Building bilingual pedagogical content knowledge through critical action research: a pilot study 2006

Funding year: 
1 year
Richmond Road School
School sector
Project start date: 
January 2006
Project end date: 
January 2007
Principal investigator(s): 
Donald McLean
Research team members: 
Stephen May, University of Waikato; John McCaffery and Helen Villers, University of Auckland
Research partners: 
Chris Lowman, Richmond Road School; Senior staff of The A’oga Fa’a Samoa; Māori and Pasifika elders associated with the school

Project Description

This pilot project aimed to assist the school’s practitioners to develop and apply critical research methods to identify the existing strengths in multicultural–bilingual policy and practice. It was intended to also identifies gaps and needs, and provides critical assessment and analysis in relation to current best evidence in critical multicultural and bilingual education theory.

The key research questions that emerged, and guided the wider AR research process, over the course of the year, can be summarised as followed:  

  •  What are the existing bilingual pedagogies and practices of RRS and how effective are they?  
  •  What levels of bilingual PCK do RRS teachers demonstrate in relation to these existing bilingual pedagogies and practices at the school?  
  •  How can critical action research (CAR) extend RRS teachers’ bilingual PCK in line with best practices identified in the relevant research literature?  
  • How might this CAR process provide the basis for changing/modifying/improving teaching practices at the school, within the limits of a one-year pilot study?  
The emergent research focus on the role and significance of teachers’ bilingual PCK to the ongoing bilingual pedagogy and practice of RRS was a key feature of this pilot study. Developing further the bilingual PCK of teachers, and linking this directly to their educational practice via critical action research, also came to be seen as  a key aspect of the research process over the course of the year.