The Impact of Action Research on Teacher Professional Development: Perspectives from Iranian EFL Teachers

Document Type : Original Article


Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


Action research is an efficient tool for the teachers to tackle the problems in their classes and enhance teaching and learning process. This study explored EFL teachers' perceptions about the effect of conducting action research on their professional development. It also probed into the challenges and problems that teachers experienced during the conduction of their action research as well as the support structures which are needed in this regard. Ten EFL teachers were involved in doing classroom-based action research for one semester. Qualitative data were gathered through questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and diaries. Findings revealed that action research contributed to teachers' professional growth through increasing their awareness of their role as teachers and of their students’ needs, providing opportunities for self-reflection on practice, increasing professional confidence, developing a sense of leadership and autonomy, and creating a positive classroom atmosphere. Nevertheless, the participants struggled with three major challenges during the conduction of their action research: lack of time, lack of academic research knowledge and lack of institutional support. It is concluded that contrary to the existing professional development programs, action research can act as a cost-effective, contextualized and efficient professional development instrument tailored to individual teachers’ specific teaching circumstances and classroom peculiarities. Finally, suggestions are made for promoting action research engagement in language education contexts.


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