Published on July 4, 2016
1. Action Research in Education
2. Frequently asked questions of teachers • How can I get the students to enjoy learning? • What can I do to make handicapped children feel part of my class? • How can I make my classroom more interesting for students? • How might we conduct teacher evaluation processes in this school in ways that will improve teaching and learning? • How can I encourage more parental support for what does on in the classroom? • How can I adapt an already demanding curriculum to better meet the specific needs of the students in my class? • How might we work together better as a staff to establish such things as school objectives, philosophy, and budget priorities? •
3. Jack Whitehead, Action Research, Principles and Practice, McNiff, 1988, ix • We must find a way of bridging the traditional divide between educational theory and professional practice.
4. Definition (1) • Action research is a research that ANY of us can do on his/herown practice to improve it. • It can be conducted with the assistance or guidance of professional researchers in order to improve strategies, practices, and knowledge of the environments within which they practice.
5. Definition (2) • Action research is a process in which participants examine theirown educational practice, systematically and carefully, using the techniques of research.
6. What is action research? • Action research can be described as afamily of research methodologies which pursue ACTION (or Change) and RESEARCH (or Understanding) at the same time.
7. What is AR? (Cont’d) • Action research is inquiry or research in the context of focused efforts to improve the quality of a PRACTICE. • It is typically designed and conducted by practitioners who analyze the data to improve their own practice. • Action research can be done by individuals or by teams of colleagues. The team approach is called collaborative inquiry. • Action research has the potential to generate genuine and sustained improvements in schools.
8. Why AR? • AR gives educators new opportunities to reflect on and assess their teaching; • To explore and test new ideas, methods, and materials; • To assess how effective the new approaches were; • To share feedback with fellow team members; • To make decisions about which new approaches to include in the practice.
9. Participatory Action Research (PAR) • PAR is research involves all relevant parties in actively examining together current action (which they experience as problematic) in order to change it and improve it. • They do this by critically reflecting on the historical, political, cultural, economic, geographic and other relevant contexts. • It aims to be active “Team-Research”, by and for those to be helped. • It cannot be used by one group of people to get another group of people to do what they think is best for them ; • AR is genuinely democratic or non-coercive (By practitioners for practitioners) • Reference Wadsworth, Y. (1998)
10. How Action Research is Done? • Using a Cyclic or Spiral process which alternates between Action and critical Reflection, and • Continuously refining methods, data and interpretation in the light of the understanding developed in the earlier cycles.
11. Characteristics of A.R. • It is an emergent process which takes shape as understanding increases; • It is an iterative process which converges towards a better understanding of what happens; • It is participative (Change is usually easier to achieve when those affected by the change are involved) and qualitative.
12. Why AR? • It is participatory ; • It is “from within” and not from an external “Expert’s eye” • Very real “presences” can emerge in the dynamically unfolding relations which can teach us new ways of conducting our practice.
13. Scope of AR Understanding Students (Factors related to Students, Behaviour/Characteristics): Ascertaining the readiness for teaching a particular concept or principle in a particular subject Gender difference in interest towards a subject. Reasons of shyness in the classroom for a subject Causes of truancy (absenteeism) in a subject. Performance of children in a particular subject with or without private tuition. Comparison of performance in a subject of normal children with those belonging to disadvantaged groups.
14. Scope of AR (b) Roles and Functions of Teachers (Factors related to teachers): • Effect of incentives on the development of improvised aids in a particular subject. • Teachers’ problems in teaching a particular subject in primary / secondary / senior secondary schools. • Quality of teacher-pupil interaction and pupils’ interest in the learning of a subject. • Teachers’ personality and teacher-pupil interaction. • Comparison of quality of interaction in classes of a particular subject taken by male and female teachers. • Teachers’ applying experience gained by them in in- service training in a particular subject.
15. Scope of AR (c) School climate/infrastructure (Factors related to school climate): • Changing sitting order in classroom and span of attention in solving mathematics problems. • Effect of closed and open-air classrooms on increasing interest in a particular subject. • Changing time of mathematics period and interest of students in mathematics learning in the class.
16. Scope of AR (d) Curricular and Co curricular practices (Factors related to Curricular and Co curricular Practices): • Management of classroom activities with children of wide ranging abilities. • Pupils’ performance on different types of test items on the same content areas of a particular subject. • Effects of peer teaching on the attainment of mastery learning. • Effects of different remedial measures in removing learning difficulties.
17. Why AR? (Cont’d) • It is the most logical way of doing research on societal and community issues. • Sometimes, it does not make sense to go to an outsider ,with often shaky or no knowledge of the given situation, thinking that with a few questions, he/she can get enlightening answers. • It is difficult to grasp the issues of a group or community by an outsider who has limited interaction with the group.
18. Key Topics • Purposes and uses of Action Research • Types of action research designs • Key characteristics of action research • Steps in conducting an action research study • Evaluating an action research study
19. What is action research? • Action research is systematic inquiry done by teachers (or other individuals in an educational setting) to gather information about, and subsequently improve, the ways their particular educational setting operates, how they teach, and how well their students learn (Mills, 2000).
