How to write an Action Research Paper

how to use participatory action research and how to structure an action research report.It also explain how to write action research title | pdf free download
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Published Date:06-07-2017
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Introduction Good teachers and educational leaders do not rely needs of educators new to the benefits and only on traditional ways to solve problems, the processes of Action Research by providing step-by- advice of others, or even the recommendations of step guidelines for implementing Action Research experts. Good teachers and educational leaders projects for the purpose of examining and refining conduct their own investigations to identify and literacy practices to improve student performance. solve problems and analyze information about The goal of Action Research is a positive change in their classrooms and schools; in the process they everyday practice in one’s own classroom, school, also further develop their own professional or district. It is largely about encouraging teachers competence. Action Research is one such powerful to be continuous learners and proactive ‘actors’ in tool for professional development and high-quality their own classrooms. Action Research is also about teaching. incorporating reflection into the daily teaching Good teachers ask themselves routine – the willingness to critically examine one’s teaching in order to improve or enhance it so that Are my students learning? teachers become empowered to make informed Are my methods of teaching effective? decisions about what to change and what not to change. What difference does my teaching make in developing the knowledge and skills of my Action Research helps teachers: students?  Link prior knowledge to new information. Ongoing assessment of teaching practice is essential  Learn from experience (even failures). to ensure that instruction is effective. Examination  of your teaching and its effectiveness helps you Ask questions and systematically find know how to proceed with subsequent teaching answers. (Fueyo & Koorland, 1997) and learning. Action Research is one powerful Action Research is helpful in improving the method to help teachers know that their practices professional experience of teachers, head teachers, are having the desired results. and administrators. It gives every educator a chance Increasingly diverse classroom settings require an to improve the practices in classroom and schools, increasing diversity of instruction targeted to the which ultimately will improve the quality of specific needs of the students in that classroom. By teaching and learning. It leads towards positive examining classroom instruction for effectiveness, quality improvement in the education system. validating what is effective, and eliminating what is In support of the USAID strategy, “In stable, well not effective, Action Research enables educators to performing countries with unmet needs in basic refine their instruction to meet diverse student education, the priority focus will be on assuring needs. The goal of this handbook is to address the 1Introduction learning outcomes for primary grade children, This handbook has been written to assist school especially in reading,” the focus of this Action personnel to understand what Action Research is, Research guide will be on educators of children in why we should conduct Action Research, who the primary grades. USAID global education goals conducts Action Research, and the process of Action are: Research. It is hoped that this will develop knowledge and skills so that administrators, mentors, and  Goal One: Improved reading skills for 100 teachers can conduct school-based Action Research million children in primary grades by 2015; projects that result in positive changes in their  Goal Two: Improved ability of tertiary and schools. Specific goals of this handbook are to help workforce development programs to produce a educators do the following: workforce with relevant skills to support  Define and explain Action Research. country development goals by 2015; and  Demonstrate an understanding of how to use  Goal Three: Increased equitable access to the recursive nature of Action Research to education in crisis and conflict environments improve their teaching of instructional for 15 million learners by 2015. literacy. This correlates with the Global Partnership for  Provide examples of the Action Research Education’s strategic direction to ensure that more process in action. children enroll in school and receive a better  Identify action-researchable issues in their education. The Global Partnership for Education's objectives are as follows: own schools and classrooms. 1. Increase support for fragile states.  Plan and implement Action Research projects 2. Improve learning outcomes and quality in their own schools and classrooms. education.  Assess and share the results of their own 3. Support girls' education. Action Research with colleagues. Action Research supports the results-oriented  Learn to improve instructional decision- approach endorsed by the Global Partnership for making through a continuous reflection point Education by ensuring that all learners’ needs are of view. recognized and met through ongoing differentiated Real-life examples of Action Research projects instruction. Utilizing Action Research furthers the focused on literacy instruction in diverse classroom USAID global education goals by enabling educators settings, including those in crisis and conflict, along to improve reading skills through improved with an easy to follow step-by-step process for instruction that focuses on the diverse needs of the implementation will be presented. students in any setting, including settings of crisis and conflict. 