Dr. Dean Presents Paper on Action Research carried out at Strathmore University
The Second Annual Conference of the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA) was hosted by Moravian College, one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the USA, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania from 22nd to 24th May 2014. The conference theme; Enacting Our BeliefsThe So-What of Action Research, was inspired by the idea that reflection and understanding without action is flawed. The transformative nature of research is central to action research and so it is important to showcase the variety of transformative action that come from this kind of research. The papers, symposia, roundtable sessions, etc. which formed part of the conference all reported on the explicit outcomes of action research, as well as the benefits of action research for individuals and the larger community. On the first day participants visited three schools in the area to see how action research is being used by teachers in class. The visit to the New York City iSchool was particularly interesting (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipU1E2u-gGQ).
Dr. Catherine Dean, of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Strathmore University, presented a paper entitled Transforming primary schools in Kenya through action research: experiences from a diploma in educational management. The aim of her paper was to make public the transformative action research projects carried out by primary school teachers who did the Post Experience Diploma in Educational Management at Strathmore University (Nairobi, Kenya) from 2009 to 2013. This program was developed to empower Kenyan teachers to implement effective improvements in their schools. Dr. Dean explained the background to the program and highlighted its relevance in the context of the deterioration in quality of public primary schools in Kenya. The response from teachers who did the Diploma program was significant in that they were motivated to bring about real change in their schools. Dr. Dean showcased some examples of the transformation achieved by teachers using action research. Her paper was well received by the session participants.
Dr. L. Rowell, chief editor of the forthcoming Palgrave Handbook of Action Research who was present at the session, expressed interest in ensuring that these examples of action research in an African context be included in the handbook. Dr. Dean is currently working on a chapter contribution to this Handbook along with other African scholars.
As Dr. Dean explained in her presentation, Ms. Margaret Kariuki of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences has been an important support to the teachers who did the Diploma. She also assisted Dr. Dean in preparing her paper by sharing her experiences and other information about the program. With the assistance of the Communications Office, they made a brief video discussing the So-What of Action Research as requested by the ARNA 2014 Organizing Committee for use at the conference. The video may be watched by clicking on the link below.
We wish Dr Dean the best in her endeavors.