Metaxis in classroom research: Why Chicken Little ran away

Year: 2000


Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The discourse of participant/observer often silences the difficulties inherent in a research paradigm that assumes the possibility of multiplicity without overtly acknowledging it. This presentation problematises the role of participant/observer in research in schools. Examples are drawn from a pilot study which utilised a research spiral involving teachers, university lecturers, school students and trainee teachers in two countries.

The first stage of the study took place in Kindergarten classes in Cambridge, England and Sydney and involved the children in a sequence of drama activities centered on a literary text. The research aim was to extend the theory base of critical literacy learning and of drama teaching in the early years of school. In the second stage of the study the videos made of the drama lessons were edited and shown to trainee teachers to exemplify significant moments, which occur as a result of varied drama processes. Our research purpose was to extend students repertoire of literacy classroom practices.

During the process of the study we became aware of various points of tension amongst the roles of researcher/participant/observer. The paper presents a critique of tension points that will be illustrated using a videoed scene from the classroom drama work.