20. When do you use action research? 1. To solve an educational problem; 2. To help educators reflect on their own practices 3. To address school-wide problems 4. When teachers want to improve their practices
21. How did action research develop?Teacher and school inquiries (e.g. teacher-initiated research studies) Professional inquiry by teachers (e.g. self-study) School-based site councils (e.g. School Committees) In-service days (e.g. teacher staff development activities) 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s Toward Action Research in the USA
22. Action research designs Action Research ParticipatoryPractical •Studying local practices Involving individual or team- based inquiry •Focusing on teacher development and student learning •Implementing a plan of action •Leading to the teacher-as-researcher •Studying social issues that constrain individual lives •Emphasizing equal collaboration •Focusing on “life-enhancing changes” •Resulting in the emancipated researcher
23. Practical action research: The Research Spiral (Mills, 2000) Analyze and Interpret Data Develop an Action Plan Collect Data Identify an Area of Focus
24. Participatory action research • Participatory: people conduct studies on themselves • Practical and collaborative • Emancipatory (Challenges procedures) • Helps individuals free themselves from constraints found in media, language, work procedures, and power relationships • Reflexive focused on bringing about change in practices
25. Action Research Interacting Spiral
26. Key characteristics of Action Research • A practical focus • The educator-researcher’s own practices • Collaboration • Dynamic process • A plan of action • Sharing research
27. Practical focus • A problem that will have immediate benefits for – Single teacher – Schools – Communities
28. Study of the educator- researcher’s own practices • Self reflective‑ research by the educator- researchers turns the lens on their own educational classroom, school, or practices.
29. Collaboration Administrators Staff Teachers Students Parents Community Stakeholders Collaborative Team
30. A dynamic process • Dynamic process of spiraling back and forth among reflection, data collection, and action • Does not follow a linear pattern • Does not follow a causal sequence from problem to action
31. A plan of action • The action researcher develops a plan of action • Formal or informal; involve a few individuals or an entire community • May be presenting data to stakeholders, establishing a pilot program, or exploring new practices
32. Sharing research • Groups of stakeholders • Local schools, educational personnel • Local or state individuals • Not specifically interested in publication but in sharing with individuals or groups who can promote change
33. The problem is only one phase in which to enter Identifying “Problem” Collecting Data Evaluating Existing Data Taking Action Point of Entry Point of Entry Point of Entry Point of Entry
34. What are the steps in conducting action research? • Determine if action research is the best design to use. • Identify the problem to study • Locate resources to help address the problem • Identify the information you will need
35. Taxonomy of action research data collection techniques Action Research Data Collection Techniques (The Three E’s) Experiencing Enquiring Examining (By observing) (By asking) (by using records) Participant Observation (Active participant) Passive Observer Informal Interview Structured formal Interview Questionnaires Attitude Scales Standardized Tests Archival documents Journals Maps Audio and Videotapes Artifacts Fieldnotes
36. What are the steps in conducting action research? • Implement the data collection • Analyze the data • Develop a plan for action • Implement the plan and reflect
37. How do you evaluate action research? • Does the project clearly address a problem or issue in practice that needs to be solved? • Did the action researcher collect sufficient data to address the problem? • Did the action researcher collaborate with others during the study? Was there respect for all collaborators?
38. How do you evaluate action research? • Did the plan of action advanced by the researcher build logically from the data? • Is there evidence that the plan of action contributed to the researcher’s reflection as a professional? • Has the research enhanced the lives of the participants by empowering them, changing them, or providing them with new understanding?
39. How do you evaluate action research? • Did the action research actually lead to change or did a solution to a problem make the difference? • Was the action research reported to audiences who might use the information?
40. 10 Coping Strategies Jean McNiff, Action Research, Principles and Practice, McNiff,1988, 144-145 1. Don't Give Up 2. Enlist the Help of Colleagues 3. Keep a Positive Attitude 4. Be Prepared to Compromise 5. Be Generous 6. Go Public 7. Join a Local Action Research Group 8. Establish a Reputation for Success 9. Publish Reports in Journals 10. Have Faith in Your Own Knowledge.
41. 10 Guidelines for Teachers Fullan and Hargreaves (1991), quoted in Change Forces, Fullan, 1993, 144 1) Locate, listen to and articulate your inner voice 2) Practice reflection in action, on action, and about action. 3) Develop a risk-taking mentality. 4) Trust processes as well as people. 5) Appreciate the total person in working with others. 6) Commit to working with colleagues. 7) Redefine your role to extend beyond the classroom. 8) Push and support principals and other administrators to develop interactive professionalism. 9) Commit to continuous improvement and perpetual learning. 10)Monitor and strengthen the connection between your development and students' development
42. Improving School Effectiveness Using the PDSA Cycle and The Action Plan Carlos Viera Miami-Dade Count Public Schools
43. Plan-Do-Study-Act • An approach to process analysis and improvement. • Involves constantly defining and redefining the customers’ needs and wants. • PDSA is a versatile tool that can be used for planning, problem solving, and decision making- to solve problems in the classroom.