2Introduction Readers will understand the features and benefits of Reflection Action Research and benefit from case-study examples of successful Action Research projects in What is your job as a teacher? diverse educational setting. The process for Action Research will be unpacked to help educators clearly understand Action Research and the skills needed to conduct it. In addition, as you examine the principles of Action Research at your own pace, interactive exercises will allow you to practice the basic processes for implementing Action Research. When something goes wrong with your lessons, what do you do? Write three things you already know about Action Research. 3A Brief History of Action Research Action Research is not a new idea. It dates back to the Research has become a valuable tool for job work of Kurt Lewin, who developed the idea in the embedded professional development of teachers. 1940s. Lewin promoted doing research in a natural Action Research emphasizes the involvement of setting in order to change the setting or actions in it. teachers in problems in their own classrooms and His process is reflected in today’s idea of Action has as its primary goal the in-service training and Research as an ongoing cycle of planning, acting, development of the teacher rather than the observing, and reflecting on change (Lewin, 1948). acquisition of general knowledge in the field of Lewin coined the term “Action Research” to describe education. (Borg, 1965, p. 313) work that did not separate the investigation from the The classroom-based focus has brought about school action needed to solve the problem (McFarland & reform and individual focus that gives teachers Stansell, 1993). vested interest in the research and the change it can Stephen Corey applied Lewin’s idea of Action bring in their classrooms. Research to an educational setting. He believed that a close examination of one’s teaching practices would What is Action Research? result in a positive change in the practices. “We are Action Research is known by many names, including convinced that the disposition to study…the participatory research, collaborative inquiry, emancipa- consequences of our own teaching is more likely to tory research, action learning, and contextual action change and improve our practices than is reading research, but put simply, Action Research is “learning by about what someone else has discovered of his doing”—a group of people identifying a problem, and teaching.” (Corey, 1953, p. 70) doing something to resolve it, evaluating their efforts, Unfortunately, support for and the practice of Action and if not satisfied, trying again. Action Research is Research became less popular in the 1950s. examining one’s own practices through collaborative Experimental research designs and the collection of inquiry, reflection, and dialogue. quantitative data became common practice and If you think of research as a process of steps used to Action Research was viewed as not real research, just collect and analyze information in order to increase common sense. In the 1970s, Action Research came our understanding of a topic or issue, then you would back into wide use as educators began to see that think of Action (change) + Research (investigation) as many research projects did not have practical investigating a problem or situation in order to make application to their own classrooms. change happen. When something goes wrong with Action Research focuses on issues that are specific your lessons, what do you do? If you think about what and personal to teachers in their own classrooms and you are doing and make a change, you are doing Action schools, with the primary goal of development of the Research teacher and effective teaching practices. Action 4A Brief History of Action Research The primary attribute that separates Action Research process of acquiring information and seeking from other types of research is its focus on having knowledge, which will serve one’s own actions. those involved in the issue actively become Action Research is “trying out and reflecting on ideas researchers. People learn best and more willingly in practice as a means of improvement and as a apply what they have learned when examining an means of increasing knowledge” (Kemmis & issue or problem themselves. The research takes place McTaggart, 1982). The information gathered through in real-world situations and aims to solve real Action Research is examined closely to determine problems. whether some action can be undertaken to effect What separates this type of research from general positive changes in the school, faculty, and students. professional practices, consulting, or daily problem- Action Research inquiries look into whether a solving is the emphasis on close examination of data particular action is achieving its goals. If not, the collected from their own environment. The action is modified and the cycle of research researcher studies the problem systematically and continues. ensures any change that is made is informed by the While there are many definitions of what Action evidence he or she has collected, and then shares Research IS, it is important to remember what the results of that research. Action Research is NOT: Although the term “Action Research” has many 1. It is not the usual things teachers do when definitions and applications, in educational settings they think about their teaching. Action Action Research involves systematic inquiry by any Research is systematic and involves collecting school personnel in order to gather information evidence on which to base rigorous reflection. about real, everyday issues in teaching and learning 2. It is not just problem-solving. Action and use that information to improve student Research involves problem-posing, not just learning and achievement. “Action Research allows problem-solving. It does not start from a view educators to learn about their own instructional of problems as incurable ailments. It is practices as they monitor improved student motivated by a quest to understand the world learning.” (Rawlinson & Little, 2004) by changing it and learning how to improve it The prevailing focus of teacher research is to expand from the effects of the changes made. the teacher’s role as inquirer about teaching and 3. It is not research on other people. Action learning through systematic classroom research Research is research by particular people on (Cooper, 1990). Teacher researchers are more their own work to help them improve what interested in knowledge about a specific situation in they do, including how they work with and for their own classroom than about more general others. Action Research does not treat people applications. In other words, Action Research is as objects. It treats people as autonomous, guided by the process and standards of scientific responsible agents who participate actively in inquiry, but it is not intended to inform the larger making their own histories by knowing what research or educational community. Instead it is a they are doing. 