Co-researching best practice in an Australian special school: The process of participatory action research
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Research into best practice in special education has concentrated on the identification and description of practice standards against which schools can evaluate their performance and thereby guide collective efforts toward program improvement. A Queensland special school wanted to update an Australian listing of basic indicators of best educational practice for students with significant disabilities (Beamish, 1992) that they has used for over a decade. This paper reports the Participatory Action Research (PAR) process undertaken by this school to develop a contemporary listing in partnership with university colleagues. Two cycles of the process took two years. In the first cycle, staff engaged in a systematic review of the original listing and then generated new teaching practices for their school. In the second cycle, staff refined the emergent listing through internal consultation. Key learnings from this PAR experience were commitment to the reciprocities of PAR process, the value of active administrative support, and the critical leadership role of teachers.
Special Education Perspectives
© 2012 Australian Association of Special Education. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
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