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This article explores the issue of whether a reflective culture is a necessary condition for sustaining action research in the Maldives. Drawing on data gathered for a study conducted in the Maldives and supplemented by a discussion of literature on the appropriateness of AR in developing countries, I consider why AR might be useful for professional development in the Maldives. As in many developing country contexts, there are many practical difficulties, such as time constraints that can prevent teachers from engaging in AR. However, the main focus of this article is to reflect whether it is simply a case of the absence of a reflective culture or AR itself that may be acting as a barrier to teacher engagement in it. Based on these findings, I argue that familiarity with reflective practices in teaching may be a prerequisite to the development of AR in the Maldives, and therefore, it may be that introducing the notion of reflective practice into initial teacher training is the first step. I also argue that it is important to carefully and critically consider the assumptions and practices within AR and adapt it for use as a professional development tool.
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