5A Brief History of Action Research 4. It is not the scientific method applied to  want to ensure their own continuous teaching. Action Research is not just about professional development through ongoing hypothesis-testing or about using data to Action Research in their institutions and come to conclusions. It is concerned with classrooms; and changing situations, not just interpreting  will understand the nature of Action Research, them. It brings the researcher into view. which is different from traditional “academic Action Research is a systematically evolving research.” process of changing both the researcher and What sets Action Research apart from other types of the situations in which he or she works. The research are the principles that guide the research. natural and historical sciences do not have this Winter (1989) outlines these six key principles that aim. help us judge the validity of our Action Research by (Adapted from Henry & Kemmis, 1985) linking values, practice, and theory: The key characteristics of Action Research are that it 1. Reflexive Critique is practical, reflective, and recursive. Reflecting on issues and processes helps us to  Teacher researchers study practical issues that become aware of our own ideas and biases. will have immediate benefits for teachers, The principle of reflexive critique ensures schools, and school districts. that we reflect on issues and processes and  It involves self-reflective research by the make explicit the interpretations, biases, teacher researcher, who turns the lens on his assumptions, and concerns that formed our or her own classroom, school, or practices. judgments. Reflexive critique opens our ideas, feelings, thoughts, processes, and conclusions  Action Research is recursive in that issues and to public review and to self-reflection. By concerns are explored in an ongoing way by self-reflection and questioning, new the teacher researcher. The process spirals back arguments can be formed along with the and forth among reflection, data collection, possibility for new actions. and action. 2. Dialectical Critique Dialectical critique is a discussion of different Principles of Action Research reflective interpretations of practice in order The popular assumption is that administrators, to understand the relationships between all mentors, and teachers seek learning strategies and the parts of our environment to see how methods to improve the teaching and learning everything fits together. The key elements to situation in their schools. It is presumed that focus attention on are those that are unstable educators who participate in Action Research: or in opposition to one another. Focusing on  have the innate potential to take up/accept these is most likely to create changes. challenges that will take place when these new strategies are introduced; 6A Brief History of Action Research 3. Collaborative Research of the theory is then further analyzed in a Co-researchers work together to validate continuous Action Research cycle that views. Everyone’s view is taken into alternates between theory and practice for consideration in order to understand the the process of improvement. situation better. This principle assumes that (Adapted from Winter, 1989) every person’s ideas are significant, not just In summary: those of the Action Researcher. This makes it possible to get insights from the  In Action Research, educators examine and contradictions between the viewpoints of the assess their work and consider ways of co-researchers. working differently. 4. Risk  Action Research is problem-posing as well as The change process can cause fears among the problem solving. researchers. Sometimes it is not easy to hear  Action Research is not just about open discussion of one’s interpretations, ideas, hypothesizing and collecting data. It aims at and judgments. Action Researchers must be changing situations; not just interpreting prepared to take a risk by opening their ideas them. and reflections to criticism and risk failure in  Action Research focuses on teachers’ and order to learn. administrators’ day-to-day concerns. 5. Plural Structure Reports should contain many (plural) voices reflecting diverse opinions, comments, and critiques which lead to different interpretations of the evidence (data) and recommendations for different possible actions. Using triangulation in both data-collection and in accounts of the research itself ensures a plural structure. Such a report encourages ongoing discussion among co-researchers, rather than a final conclusion. 6. Theory, Practice, Transformation Theory and practice are not in opposition in Action Research. They are interdependent and complementary parts of the Action Research change process. They happen together and are both necessary for improvement. The goal of Action Research is to make the theory explicit in order to justify the actions. The application 7A Brief History of Action Research Reflection How do you define Action Research? Do you have a situation you would like to change with Action Research? Explain. 