44. Benefits of PDSA Instructional Cycle 1. Teachers have flexibility in how to teach by focusing on what to teach. 2. It emphasizes key skills for every student and allows them to retain skills in order to build higher skills. 3. It encourages collaboration among teachers, students, and instructional support staff. 4. It promotes active learning and student involvement in the learning process.
45. 1. It places the ultimate responsibility of learning on the learner 2. It aligns planning, instruction, assessment, and support towards students performance. 3. It is data driven so it removes subjectivity. 4. It contributes to climate of achievement and success. 5. It is a proven approach that achieves results.
46. The Eight-Step Process 1. Test Score Disaggregation Student test scores used to identify Instructional groups (weak/strong). 2. Time Line Development Develop time line encompassing all objective areas based on student needs. 3. Instructional Focus Deliver Instructional focus lessons to students based on schedule. 4. Assessment Administer an assessment to identify mastery and non-mastery students. 5. Tutorials Provide tutorial time to re-teach non mastered target areas. 6. Enrichment Provide enrichment opportunities for mastery students. 7. Maintenance Provides materials for ongoing maintenance and re-teaching. 8. Monitoring Principal assumes the role of instructional leader, involved in teaching and learning process.
47. An Example: The PDSA Cycle at the School Site
48. Plan : •Disaggregate data: •Know where you are/going •To show improvement •Evaluates teachers/students •Ongoing to identify any problems •Provides instructional direction •Create Calendar to achieve goals Do : •Instructional Focus: •Make it a school wide activity •Provide instructional focus sheets to teachers and other faculty •Solicit feedback from teachers •Ask students randomly what is the instructional focus. Act •Reinforce – review what has been taught •Refocus (Development) -remediate during school hours for non- mastery students •Refocus (Enrichment)- mastery students receive advanced or challenging work Study •Provide frequent assessments •Collect data to identify mastery and/or non-mastery •Assessments should “look and feel” like accountability tests. •Teachers should meet to review scores and share improvement ideas.
49. AR Links • http://educ.queensu.ca/projects/action_research/15quote.htm http://carbon.cudenver.edu/~mryder/reflect/act_res.html http://arj.sagepub.com/
50. Action Research (Geoffrey E. Mills, 2nd Edition) • Slides from Action Research: A Guide for the Teacher Researcher
51. A Comparison of Traditional Research and Action Research What? Traditional Research Action Research Who? Conducted by university professors, scholars, and graduate students on experimental and control groups Conducted by teachers and principals on children in their care Where? In environments In schools and
52. • Action Research engages teachers in a four-step process 1. Identify an area of focus 2. Collect Data 3. Analyze and interpret data 4. Develop an action plan
53. • The values of critical action research dictate that all educational research should be socially responsive as well as: 1. Democratic- Enabling participation of people 2. Equitable- Acknowledging people’s equality of worth 3. Liberating-Providing freedom from oppressive, debilitating conditions 4. Enhancing-Enabling the expression of people’s full human potential (stringer,1993 p.148)
54. The Process of Action Research • Actually try the process to convince yourself that the investment of time and energy are worth the outcomes • Recognize that action research is a process that can be undertaken without negatively affecting your personal and professional life • Seek support from your professional colleagues
55. Clarifying a General Idea and an Area of Focus • Statement/Observation: Students do not seem to be engaged during teen theater productions – Questions: How can I improve their engagement ? • Statement. Observation: Students take a lot of time to learn problem solving in mathematics, but this process doesn’t appear to transfer to their acquisition of other mathematics skills and knowledge – Question: How can I improve the integration and transfer of problem-solving skills in mathematics? • Statement/Observation: Parents are unhappy with regular parent-teacher conferences – Question: How can I improve the conferencing process using student-led conferences?
56. The Action Research Plan 1. Write an area-of-focus statement 2. Define the variables 3. Develop research questions 4. Describe the intervention or innovations 5. Describe the membership of the action research group 6. Describe negotiations that need to be undertaken 7. Develop a timeline 8. Develop a statement of resources 9. Develop data collection ideas
57. For Further Thought 1. What general ideas do you have for action research? 2. What is your area of focus? 3. Complete the following statement: “The purpose of the study is to…” 4. Conduct an initial search of the related literature using ERIC on-line 5. Conduct an action plan that includes an area-of-focus statement, definitions, research questions, a description of the intervention, membership of the action research group, negotiations to be undertaken, a timeline, the necessary resources for the project, and data collection ideas
58. Outline of AR report • 1. Area of Focus • 2. Related Literature • 3. Defining Variables • 4. Research questions • 5. Description of the intervention • 6. Data collection • 7.Data Analysis • 8. Action Plan
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