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Many educators (teachers, principals, counselors, or others involved in the education of others) desire a change in the way their classroom or school is operated. Many are others concerned with how well their students are learning and how effective their teaching is. Action research allows educators to address these concerns by providing a four step process. The four steps include identifying an area of focus, collecting data, analyzing and interpreting data, and developing an action plan. The goal of this process is to gain insight, develop reflective practices, and create positive changes in a school or classroom. Essentially, action research is “done by teachers for themselves” (Mills, 2011, p. 5).
1. Instructional problem: This course is designed for educators who seek change and who are unsure how to successfully design or implement this change into their classrooms.
2. The nature of what is to be learned: Instructors will learn what action research is and how they could use it, how to decide on an area of focus and create an action plan, and how to collect data.
3. About the learners: Workshop participants include any person in the teaching profession. They come from a variety of disciplines and work with various age groups. Each professional will have earned a teaching certificate and some may have or be working towards a masters degree.
4. Instructional content: Each unit will be deigned similarly. They will begin with an overview of the unit and include specific learning objectives. Each will have a text based or video lecture focusing on the learning objectives. There will be assigned tasks and reflections as well as exposure to articles pertaining to the topic.
Performance Objectives for the Whole Wiki-Course:
1. From personal experience and interest, students will choose 1 area in their teaching/classroom that they would like to change/improve (evidenced by finding research on that topic).
2. Using their chosen topic, students will examine research on their topic by writing a brief literature review (giving the topic credibility).
3. Using examples of methods of collecting data, students will identify, by writing, at least 1 appropriate method to use with their topic.
4. Using their chosen method(s) of data collection, students will collect data; presenting and organizing this data in written form using a table.
5. Students will analyze their data using methods that are proper for their research question.
6. Students will report the data by identifying the findings and make recommendation based on these findings.
7. Using their collected data and results, students will create a written plan of action.
8. Students will continuously reflect on their experiences through discussion with classmates about what works and what does not work.
1. Course Purpose: As a result of participating in this workshop, instructors will gain an understanding of the purpose of action research and how to successfully design and implement an action research plan in their classroom. Additionally, they will become familiar with several ways to collect data.
2. Learning Outcomes: Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:
• Define action research.
• Identify the goals for action research.
• Identify the steps in the action research process.
• Decide on an area of focus for their classroom.
• Devise an action research plan.
• Identify several ways to collect data.
• Reflect on the process of action research.
3. Prerequisites for each objective:
Objective 1: Students must be teaching or volunteering in a classroom. They must be motivated to make a change or improve an aspect of the classroom.
Objective 2: Students must know what a literature review is, be able to find resources that relate to their topic, and be able to connect their research with their topic.
Objective 3: Students must be able to read and understand information about various techniques for collecting data. They must be able to relate one of the given techniques to their desired change/improvement.
Objective 4: Students must be able to collect real data and create a table showing this data.
Objective 5: Students must be able to examine their type of data.
Objective 6: Students must be able to examine their type of data.
Objective 7: Students must know what an action research plan is and how to write one.
Objective 8: Students must be able to and feel comfortable writing about their feelings and experiences.
Unit 1: What is and why use action research
Content: Making better decisions, the definition of action research, facts about action research.
Unit 2: Where to begin
Objectives 1, 2, 8
Content: Finding the problem, setting the problem in theoretical context (the definition of and how to write a literature review).
Unit 3: Collecting data
Objectives 3, 4, 8
Content: Types of data collection in action research (checklists, conferences, interviews, video/audio tapes, surveys, students' products or performaces), organizing the data.
Unit 4: Reporting and using the data
Objectives 5, 6, 8
Content: Validity, reliability, triangulation, inductive analysis.
Unit 5: Creating a plan of action
Objectives 7, 8
Content: Plan of action, conclusions.
Hahs-Vaughn, D., & Yanowitz, K. (2009). Who is conducting teacher research? Journal of Educational Research, 102(6), 415-426. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.
Johnson, A.P. (2008). A short guide to action research. Boston: Pearson.
Mills, G.E. (2011). Action research- a guide for the teacher researcher. Boston:Pearson.