8Action Research in My Classroom and applicable to his or her own classroom because Why should I do Action Research in my the question he or she is asking is his or her unique classroom? question. The idea of Action Research is that educational problems and issues are best identified and Action Research (AR) provides teachers with the opportunity to gain knowledge and skill in research investigated where the action is: at the classroom and school level. By integrating research into these methods and to become more aware of the options and possibilities for change. It gives them a rich settings and engaging those who work at this level in research activities, findings can be applied source of data for improving their classrooms and schools. They have the opportunity to try new immediately and problems solved more quickly (Guskey, 2000). teaching practices and reflect on the changes in their classrooms and students. Teachers participating in Good teachers are those who are also good Action Research become more critical and reflective students—lifelong learners who seek to improve about their own practice. (Oja & Pine, 1989, Street, their knowledge and practice throughout their 1986) careers. Research adds to our knowledge by Lawrence Stenhouse, cited in Rudduck (1988) stated addressing gaps and expanding what we know. Research improves practice by helping educators gain that, “It is the teacher who, in the end, will change the world of the school by understanding it.” new ideas for their teaching, gain new insights into their approaches, and connect with other Teachers who engage in Action Research are increasing their understanding of the teaching and educators. Research allows people to weigh different perspectives on issues and make informed learning process. What they are learning will have a great impact on what happens in classrooms, decisions. Action Research provides a means of focusing instruction on issues directly related to the schools, and school districts. Action Research can shape the staff development programs and classroom or school. It positions educators as learners who want to narrow the gap between their curricula of schools and support school improve- ment initiatives. All these things are impacted by the practice and their vision of quality education. things teachers learn and the changes they make The research itself and implementing the resulting through the critical inquiry and rigorous information provide a form of professional examination of their own practices and their school development directly related to and supportive of programs that Action Research requires. teachers’ and students’ educational needs. This has a Teachers engaged in Action Research depend more great potential for creating long-lasting school change. These changes occur in everyday practice on themselves as decision makers and gain more confidence in what they believe about curriculum rather than a theoretical generalization to a broad audience. Each researcher finds out something new and instruction (Strickland, 1989). Action Research 9Action Research in My Classroom gives teachers a voice in the field. It allows teachers to new strategies or studying the specific learning depend on themselves to know what is happening difficulties of a certain student, the Action Research and what needs to happen in their own classrooms. process itself can uncover previously hidden Instead of teachers relying on administrators or pathways to support improved learning for teacher educators to tell them what to do, Action individual children in the teacher’s classroom. Researchers have command of their own knowledge Action Research is based on the following and information to support decisions they make assumptions: about their teaching practices.  Teachers and administrators work best on Stenhouse has strongly supported this point of view: problems they have identified for themselves; Good teachers are necessarily autonomous in  Teachers and administrators become more professional judgment. They do not need to be told effective when encouraged to examine and what to do. They are not professionally the assess their own work and then consider ways dependents of researchers or superintendents, or of working differently; innovators or supervisors. This does not means  Teachers and administrators help each other that they do not welcome access to ideas created by working collaboratively; by other people at other places or in other times. Nor do they reject advice, consultancy, or support.  Working with colleagues helps teachers and But they do know that ideas and people are not of administrators in their professional much real use until they are digested to the point development. (Watts, 1985, p. 118) where they are subject of teachers’ own judgment. (Stenhouse, 1984) What do YOU as a professional gain from Action Research? Gathering valid, relevant evidence allows the teacher to make informed rather than intuitive decisions  better knowledge about how to help students about effective practice. The process validates learn in schools; teachers as professional decision makers by putting  a way to evaluate the effectiveness of them in charge their teaching practices and innovative strategies; professional development. It allows teachers to feel in  a more professional stance; control of their own situation while abiding by and implementing national or district mandates.  more enjoyment in your work life; Autonomous professionals must have the ability to  an ability to know whether what you are doing engage in self-study of their teaching and testing helps students or not; their classroom practices to see if they work.  better communication among educational Finally, when teachers engage in Action Research, professionals in your school. they gain specific insights into the individual needs of students—particularly students who struggle to learn in the classroom. Whether teachers are testing 10Action Research in My Classroom You can think of Action Research as a way for Reflection teachers to collect valid information about their own classrooms and use this information to make On what occasions might you work as a informed choices about teaching strategies and researcher? learning activities. Teachers can then share the information with students in order to gain their ideas and internal commitment to specified learning activities and procedures. Action Research is used in real situations, rather than in contrived, experimental studies since its primary focus is on solving real problems. It is used when circumstances require flexibility, the involvement of the people in the research, or when change must take place quickly or holistically. (Adapted from O’Brien, R.; To what extent can Action Research improve the quality of your work? www.web.net/robrien/papers/arfinal.html) Action Research revitalizes educators’ professional lives by making their work more interesting and rewarding as they examine their own teaching and make improvements THEY decide to make. Teachers who engage in Action Research tend to be more willing to self-assess and reflect on their practice and actions in order to improve their teaching. Action Research encourages educators to work collaboratively with their colleagues to reflect on their practices and improve instructional practices and promote student achievement. 