Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Action Research Planning Process

How to Get Started on a Project

Borrowing heavily from Hollingsworth (1994) and Hopkins (1985) I offer the following practical suggestions for the teacher research process:
  1. Decide on a focus
    • Start with autobiographical data by locating your best professional self. Some questions you might ask - What are your broad interests in teaching and learning? What are your specific interests? What are manageable questions? Choose something you feel passionate about.

    • Justify that the project is your best solution to the problem.

  2. Develop a plan to gain insights
    • Develop a time-line to gather evidence or data to examine what you are trying to accomplish/resolve/do in light of "what you do not know yet".

    • Decide what evidence you want to collect. Evidence includes such things as questionnaires/surveys, observations (video or written notes), collaborations ( i.e. video or audio tape of meetings, peer coaching) interviews, tests and records, student work, video and audio tape transcripts, personal journal, library readings, etc.

  3. Analyze the data by looking for patterns, or themes across the evidence
    • keep logs and journals, periodically read over the evidence, code data from themes and patterns, draw or chart patterns, try to summarize what you have learned as you go, by noting images, metaphors, and any new questions.

    • check out your understandings by triangulating evidence (same theme, code, pattern appears in more than two types of data), and by talking to peers, students, friends.

  4. Report on what you have learned
    • to your colleagues, to parents, at conferences, in journals.

    • summarize what you learned -- in an essay, narrative, poster, video, . . . poetry.

    • tell how the problem changed, didn't change, or became worse because of changes in your practice.

A key component of Action Research is sharing what you have learned. A number of techniques ranging from videos to formal presentations have already been suggested, but consider the following as potential audiences as well:

  1. Colleagues at a staff development day
  2. Parents and students
  3. Email discussion groups (see On-line Resources)
  4. Publications from professional organizations
  5. Journals such as "Teacher Research: The Journal of Classroom Inquiry" - a journal by teachers, for teachers. Brenda Power
Once teacher research is shared it allows for further action on the part of the teacher, or the broader educational community to continue. The educational community has become increasing supportive of teacher research. At a recent meeting on science education in California that I attended Bob Polkinghorn, the Director of the Statewide Subject Matter Projects in California called for the documentation of evidence of change in practice at the classroom level by teachers. If you have not undertaken teacher research in your classroom now is the time to try!

This is directly taken from http://www.accessexcellence.org/LC/TL/AR/


Belinda said...

What a busy little beaver you have been today. I had never heard of that "Teacher Research: The Journal of Classroom Inquiry" but it sounds like a useful tool for what we are doing.

Miss S said...

Yes i think it looked useful. I would rather collect my information that i think will be useful onto my blog so i can reflect on it later... it is more teacher related, but at least if i know what to do i can best help the kids with theirs by applying similar steps.
I was a busy beaver today :-) I really enjoy the hands on stuff, and chatting to others... I love our lead teacher days!
Our presentation at the staff meeting went really well, we had lots of fun games (Favourites- depending on the chocolate you chose, you had to look at the list and share with a budy, e.g. moro was Why did you choose to go into teaching?)We had an Icon quiz..name the logo... a powerpoint of digital story telling, an example of digital stories... made proudly by room 8 using kid pix, a story board template, and a step by step guide into using kidpix and creasing a slide show. Very very worthwile.

Gillian said...

I love the model of Action Research you have posted for us. Have to say its one of the easier ones to read and understand. The thing I love about Action Research is all of the collaboration and discussion. And it doesn't matter if you go on a different tangent as long as you keep following the cycle...