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Discussion area for Action Research Process Article

What did you think and why did you think it??

I thought that this article gave some very useful tips regarding how to put together action research plans. Many times it takes me forever to determine how to create the questions and I often have to rework it several times, by following the guidelines provided, I should be able to create clearer research questions that so not imply anything by the way they are worded. (This has always been a challenge for me.)
Action Research is something that we all do without always keeping the data required to back up our instructional decisions, the question is will I have time to keep the data with all else I do? Has anyone had a chance to look at my research questions? Do you think they are too broad or too narrow?
~Theressa


I feel like we have beaten this horse to death, but I will again say that I think AR is a great idea, but it will take time to get all teachers on board with it because as someone said in one of our classes it just sounds like something to add on to our, as teachers, "to do list". As I mentioned before, using the I wonder statements seems to make it easier to come up with questions....so that might make it easier for teachers to accept AR. Also, if schools could find "extra" time to give teachers to work on these things -- either added hours (and pay) outside of school days or time within the school day. I agree with someone...maybe it was another group...that said that AR is something that we, as teachers, do everyday when we lesson plan and adapt to the needs of our different students. By following the AR process, it just seems that we are writing down or documenting the changes we are already making. Does any of this make sense? Another group brought up the idea of requiring all teachers to complete AR (even new ones, because then they wouldn't know any difference). I have thought about this and think that maybe that isn't a horrible idea. What do ya'll think?

I too think that action research is a great idea, but I also think that it must be personal in order for it too be effective. Like I said in one of my posts, I don't think that mandating action research is a good idea because it just becomes another hoop to jump through. I think all effective teachers do some sort of action research and to make these teachers change their process into something that can be reported on to the state would probably make it less effective for them. Action research like many other personal or professional development things has to be authentic in order for it to be effective. If it becomes something like most of the state reports I have to fill out it isn't real at all. The ICDP that I had to fill out last year was a joke. Our tech coordinator (last year) gave us all a template and we filled in a goal and were supposed to fill in some results. If teachers want to be successful they are doing action research and they will continue to be successful. If they aren't doing it they will probably not be in teaching long or they won't be very good at it. We just need to find ways to get better teachers to stay in education.
Dustin

Dustin,
I too filled out the ICDP last year. We were also given a template, but the goals were directly tied to our school-wide goals which was a great idea for classroom teachers. Specialists and any other professional in the building were allowed to taylor the ICDP to meet thier needs. The way our district did it, if forced us to do AR, but it was built on our school improvement plan. It worked well and didn't feel like it was one more thing on the pile.
Theressa

Team C’s Group Contract


Communication:
  • We will utilize WebCT Discussion board
  • We will utilize the Action Research Wiki Space to edit our group assignments
    • The Wiki is available from the Advanced Media Project Home page on WebCT.
  • Other forms of communication will be through WebCt email.

Checking for Updates:
  • Each group member will be expected to look for updates every other day or 3 times a week.

Team Leader:
  • Theressa will act as our team leader.

Team Postings:
  • Everyone will take turns getting things posted. We will use a volunteer system, if no one volunteers to post, the team leader will see who hasn't posted and request that they take their turn.


Policy for Absences / Lack of Participation:
  • Everyone should get 1 "freebie", if you have a very busy week ahead and know that you will not be able to contribute much, please let everyone know a week in advance. This will allow everyone the time they need without everyone taking the same week off.

Conflict Resolution:
  • If you have a problem with someone on the team, then the first step will be to contact the person and see if you can resolve it professionally. Since we have been working together as a cohort for the last year, we don’t think this will be necessary, but if the problem continues after speaking with the individual, then other group members should assist to resolve the conflict. If members still have problems solving their conflicts, Dr. Z will be asked to assist.



Collaborative Team Reading Brief -- Similarities and Differences

  • Due Wednesday September 19, 2007

Using the briefs that I have, I began to list the similarities between them on the table below. Someone can begin to list the differences on the other side of the chart. Perhaps someone else can put it into final form and submit it by the 17th. I have attached a format for the final draft as well.- Theressa

Similarities

Differences

School wide action research-
  • How exactly schoolwide action research can be aligned with various curricular area and how the goals of the study can be adapted to all areas of instruction?- Dustin
  • How are district wide action research projects implemented by all teachers with comparable effort of individual teachers?- Courtney
  • What can we do with schoolwide action research in order to make it more personal for all teachers involved?- Dustin
  • What happens to schoolwide action research when there are so many participants involved? - Theressa
  • How can the data collected be valid when the people conducting the research do not conduct it all in the same way?- Theressa