11Who Uses Action Research? Action Research is conducted by administrators, concerns. Working with colleagues broadens the head teachers, and teachers who are fully aware of horizons of understanding to find similar issues the day-to-day issues in their teaching environments solved in a similar manner. and decide to undertake systematic inquiry into the Action Research assists practitioners and other identified issues. Educators who apply this approach stakeholders in identifying the needs, assessing the are those who wish to improve understanding of development process, and evaluating the outcomes of their practice, support the learning of a student or the instructional changes they define, design, and students, or have been invited to do so by implement. Collaboration spreads the work of decision-makers aware of a problem requiring Action Action Research among the stakeholders. It Research. Action Research projects may be encourages dialogue about practice and brings conducted by one individual in one classroom, by a multiple perspectives to the planning, conduct, and team of two or several educators, by an entire school, interpretation of Action Research. There is safety and by an entire school district, or in collaboration with a strength in numbers. The collective expertise of the university or other agency. group can enrich the research process and the While Action Research is usually focused on specific findings (Brozo, 2011). issues in specific classrooms, there are benefits to Bringing a collaborative group together for Action collaboration during and after the process. Research promotes a problem-solving culture across Conducting Action Research in teams allows mutual classrooms, grade-levels, and schools as team support for the resolution of mutual issues. members come together for a shared purpose. According to Greenwood and Levin (1998, p. 4), Collaborative Action Research focuses on inquiry in teams can work together to “define the problems to school communities with different faculty members be examined, co-generate relevant knowledge about functioning as co-researchers. The ultimate aim of them, learn and execute social research techniques, collaborative Action Research is to develop a take actions, and interpret the results of actions sophisticated understanding of the problems, issues, based on what they have learned.” and practices of teachers in authentic settings, It is helpful to find colleagues and work with them bridging the gap between theory and practice because it breaks the “isolation barrier’ often caused (Stringer, 1996). when a teacher is the only adult in the classroom. Collaborative partners in Action Research are those When teachers collaborate on an Action Research people who are directly involved in the situation they project, they know that they are not alone in finding are researching. The more members of the answers to challenging situations. Action Research collaborative Action Research group who know promotes professional conversations as teachers about the research concern, the more they can help work together in pairs or teams to address mutual in clarifying the ideas and developing action plans 12Who Uses Action Research? and strategies. Collaborative partners on an Action District-wide research can be very beneficial for the Research project may be teachers at a school working school and community, but it requires a lot of together or teachers working with administrators or organization and more resources than individual or university professors. school-wide research. It requires a great deal of communication and commitment from all As few as two teachers or a group of several teachers stakeholders. Effective district-wide Action Research and other faculty members may work together on a can result in real systemic reform that benefits all classroom or grade-level problem or concern that is teachers and students. common to all of them. The Action Research project may involve only one classroom or it may address a Working individually on a project has its advantages common problem or concern shared by a grade level as well. The individual teacher doing Action Research or by several classrooms. The researchers may is usually working on a problem specific to his or approach the issue in different ways, thus expanding her own classroom instruction. Such teachers are the dialogue and reflection, resulting in different probably dealing with classroom management, solutions for the problem. instructional practices, or specific student achievement needs. The teacher may have the School-wide research focuses on issues common to support of his or her administrator or may be doing the entire school community. These identified issues research as part of a university class and have the are systemic in nature—they are identified by support of the professor. Individual Action Research observing broad-spread patterns of instructional is appropriate when researching classroom-specific needs among students over time, and at all levels of concerns. For example: the school.  