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Volume 8 Number 4, Winter 2011, Pages 1-248   

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Towards Rectifying the Power Imbalance between Teachers and Researchers

    Isaiah WonHo Yoo

With an increasing number of researchers who have called attention to the power imbalance between teachers and researchers, the last two decades have witnessed a dramatic rise in the popularity of action research as a way to empower teachers by enabling them to conduct context-specific classroom research. Although not unchallenged, numerous contributions that action research makes to improving classroom practices have been well documented, and teachers are continually encouraged to do action research. However, the dearth of respectable international journals by which the findings of action research can be disseminated disheartens those who conduct small-scale classroom research that deals with context-specific questions for which no established learning or language theories may have clear, immediate pedagogical implications. With an example of such action research, this paper argues that seemingly purely practical action research studies that address specific local questions, when taken together, may eventually lead to new principles of language teaching. Before the renowned international journals, which serve the role of professional gatekeepers, stop insisting that every practical paper be grounded in theory, the power imbalance between teachers and researchers will never be rectified.

Keywords: action research, power imbalance, linking theory with practice