Aliya Zafar University of Florida [email protected] I will share my experience of engaging in an empirical study in Pakistan and how my identity as a researcher shifted and changed as I investigated teachers perceptions of action research(AR) for professional development (PD) in Pakistan. I found myself in the midst of conflicting identities of being a novice researcher, a graduate student at UF, and a Pakistani female educator. Fulbright/ graduate student at UF since 2006. Taught English courses in P-12 and to undergraduate & graduate students. Multiple identities because of traveling: China, India, United Kingdom, and USA. Enthusiastic about QR. Emerging as a novice researcher. Maintaining equal status between researcher and researched. Co-constructing knowledge. Following research conventions in the U.S. such as IRB, consent form. Colonized by the British; gained freedom in 1947. East and West Pakistan separated in 1971. After colonization British systems of governance and the English language prevailed. Current population: 170 m. Major Languages: Urdu, English , Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Siraiki, Balochi. Teacher education in Pakistan is almost nonexistent. Banking education (Freire, 1970) dominates. The need to develop teacher education programs for both pre-service and in-service teachers in K12 as well as in higher education is a huge concern and a need. (Common Wealth Report, 1993; Ministry of education (Moe) 2008; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 2008). I became intrigued by AR for PD of teachers in Pakistan during my M.Ed. program at UF. Action research is “…a spiral of cycles of planning, execution, fact-finding, and reflection leading to social action and social change” (Borko, Whitcomb & Byrnes, 2008, p.1029) . Purpose: to investigate the perceptions of teachers and school leader(s) regarding AR for PD in a K-12 school in Pakistan. Participants:12 Pakistani, female teachers Methodology: Introduced AR, conducted focus group interviews; and collected field notes, and documents. Findings: Participants perceived AR as a viable form of teacher PD if the required support (time, flexibility) was provided by the administration, parents and school leaders. Position of researcher /participant in the US Position of researcher /participants in Pakistan Inviting participants to the study Assigning participants to the study Protecting participants through IRB No understanding of IRB protocol approval, consent form etc. even after reading, explaining and discussing. Junior researcher, graduate student learning how to research, looking for access and support. Researcher as a god of knowledge who would make participants exemplary teachers. Compensation for participants. No expectation of compensation. Aware that support is required to carry out research. Perceptions of being privileged to be chosen by the researcher. Facilitators providing a space for the researcher to conduct the study within the set schedule. Making accommodations for the researcher- adjusting the schedule to meet the need of the researcher. Researcher as a learner. Researcher as an expert. Social constructionism My desire to be seen as a ‘local’ was unsettled in transnational research. post colonial. ‘Halfie’ researchers ‘whose national or cultural identity is mixed because of migration, overseas education, parentage’(Subedi, 2006). Participants problematized my desire for legitimacy as an insider. Owing to Western discourses Westernaffiliated researchers cannot avoid how research is connected to discourses of power and hegemony (Subedi, 2006). Halfie’s shift between multiple identities and confront the politics of representation (Abu-Lughod ,1991). Positioning: Participants assumed subordinate positions creating the “Self” and “Other” binary. Examples: Presence prior to the researcher's arrival, requesting permission to leave the room. Informed consent as a western construct; perceived differently by participants and school leader. Role of school leader in the research activity. Assumptions of power in relation to western experiences and knowledge. Influence of positivist epistemology. Feedback from participants: We thought this would be another one of those sit and get workshops where we would be lectured but it was not … we were able to participate … we enjoyed that. You should come more often and spend more time with us. We really enjoyed the ice breaking activity, we were able to share our experiences. It seemed that what we said was valued. research is inextricably linked to European imperialism and colonization (Denzin, Lincoln & Smith, 2008). Knowledge used for domination and control by constructing “positional superiority” (Said, 1979, p.7). Research seen as a positivist construct. Positivist frames of reference can pose several challenges for researchers in post colonial contexts. Geographic decolonization is not synonymous with deconstruction of binaries that position the self as “Other” (Said, 1979) and is further reinforced by hegemonic practices and constructed consciousness (Hinchey, 1998). What gives us the right to study them? When we speak of others in our voice do we not displace and appropriate theirs? Is representation of others free of the play of power and domination in any way possible? Does it all come down to who writes whom? (Geertz, 1995, p.107) The image of the helping Western colonizing Other must be resisted. Traditional ways of doing science should be deconstructed (Denzin, Lincoln & Smith, 2008). Relationships of trust and transparency of the research process are vital to creating a third hybrid space (Bhabha, 1985). Abu-Lughod, L. (1988) Fieldwork of a dutiful daughter, in: S. Altorki & C. F. El-Solh (Eds.) 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(1998). Finding freedom in the classroom: A practical introduction to critical theory. New York: Peter Lang. Said, E. (1979). Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books. Subedi, B. (2006). Theorizing a 'halfie' researcher's identity in transnational fieldwork. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 19(5), 573-593.