A teacher wants to know if a particular For example, a school may be concerned about its practice increases motivation for students. students’ low achievement level on standardized  A teacher wants to explore the value of literacy tests, finding time to assist struggling students, creating a school-wide literacy program, multi-ability grouping for low achievers. improving communication with parents, or creating  A teacher wants to determine if a new a fair discipline policy. Every faculty member is approach to discipline decreases behavior involved in the research. Teams are formed to work problems. together to identify the specific problem and  A teacher wants to identify the cause for a formulate a research question, create and enact the specific learning problem for one or more plan, and gather data. They then discuss the shared students and how to address barriers to results and formulate a new plan to continue the learning. Action Research cycle. Successful school-wide Action Research is directly related to issues identified from Individual Action Research allows for more control school-wide data. The Action Research would over the focus and the plan of the Action Research logically become a part of the school improvement project. Individual Action Research can be plan. accomplished on a small and efficient scale. 13Who Uses Action Research? Considerations for whether a project is better suited Reflection to individual or collaborative research include:  the research issue and scale Based on your current thinking about an  the information needed Action Research project, do you think the project can be conducted by you alone or  the resources needed would you need collaborators? Why?  the work involved  the time investment needed  the people who might benefit from the action and findings (Brozo, 2011) However, whether Action Research is conducted individually, with a small team, or as a school-wide or district-wide project, at the heart of collaborative Action Research is a commitment to educational improvement (McNiff, 2002). Whether the question is centered in your own classroom or concerns the entire school, it should be personally important to you and focus on improving your teaching and learning. 14The Role of Administrators The role of administrators in Action Reflection Research Action Research is a means of improving student In what ways are researcher-administrators achievement through more effective teaching and helpful for their staff? administration of schools (Kemmis, 1981). It is important for everyone to know that educational reform is not the sole responsibility of teachers, but a shared process between administra- tors, teachers, students, and their parents. Administrators can provide a model of learning and Action Research for their faculty by becoming learners and researchers themselves and critically reviewing and attempting to improve their How does being a researcher help in the instructional leadership styles. professional development of administrators? Administrators and teachers can find collaborative projects in their own schools and across schools. An administrator can assume a learner’s role by finding colleagues with similar interests and working on Action Research projects across their schools. For example, administrators can identify a problem which is common to their schools, then work together to plan and report changes. Working with How is an administrator-researcher an administrator peer will provide support different from a traditional researcher? for decision-making in which their faculty is not involved. In addition, partnering for Action Research between teachers and administrators will support and enhance the role of the school administrator as an instructional leader, not just a building manager. By actively engaging with teachers in Action Research, the school administrator sends the message that instruction is the primary concern of 15The Role of Administrators the school, and that teachers who are seeking better work, empower teachers to decide goals for the instructional solutions are engaged in an accepted future. This adds to the professional growth and and honored role in the school. Administrators can learning of the teachers. use Action Research to effectively work with teachers To develop a collaborative culture in their school, the to improve the quality of teaching and learning in administrator must encourage objective and honest the classrooms of their schools. Adminstrators’ critical evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of Action Research can contribute to their own personal school and staff performance in order to improve development, better professional practice, and student achievement. To ensure objectivity and improvements in their school. honest critical evaluation, it is important to involve Within their own schools, administrators also can the staff in outlining the vision. This develops a sense motivate their teachers to take up Action Research of ownership in the school staff, motivates them projects, and they can act as their mentors. For towards higher levels of commitment, and engages teachers working on an Action Research project, the them in outlining values and purposes for their support and collaboration of the administrator is school. critical. If administrators are not doing the same A supportive learning environment is critical to the kind of analyses to support teaching and learning in success of any Action Research project. The Florida their schools, teachers’ Action Research will not be as Department of Education provides the following effective. guidelines to assist administrators in promoting a learning environment supportive of Action Research: A Culture of Research  provide sufficient and consistent opportunities Administrators play a key role in nurturing a culture of research in their schools. As researchers, in the school day for collaborative Action administrators may help to develop a collaborative Research (studying, analyzing student work, culture in the school, marked by cooperation, so the dialoguing collaboratively, and analyzing staff, as well as the administrator, controls the student data to make instructional decisions); development and implementation of changes and  build a support system for teachers through a new ideas. Collaborative practices enable teachers to coach or a knowledgeable person of the Action receive and give ideas and assistance in the process of Research process, student learning, and teaching and learning, and provide a sense of instructional practices; “ownership” of the changing roles and  set high expectations for faculty and students; responsibilities.  