Beginning ED 616:

  1. Focus:What are the main features of action research?  It is a process of collecting information for the purpose of diagnosing a problem, searching for solutions, taking action on promising possibilities and monitoring whether and how well the action research worked. It is site-based research and decision-making which increases the problem-solving abilities of individual organizations, like schools. The goal with action research is that we will be able to make more and better informed assessments as a result of action research’s impact on students learning opportunities.

2. Think about a place you work or where you engage in significant activities. What are some of the issues and problems you or others experience in this context?

Issues- bullying, low test scores, differentiated physical development, physical activity, physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being, writing (literacy), math (numeracy), phonological awareness, boredom, student engagement

Action Research Defined:

Individual Teacher Research- focuses on changes in a single classroom; a teacher defines a problem and then seeks solutions to that problem

Collaborative Action Research- focuses on problems and changes in a single classroom or in several classrooms; the team follows the same investigative and reflective procedures as the individual teacher-researcher.

School-Wide Action Research- a school faculty selects a school-wide area or problem of collective interest to be improved, then collects, organizes and interprets data on site. Data from other sources can be funnelled into the decision making process of the faculty who then determine what actions should be taken.

2. Reading:

(1) Stringer Chapter 1, pp. 1-35;

(2) Calhoun: Action research: Three approaches (an easy read that will help you answer the questions that Stringer poses, and that I ask you to write about)

3. Activities:

  • Complete the exercise on the page: Experiences with AR that I have emailed to you. The 5 questions are all on one page, but use additional space if required. Please print a copy to bring with you to our first class, or have the completed work available for viewing on your laptop/tablet.
  • To complete the following activity, I would like you to begin your own digital journal that focuses on your ideas and questions on action research. This journal can take any form you wish, although it must be written using some digital technology. If you wish you can print it, or have it available to view on your tablet or laptop. Bring your journal with you to our first class on June 30.
  • Write about some of the issues and problems you or others experience in the place where you work or the place where you engage in significant activities. See the reflection suggestions on page 34 of Stringer for further detail about this question.  In particular, I would like you to reflect on the last 2 bulleted points under Reflection:
  • How do the principles of action research fit this context? Will you need to change the way you, as researcher, interact with people? In what ways?

On my personal blog, I wrote a piece on boredom and curiosity and the relationship between the two.  You can find that piece here at http://pursuitofajoyfullife.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/on-boredom-and-wonder/. Action research could fit the context of this story I wrote in that I am talking about the challenge teachers have to preserve wonder and curiosity in the classroom even within the constraints we work under (such as outcomes, course schedules, school routines, rules and norms, school expectations, fixed lunch time and recess schedules, to name a few of the more obvious constraints). I might need to challenge myself a little to work on this particular goal by breaking outside the box a bit more. That is, in following a model of inquiry-based learning I am therefore letting the students be my guide. In watching their body language, I know when I need to respect their need for a change of scenery or a shift in position.  And when I hear the words, “I am bored” I know that I must change the direction we are heading in so as to make learning more engaging for all involved. So the research in this case would primarily be individual teacher research.

  • How might you change the way you usually operate of interact with people- eg. as manager, teacher, principal, health professional—in order to enact your researcher role?

As a teacher-researcher, I would change the way I interact with my students for the better in that I would be challenging myself to make learning more engaging for them. I would have increasingly more positive operations of interactions with them with this new focus on action research.

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