Pupils as action researchers: improving something important in our lives


Branko Bognar
Josip Juraj Storssmayer University of Osijek

Marica Zovko
Primary school "Vladimir Nazor" Trenkovo


Abstract: Although an increasing number of teachers carry out action research inquiries in their educational practice, the role of pupils and students is not still sufficiently explored. In spite of the theoretical requirement for pupils to be equal participants, we explored the possibility of their becoming fully-fledged action researchers. In this report we reveal how ten-years-old pupils take over the whole processes of action research themselves. We realise that action research is not a teaching strategy for gaining better educational results, neither is it a preparation for life: it is life itself. We believe that traditional schooling cannot create a conducive atmosphere for pupils to carry out their own action research. Our research shows that it is possible to do this only in a child-oriented school whose main purpose is the development of the creative potentials of all participants. In our inquiry the pupils determined their own challenges with the aim of improving something important in their own lives. We show that action research is meaningful only if students engage with it on their own terms, on the basis of their own needs, interests and self-chosen values. Anything that hinders pupils’ freedom will only compromise the foundations of action research itself and any educational value accrued from it.


Key words: Action Research; Pupils Action Researchers; Child-centred Education


1 We would like to express our deep gratitude to Moira Laidlaw whose generous help was decisive in the creation of this account.