create a professional library housing professional To motivate participants and develop a sense of literature, assessment tools, and other ownership, goal-setting in any school must be a instructional resources for faculty; highly participatory task. This gives teachers a chance to translate common concerns into specific goals.  plan several sharing sessions for faculty to Determining common goals, so that teachers present their Action Research and findings participate in the process of improving how schools throughout the year; and 16The Role of Administrators  encourage all faculty to participate, including Reflection the principal and assistant principals. Downloaded from the Internet, March 2012: How do you establish a culture of research in http://www.fldoe.org/ese/pdf/action-res.pdf your school? Improving Student Learning through Classroom Action Research: A Guide to Becoming an Action Researcher. Florida Department of Ed. pg.2 To ensure continuous learning and improved performance, the learning environment must be based on trust and success, not fear and failure. To build trust and ensure successful outcomes, it is necessary to create a school culture which supports interdependence, negotiation, and security among staff. In order for this to happen, policies must be implemented that respect the contributions of each staff member and give appreciation generously to motivate teachers as well as provide examples of good teaching practices. Teachers who become successful and continual Action Do you think the administrators’ role is Researchers must have a support system within their schools and districts. An Action Research support team pivotal in creating a culture of action might consist of resource teachers, district staff, or research in their institutions? Why? university professors who would be available to support teachers as they conduct Action Research projects. The team may provide support by helping teachers to access resources for research and reviewing action plans to ensure alignment with school improvement plans. The team can advise teachers as to whether their plan is doable considering the resources and policies of the school or district. The support team can facilitate collaborative dialogue about the Action Research project and provide tips for successful projects. Adapted from Florida Dept. of Ed. http://www.fldoe.org/ese/pdf/action-res.pdf, 2012 17The Action Research Process Sandra Hollingsworth (1997) began her review of re-assessed and another Action Research cycle international Action Research projects with this begins. This process continues until the problem is statement: resolved. If there is one single pattern that emerges from (Adapted from O’Brien, R.; these chapters, it is that the forms, purposes, www.web.net/robrien/papers/arfinal.html) methods and results of Action Research around The process described in this handbook is based on the world differ widely. the ideas of these previous researchers. The process (Hollingsworth et al., 1997, p.312) of Action Research begins with a concern or interest from one’s own professional context. This concern Stephen Kemmis developed a simple model of the leads to gathering information and knowledge about cyclical nature of the Action Research process, a cycle the concern. Based on existing and new information that has four steps: plan, act, observe, and reflect. The and knowledge, a researchable plan is devised and central question is "How can I help my students implemented within one’s own professional context. improve the quality of their learning?" This can be Data on the implemented plan are then collected and broken down into these specific questions: analyzed. The findings of the Action Research are 1. What is my concern in my practice? shared with colleagues, administrators, and other 2. What am I going to do about it? stakeholders. In an ongoing process, Action Researchers continue to observe, reflect, and plan. 3. What evidence will let me make a judgment about what I did? Although different researchers may describe these steps of Action Research in slightly different ways, 4. How will I validate any claims about what I the steps explained in this handbook are: have done? (Kemmis, 1981)  Identify a problem and pose a question. Gerald Susman (1983) developed a somewhat more  Create an action plan. elaborate model by distinguishing five phases to be  Enact the plan. conducted within each research cycle. Initially, a problem is identified and data are collected for a  Study the plan in action (collect and analyze more detailed diagnosis. This is followed by posing data). several possible solutions, from which a single plan  Report results and get feedback. of action emerges and is implemented. Data on the  Modify the plan. results of the intervention are collected and analyzed, and the findings are interpreted to determine how  Try it again; study it again. successful the action has been. Then the problem is 18The Action Research Process How long does an Action Research project take? Reflection Typically, it will take place over several weeks or months. The length of time needed to observe or Describe the Action Research cycle in your demonstrate improvement will depend upon the own words. target of your inquiry. Action Research is an ongoing process, rather than a program. You might complete one phase of your project in a few weeks, evaluate, and start the process over with your new information. These steps can be repeated continuously and applied to any learning situation or problem for continuous improvement in classroom instruction. Why is Action Research considered a cycle instead of a one-way process? 19

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