This research focuses on conducting action research in collaboration with teachers in a private, international school in Egypt. It aims at empowering teachers as agents of changes through a process of developing school improvement plan. The research seeks mobilizing teachers and embarks on a case study of participatory action research for school improvement in Egypt, thus not only it contributes to literature in these areas but also represents a pioneering study in the Egyptian context. The researcher works in this school and is also a graduate of it. Thus her relationship with the school community extends over a period of 15 years. This has helped in building rapport between the researcher and the school practitioners. Similar to the researcher, 50% of the school teachers and administrators have been working in the school for over 10 years or are alumni of it. This in turn enabled the school to reserve its culture for decades. Aiming at supporting the school improvement, participatory action research is employed. The purpose of this action research is not only to gain knowledge but also to undertake actions, particularly by involving teachers in the reform process where their ownership of change evolves. The research followed qualitative approach and included emergent design of which regular meetings and focus group discussions were conducted with eleven teachers and surveys with open-ended questions were administrated to 68 teachers in order to assess the school performance and develop its improvement plan. In addition, the researcher used observation and kept a record of field notes. The research reveals the main areas of strength and improvement for the school. It also brought to life many of the concepts pertaining to the literature review such as democracy, reflection, positionality, trust, internal transformation, collaboration and resistance to change. These concepts have further been demonstrated in this research by mobilizing teachers as agents of change and sharing leadership responsibilities for the school improvement.


International & Comparative Education Department

Degree Name

MA in International & Comparative Education

Graduation Date

Spring 6-1-2013

Submission Date

May 2012

First Advisor

Megahed, Nagwa

Second Advisor


Third Advisor


Committee Member 1

Purinton, Ted

Committee Member 2

Norman, Peggy

Committee Member 3



92 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy. The author has granted the American University in Cairo or its agents a non-exclusive license to archive this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study, and to make it accessible, in whole or in part, in all forms of media, now or hereafter known.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item