher education and teacher training. In this perspective, the ENS Constantine is partner of several cooperation programmes with international educational institutions including the University of Gavle (Sweden).
The conference sheds light on the challenges and benefits of taking action to solve problems that foreign language practitioners may face throughout their career as teachers and/or researchers. Teachers need to develop the ability to observe and analyse classroom practices, and implement and evaluate courses, textbooks and teaching materials. In this perspective, action research should be considered as ‘a core element of teachers’ work, not as an optional extra’ because ‘it has benefits not only to the teachers for thinking about how to improve their own practice but also for their students’ (Norton, 2009: 22). Consequently, an adequate action research methodology is required to enhance logical reasoning before taking pedagogical action (Whitehead & McNiff, 2006). Furthermore, teachers usually adopt a reflective attitude towards their abilities to design, plan lessons and act as teachers by assuming roles, tasks, and interactions with their learners. This attitude prepares novice teachers to become future researchers.
Action research ‘like all forms of research, requires time, commitment and resources in order to carry it out successfully’ (Norton, 2009: 01). Involving novice teachers and teacher-researchers in materials analysis, evaluation and design increases their exposure to the profession and enhances their self-confidence and their self-efficacy in designing their own teaching materials (Graves, 1996, 2000). This commitment engages teachers in the risk-taking, problem-solving attitude to the challenges they face in the context of teaching and collaborating with colleagues. Language learning principles, pedagogical organisation, and classroom atmosphere become academic arguments of sharing the experience with colleagues and convincing other partners of providing financial resources and material support for life learning action. In the long run of action research activities, teachers’ professional and academic careers would increase and bring sustainable development to the teaching and learning community.
Graves, K (ed). (1996). Teachers as Course Developers. Cambridge University Press.Series Editor J.C. Richards
Graves, K. (2000). Designing Language Courses. A Guide for Teachers. Heinle and Heinle Publishers. Newbury House Teacher development.
Norton. L,S. (2009). Action Research in Teaching and Learning. A practical guide to conducting pedagogical research in universities. Routledge
Wallace, M.J. (1998). Action Research for Language Teachers. Cambridge University Press
Whitehead, H & McNiff, J. (2006). Action Research Living Theory. Sage Publications