Indiv. Teacher Research-
  • What can we do with individual teacher research in order to make it more useful for a larger number of teachers?- Dustin
  • The biggest question I have relates to why individual teacher research is not more available to the educational community?-Theressa
  • Is there a public forum that teachers can publish their individual research?- Theressa
  • Does the average teacher have time to do this?- Theressa
  • I had to wonder how many teachers were actually up to the task of truly completing any form of action research, school-wide, collaborative, or independent. -Holly

What Action Research Can Do?
  • The detailed process of collecting data, analyzing, and implementing specific plans with action research makes for a meaningful change in the framework of a classroom or district wide.- Courtney
  • I do think that school wide action research can provide opportunities for systems to inspire teachers to develop stronger teaching practices.- Dustin
  • I agree with the author about the great potential that action research has. Everyday we have the opportunity to add to our knowledge base and become the best teachers that our students have ever had.- Theressa
  • If every teacher or school district attempted to fully implement action research principles, I believe the practical implications can be amazing.- Holly

Which Type of Research?
  • Being able to identify which type of action research is needed in a particular situation is important, as well as being able to identify possible side effects- Dustin
  • Calhoun did a good job of stressing the importance of selecting the right type of research to fit your needs.-Theressa

Support Needed-
  • Practical implications that I noticed in reading this article was that in order to truly gain anything from action research, no-matter what type it is, a teacher or district needs to have support behind them. - Holly
  • Without support from the administration, action research can not be effective because the tools you need to conduct such research (ex: test data, staff learning data, etc.) will not be as easily available to you.- Theressa



Team C's Collaborative Reading Brief

Group Brief

Collaborative Team Reading Brief
Team C – Courtney, Dustin, Holly Theresa

Overview of the Articles
The two articles by Emily Calhoun look to provide insight into the purpose of action research along with the different types and uses of action research. Calhoun first explains what action research is and gives the reasoning behind the use of action research in an educational setting. She defines action research as a “continual disciplined inquiry conducted to inform and improve our practice as educators.” (p 18) and then shows how each type of action research is best suited for a particular application. Calhoun then goes on to describe a particular study of schoolwide action research project that was carried out in order to improve reading scores. She looked at how one instructor at this school district was able to adapt her schoolwide action research project to fit her needs, while at the same time fulfilling the schoolwide reform goals. Calhoun finishes by emphasizing the importance of support in developing and implementing any type of action research website.
What new insights about action research did your group members gain from this reading? You will want to write this in a way that celebrates the similarities and differences between the members’ experiences in reading these articles.

One of the biggest ideas that all of our group discovered was how important and informative action research can be for an educator. When used correctly, action research can provide data that can be used in a multitude of ways to improve almost any aspect of instructing students. It is a very powerful way of improving practice in an educational setting. Another insight that we discussed in our reading briefs was the importance of choosing the right type of action research in order to make it the most effective and also how important it is to have ongoing support through the action research process. There were other items that individual group members found insightful from the articles. For instance, the commitments required in order for action research to be highly effective was discussed by one student. Another student talked about the personalization of action research in comparison to its effectiveness. It was also discussed by one student how important they thought inspiration of teachers was in determining the effectiveness of a schoolwide action research project.
As a group, explain the questions that the author raised for you about action research and:
- its place in the classroom.
How can schoolwide action research projects be aligned with various curricular areas and the goals of the project be adapted to all the different areas of instruction?
How can a school district pay for or allot enough time for an action research project to be successfully carried out?
-the effects it can have on learning.
Could it be the case that an action research project could be shown to have a negative effect on student learning? Is it likely that too much emphasis could be put on collecting data and not enough time on teaching students?
In what ways can schoolwide action research projects be implemented so that all teachers demonstrate a comparable effort in creating a successful study?
-the effects it can have on the educator.
Would all teachers/administrators be able to fully complete a high quality action research project given all of the steps that seem to be required?
Does the strain of providing data for an action research project have an effect on the teaching practices of the educator?
What kind of training would be required for most teachers to be able to analyze the data collected during an action research project? Would most teachers be able to perform such a task?
What are the practical (i.e., applicable) implications of this author’s work for designing and implementing your future action research?
The most important practical application we discussed as a group was learning the importance of developing a support network when developing an action research project. We all discussed how difficult an action research project would become without the proper support team to help guide the researcher through the process. Our support groups can come from many different avenues (i.e. the cohort, instructors, colleagues), but having them in place before beginning the action research process is a must. Calhoun also presented some interesting ways in which to process the data collected from action research projects. She provided some information on the types of data that might be collected as well as some tools that could assist a researcher in analyzing the data collected during their action research project.