A critical examination of the role of action research.
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In Zimbabwe, there is no school for teacher educators. People who become teacher educators do so after gaining primary or secondary school teaching experience. Teacher educators may not have the necessary means to determine what they know and what they do not know. For this reason, this study sought to evaluate the experiences of teacher educators who had undergone a two-year intervention training project on action research. This was a qualitative phenomenological study, whose data were generated through interviews, focus group discussions, personal life stories and observations. Six participants considered to be rich informants were purposively selected for this case study. The study, guided by Fullan’s (2007) theory of change, also involved an inductive process leading to the generation of themes, which was followed by an interpretive discourse analysis. Five major themes emerged from the study, namely: evidence of reflection, interactive classrooms/lecture rooms as a source of joy, the need to change traditional ways of educating teachers; poor remuneration for participants who attend gruelling MQEP workshops, and the need for the involvement of all stakeholders from planning to exit of donor-funded projects. Implications drawn from the study include the need to incorporate action research into teacher education programmes or curricula. In that regard, the establishment of teacher educator institutions would help in the development of teacher educators. The study also notes the need for donor-driven projects to involve project beneficiaries so that both formative and summative evaluation strategies are collectively generated, to allow meaningful conclusions to be drawn from these projects. With respect to the Masvingo Quality Education Project, the major finding was that action research has the potential to improve teacher education.