Friday, August 13, 2010

Reflections on Action Research

The process of learning about action research has been enlightening for me. I completed my first master’s degree over ten years ago and I cannot remember the topic from my research class for that degree. I do remember that it revolved around insights learned from past research. My action research project for this degree revolves around current research that is developed and implemented by myself to add to the collective knowledge of all in education.

In week two of our course, we were asked to watch video taped interviews of some school leaders discussing their action research projects. One of the scholars that I chose was Dr. Timothy Chargois. Dr. Chargois talked about how his district uses action research to determine if new projects or systems will work for their school district. A statement that he made was that many of their administrators have higher degrees and are used to doing research and looking at data, but the teachers may only have pedagogy and content knowledge from their time in college. One suggestion talked about was how schools need to use research to affect tomorrow’s instruction. I work with teachers in my region on a program called the Texas Math and Science Diagnostic System. This program if used correctly can provide formative assessment for teachers that they can use to change their instruction immediately. In trainings, it is even suggested that a teacher could teach a concept in one class period, have the students take an assessment in TMSDS, look at the results, and then if needed change their instruction for the next class period that same day. Helping teachers learn how to use data and impact instruction is a rewarding experience and I look forward to learning how to do it better through action research projects.

In the video from week 3, Elvis Arterbury, Ph.D. and Steve Jenkins, Ed.D. discussed the eight steps to follow when creating an action research plan. They stated that the inquiry process is critical because it is based on logical reasoning and requires one to collect data in a systematic way. Once I had completed watching their video, I began the process of developing my own action research project. By working through the steps, I was able to develop my draft action research plan. The steps made it easier to work through the process of the development and revision phases of my plan.

In weeks two through five we were asked to make blog posts and reflections on others blogs as part of our continual learning. I found this to be very insightful and I was drawn to the blogs of my fellow classmates. In the first week, I was very interested in the layout and design of the different blogs, but as the weeks progressed I found that I was more interested in reading how my classmates were thinking about the content. I found that this helped me to understand the content better and to receive the information from several different perspectives

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